Exploring the goals, beliefs, and philosophy of SMART Recovery, which offers support and independence to those of us in recovery.
SMART Recovery, or Self-Management and Recovery Training, is a network of addiction recovery support meetings that help people find independence from their addictive behaviors. Their focus is on abstinence, self-empowerment, and personal freedom from any addictive patterns involving drugs, alcohol, other addictive substances, and/or any addictive, compulsive behavior one might be experiencing. SMART Recovery’s philosophy is based on a foundation of four points, built around scientific methods of positive lifestyle development:
- Fostering the motivation within ourselves to change our addictive behaviors and finding ways to maintain that motivation.
- Handling addictive urges to use.
- Coping with our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in healthy, effective ways.
- Creating healthy, positive, harmonious lives for ourselves in which we feel balanced and happy.
A major focus of SMART’s philosophy revolves around helping people learn how to pursue their goals of self-preservation, self-protection, self-actualization, and our innate instincts for survival, without relying on the harmful behaviors we’ve used to help us cope. Many of us create unconscious coping strategies and defense mechanisms to meet our needs and pursue our goals. SMART Recovery focuses on finding long-term solutions to our problems as well as healthy coping skills to help us accomplish our goals in the long run, rather than the quick fixes of our addictive behaviors that might work temporarily but that ultimately cause us more struggle and difficulty.
SMART Recovery also focuses on helping people shed their old, destructive belief systems and replace them with more empowering ones. When struggling with addictive behaviors, we tend to think of ourselves as weak and powerless. We believe our sobriety to be vulnerable and easily threatened. We believe we don’t have the willpower or resilience to cope with our addictive urges, compulsions, and temptations. SMART Recovery works with people to identify and shift their beliefs so that they can create meaningful change in their lives.
As we recover, we learn that our addictive behaviors involve coping mechanisms, distraction tactics, and ways to escape from our emotional challenges. SMART Recovery helps people learn to love and accept themselves and to be less negatively impacted and less triggered and burdened by the natural emotions we all feel. The more at peace we are with our emotions and the more we accept ourselves, the better able we are to make changes in our lives.
In addition to transforming the ways in which we handle our emotions, SMART Recovery also helps people commit to making behavioral changes, along with finding the commitment and motivation within themselves to follow through on their goals. An important part of the work is finding activities we enjoy to replace the addictive behaviors we used to rely on. As we’re working to heal ourselves, it’s helpful to know about the many different recovery program options available to us, including SMART Recovery.
Riverside Recovery is a drug and alcohol treatment center offering a full continuum of care for people suffering from addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. Call us today for more information: (800) 871-5440.