― Rosemary Hardin, SMART Recovery Handbook
What is SMART Recovery
Smart Recovery is a free, non-spiritual, cognitive-behavioral approach to recovery. It utilizes clinical psychology techniques and tools. Although it focuses on addiction recovery, many of these tools can be used by non-addicts as well. Exercises such as “Challenging My Unhelpful Idea,” “Helping or Hurting,” “Values and Goals Clarification,” and “Identifying Underlying Irrational Rules,” are exercises that many people can benefit from. It can help you build a road map of how your thoughts impact your emotions and behaviors. A link the to the SMART Recovery Toolbox is included at the bottom of the article.
How to use SMART Recovery
SMART Recovery meetings are not as widely available as 12-step meetings. You can find a 12-step meeting any day of the week at various times throughout the day in most major cities. SMART Recovery meetings are scarcer and may not be available to you. My suggestion is to use the SMART Recovery toolbox (link at the bottom), start working your own program by filling out the worksheets in the “Additional Homework” section, and attend 12-step meetings to build a sober community. When you work your own program, you don’t have anyone to hold you accountable, so meeting attendance is also important. You need to be around other people in recovery so they can help you identify the irrational thoughts that maintain your addiction.
You don’t have to work the twelve steps, but you should be working some type of program. Meeting with a therapist for individual counseling another way to work a program. If someone at a AA meeting calls you a “dry drunk” because you are not working the 12-steps, just let it slide. If you are doing some form of intensive inward reflection and self-improvement work, then you are working a program and you are not a “dry drunk.”
SMART Recovery Toolbox Link:
SMART Recovery Meeting Directory: