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About SMART Recovery

Learn About Smart


Like the 12 stages of recovery implemented in Alcoholics Anonymous, SMART is another way of achieving that. SMART tackles other problems issues associated with addictions like mental illnesses and feelings of unhappiness.

SMART stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training, an international organization that offers help for people battling addiction and associated disorders. The aim of this program is to help treat addiction by getting people to focus on the thoughts and emotions behind the addiction.

People are taught skills and to manage their cravings and urges for the long-term to those who decide to participate in SMART.


New methods on emerging scientific evidence to help with addiction recovery are continuously updated by SMART.


New techniques of getting rid of addiction are always added to this program to make it better.

Reputable organizations like the American Academy of Family Physicians and the National Institute on Drug Abuse recognize SMART as an effective strategy for those who are surmounting drug addiction.


How Smart Works

SMART considers itself as a program which is self-empowering, which is in sharp contrast to the 12-step program that urges participants to admit their powerlessness over their addiction. Well-trained voluntary servants help participants examine particular behaviours to find weak spots which need special attention. Then, participants undergo self trust training, which enables them to control their dependence behaviour. Psychology and self motivation is mostly used in the treatment when using SMART program. Members learn these skills with the help of a 4-point program.



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The 4 Stage Scheme

The recovery handbook provided by SMART details every step of the 4 point program. To help the recovering user remain clean, the handbook also contains tips and exercises that can be used.

The 4 point program is unlike step programs, which have been designed by other organizations. The patients can start on any of the points following no order, but depending on the greatest area they most need to address.

If you or a loved one has participated in a 12-step program and found it unhelpful you will find SMART to be a better alternative for you. If you need to find a SMART group nearby, we can be of help call 0800 246 1509.


  • Instilling Motivation and Maintaining It
  • Achieving recovery that lasts will depend on whether or not the recovering addict is willing to remain sober.
  • Participants are encouraged to make a list of priorities and weigh the costs and benefits of using the drugs versus being sober.
  • Overcoming The Desires
  • The triggers behind the urge to use is what the second point focuses on.
  • The participants learn to use methods like various distraction techniques to suppress cravings.
  • They are also helpful in identifying and overcoming irrational beliefs about their urges to use the drug.
  • Handling Thoughts, Behaviours And Feelings
  • Point 3 educates participants about the need to prevent relapse by an examination of the thoughts, feelings and behaviours that can lead to drug use.
  • The patients learn how to love and appreciate themselves and how to tackle stressful situations and feelings of helplessness.
  • Living A Sober And Balanced Life
  • It needs a sudden change in lifestyle for a person to stay clean.
  • It is, therefore, essential that one learns how to live a fulfilling life that is also drug-free.
  • Understanding what matters to you is also very key and this is stated on the fourth point.
  • Participants are also given the education they need to plan about the future by setting realistic goals for themselves.

4 Point Vs 12 Step Programme

There are certain common areas in SMART and 12-step programs. Both programs have been designed for recovering alcohol and drug users by working through a series of assignments to overcome their addiction. In both cases, the identity of the participants is kept secret. Also, with the help of both programs, lots of people have won a victory over their addiction.

Dissimilar Approaches Between SMART and the 12-Step Programs.

In SMART addiction isn't called a disease and the recovering users aren't identified as addicts. This is because there is a lot of negativity associated with these title. A recovery is not an ongoing process, and this is also a belief which is held by SMART and is another difference. One can easily stop the addiction when they are ready.

The 12-step program is not considered voluntarily by many people because they do not prefer to believe that they are powerless against their addiction or giving themselves away to a higher power. SMART encourages the members to take control of their lives.

There is always help for participants in both the programs. People choose the program they feel will suit them best. As it has been wisely pointed out within the SMART Recovery Handbook "a solution which works on an individual in a particular situation may not be suitable to the other in a similar situation."


Graduating From The Recovery Process

Participants of SMART can graduate from recovery and this is a unique feature of this program. The chances of a person going back to the drugs is minimal when the are on the SMART program.

According to SMART, the participants don't feel the urge to use at the end of the program and they have total control over their lives.

Participants of SMART when they have reached the final stage will be considered as having the skills needed to maintain a sober life.


Would You Consider Smart

SMART helps people with all kinds of substance abuse issues. Besides, it can be beneficial for individuals with other addictive behaviours, like eating disorders and compulsive gambling. Benefits can also be derived by people who are suffering from mental disorders, which are co-occurring such as depression.