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SMART Recovery: What Is It And How It Can Help?

    SMART Recovery: What Is It And How It Can Help?

    SMART recovery is a new method that assists people who are struggling with addiction.

    Many rehabilitation centres have started to use the Smart method to help those who suffer from addiction, as it has proven to be extremely effective.

    Why SMART Exists

    Addiction is a terrible disease that many people in the UK suffer from.

    More than ever, people are using substances and struggling with the resultant addictive tendencies.

    In fact, the number of people seeking drug and alcohol services and treatment have risen from 270,705 in 2019 to 275,896 in 2020.

    These numbers are very worrying, and now more than ever there needs to be a wide range of treatment options for people to have.

    Addictions are not a one-treatment-fits-all kind of disease, and instead people should have catered, nurturing support that allows them to overcome their substance abuse disorder in the best way possible.

    SMART is one of the new ways to help people recover that has emerged – and it is also effective.

    SMART Meaning and What it Stands For


    SMART stands for self-management and recovery training and it is part of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) that someone with a substance abuse disorder may undergo.

    Of course, whether you have this therapy will depend on what treatment options are available to you, as it can vary from clinic to clinic.

    The SMART recovery method involves meeting other people struggling with addiction.

    Usually, there will be group sessions and support groups.


    In addition to this, you will follow a program that aims to assist you in making better choices and lifestyle decisions in order to live a long, happy life.

    As said by the SMART recovery organisation, it is based around four simple principles:

    “Build and maintain motivation, cope with urges and cravings, manage your thoughts, feelings and behaviours, and lead a balanced life.

    By sticking with these principles you will be able to achieve the support, encouragement and skills to overcome your addiction.

    How Do The Principles Help?


    Each of the principles of the SMART program is built to help people struggling with addiction to create habits and a better lifestyle when they finish rehab.

    However, each individual principle can facilitate this in different ways.

    Build And Maintain Motivation


    This first principle is just what it says.

    The SMART method will give you the tools you need to have motivation and maintain it.

    Through this, you will be able to turn away from occasions where you may be tempted to return to old habits.

    Through the above principle as well, you will also develop better impulse control as part of your rehabilitation and have trusted people that you can depend upon to talk to about any temptations.

    These people will guide you to making the right choices and will help encourage you on your path toward sobriety.

    Coping With Urges

    Man therapy

    Although the above principle involves helping you have the motivation to turn away from temptations, this particular principle instead focuses on your urges.

    Triggers, cravings and urges are completely natural during rehabilitation, which is why it’s so important to recognize them and develop boundaries.

    Only you can know what your boundaries are and figure out what you may not be able to handle.

    For example, if you have been addicted to gambling, you may find that you will struggle to go to casinos, betting shops or races.

    On events like Stag or Hen parties, you may wish to check what the events are going to be.

    You may also choose to cut people out that are encouraging you to engage in habits that could be harmful to your recovery.

    Managing Thoughts, Feelings And Behaviours


    Mindfulness is an important part of any recovery journey.

    This is equally true with the SMART method.

    Although it is cliched, it is important to try and think positively.

    How you view your journey to recovery will have an impact on how successful you are with it.


    Negative thoughts and a negative mindset about your situation will only help you believe things are outside of your control.

    An example of this is if you were struggling with an alcohol addiction.

    If you were at a party and everyone was drinking and you kept thinking to yourself This is unbearable, I need to drink, I cannot stop myself, then you will most likely succumb to the urge.

    If you instead have the mindset of There is alcohol at this party, but I have control over myself and I will get through this, or there is alcohol here and I might be tempted, so I will leave, then you are more likely to avoid a relapse.

    Live A Balanced Life


    The final principle is living the best possible life that you can.

    Although this is easier said than done, with the assistance of a rehabilitation centre and a support network, you can get on track to get to this stage.

    The above involves:

    • Eating healthy
    • Staying away from addictive substances
    • Getting 30 minutes of exercise a day
    • Getting 7 – 8 hours of sleep every night
    • Having a positive outlook on your life

    With the above steps being incorporated, it will be easier to live with your substance abuse disorder after rehab, and you will find yourself wanting to use the substances less.

    What Are The Spiritual Beliefs?


    Where AA and NA look to a higher power, the SMART method does not have any spiritual beliefs.

    Instead, the SMART method was originally founded on scientific viewpoints about how eating healthier, having a good support network, exercising regularly and sleeping well can lead to a better quality of life.

    Combined with rehabilitation treatment, the SMART method has a unique but effective model.

    What Can SMART Treat?

    Do I have an alcohol problem?

    The SMART method is unlike the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous as it is based on just the four principles above.

    This makes it much more flexible, and as such people who are suffering from any kind of addiction can try it.

    This means that it is not just limited to drugs or alcohol, supporting a wide range of behavioural and process addictions too.

    These can include:

    SMART And Relapse

    The key thing to remember with SMART as well is that it does not see relapses as failures.

    Instead, it takes a nurturing approach.

    In particular, the book Beyond Addiction advises that people often turn to the SMART method as it is a welcoming, nurturing approach that allows people to become optimistic again.

    It explains that they have seen results first hand from using this method and that change is possible from it.

    Furthermore, the above book advises that they know people will get better rather than simply hoping they will – as they’ve seen the results.

    How Much Does It Cost?


    Once you have completed your rehabilitation treatment, you may end up going to SMART meetings and groups.

    There are many groups across the UK that you may wish to attend and this support network will help ensure that you continue to apply the SMART principles to your everyday life.

    The meetings are free to attend and dependent on where you are on your journey to recovery, they will give you other tools and resources at the end of your meeting.

    Some examples of the above are books, exercises, coping mechanisms and even stories of people who have been in a similar situation to you.

    Can I Attend A SMART Meeting Without Rehab?


    Although it’s a great first step that you’ve found out about the SMART method and want to begin your journey to recovery, it’s important that you go through the rehabilitation process first.

    The meetings are designed for people already in recovery or who have left rehab.

    As such, if you are currently struggling with an addiction, having a detox and talking to a professional should be the first step.

    Do I Have To Attend Meetings If I’ve Left Rehab?


    It is not a requirement to attend, but having a support network of people who understand the guidelines and want to help keep you on track is helpful to your recovery journey.

    Accountability and accessibility are two important parts of the SMART method.

    At the end of the day, whatever the experts at rehab suggest will be catered for you.

    You may find that you may benefit from other groups once your recovery period finishes.


    However, the SMART meetings should not be overlooked.

    The people there are open, honest, welcoming and friendly to all that join.

    In addition to the above, there is no pressure to talk about yourself, your journey or your recovery should you wish to attend a SMART meeting.

    You can just sit and listen and benefit from the resources, the discussions and the other things that the SMART sessions have to offer.

    Get Help Today


    If you’re ready to overcome addiction and the SMART Recovery method seems right for you, then the most important thing to do is to get the ball rolling.

    The first step towards sobriety may be the hardest, but it is also the most important.

    For a no-commitment, confidential and entirely free discussion about all of your treatment options, please reach out to our team today.

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