Imagine you’re driving down a road and you suddenly lose control of the wheel. You panic, afraid that you might hit someone, cause an accident or crush. It’s only normal to want to take control of the wheel again. It’s only normal to want to protect yourself and those around you.
Addiction, regardless of its type, can take over someone’s life. Hence, looking for ways to curb the addiction should not be considered shameful at all. It should be considered admirable as you take the first step towards regaining your life back.
The SMART Recovery Program is one way to regain control over your life and curb an existing addiction. Granted, you may have to work through the addiction with several participants. Yet, SMART takes on a different and interesting approach.
Before you go and sign up for one, you probably have questions you’d like answered. Below, we tackle the top most frequently asked questions about the program. This way, if you do decide to join the program, you’ll know what to expect.
What is the SMART Recovery Program?
SMART stands for Self- Management and Recovery Training. It is considered a self- management program because it encourages self-reliance as the participants work towards controlling their addiction. Of course, the participants are taught skills to help them identify underlying issues that can trigger and cause their addictive urges.
With the underlying issues identified, it’s a whole lot easier for the participant to focus on managing them.
How Does the SMART Recovery Program Work?
This particular program has in times been compared to the 12- step program. In a way, the two programs are similar in a lot of ways. For example, the programs make sure that the information and the identity of the participants remain confidential. Also, they bring together a group of alcohol and drug addicts wishing to recover.
However, they are also different in a couple of ways. For one, where the SMART program works towards self-empowering the participants, the 12-step program does not. Regardless of the differences, it is considered a good alternative to the 12-step program.
Also, the program under discussion does not define addiction as a disease. This is because the underlying core of the entire program seeks to empower the participants.
SMART is community-based, in that, it involves a good number of participants. Trained individuals are also part of the overall program. They assist the participants to discover the triggers that lead to addiction and offer skills towards managing them.
How Are The Participants Taught Skills Necessary to Manage their Addiction?
The participants are taught the necessary skills by following the four-point program. Unlike the 12- step program, this four-point program can be done in any order as opposed to step by step instructions. For those interested in learning the program, you’ll be expected to:
Building up and Maintaining Motivation
Motivation or having the proper incentive is what helps keep someone moving forward. It’s the fuel that keeps one going even when the benefits take a while to show. The same applies to recovering from an addiction.
To help participants build and maintain the proper motivation, they are encouraged to make a list. The list details the consequences of substance abuse and the benefits of choosing to remain sober.
Coping with Urges
Urges could pull any recovering addict back into an addiction. Since they can’t be completely avoided, learning how to manage them is what makes the difference. Among the techniques and skills taught to suppress such cravings, distraction techniques are one of them.
Problem Solving and Management
Urges and cravings aren’t the only problems that recovering addicts have to deal with. Thoughts, behaviors and emotions can cause unnecessary turmoil as well, and push someone off the cliff of sobriety. For example, depression and anxiety can encourage a relapse.
Hence, participants are taught to examine these triggers and manage them effectively.
Leading a Balanced Lifestyle
Deciding to lead a life free of addiction is admirable. Carrying it out and being able to maintain it is the difficult part. It’s drastic, and hence requires drastic habits that will help keep your life on track and away from a relapse.
Learning healthy habits requires commitment and sacrifice. This will help distract you from urges and negative emotions as you develop healthier habits.
What Tools and Techniques are Used in the Recovery Program?
Since the program encourages self- empowerment and self- reliance, the participants are given the tools and techniques to do so. They include:
- Worksheet for decision making
- Order of values
- Acceptance of self
- Worksheet to map out a change plan
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Motivational enhancement
- Phases of change, and so forth
Who Is the Program For?
Before joining a self-help program, you should ask yourself if it’s suitable for you. You should consider everything from the type of addiction it helps to curb to how much it costs.
When it comes to the SMART Program, it is effective in curbing any type of addiction. Addictions that range from Alcohol to drug addictions and eating disorders, SMART is developed to help treat them.
Is The Program Effective?
The effectiveness of the program is proven by the number of success stories from therapists and people in recovery. The program is constantly updated to integrate the latest research that can help recovering addicts. It’s no wonder The National Institute on Drug Abuse, among other organizations, recognizes it as an effective program.