Smart Recovery

A global community of 3000 mutual-support groups where participants meet weekly to help each other overcome the life challenges caused by any addiction (to drugs, alcohol, and behaviors such as gambling). Using SMART (Self-Management and Recovery Training), they find the power within themselves to change and lead fulfilling and balanced lives guided by a science-based and sensible 4-Point Program.

Founded in 1994, SMART Recovery is the world’s largest community of mutual support group meetings that uses science and self-empowerment to help people overcome addiction problems with drugs, alcohol, and harmful behavior such as gambling, over-eating, and excessive shopping and internet use. [1]

Tens of thousands of people gather weekly at 3000 SMART meetings in 23 countries, including Australia, Canada, UK, and the USA. People anywhere in the world can also attend meetings online and have free access to online support forums and recovery apps. The SMART Recovery Handbook has been published in 13 languages: Arabic, Danish, English, Farsi, French, German, Mandarin Chinese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Vietnamese. There is also a culturally appropriate version for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia.

Smart Recovery
SMART Recovery also has a dedicated Family and Friends program for people affected by the addictive behaviors of significant others.

The 4-Point Program

  • Build and maintain motivation
  • Cope with urges and cravings
  • Manage thoughts, feelings, and behavior
  • Lead a balanced life

SMART Meetings

  • 3000 recovery meetings located in 23 countries
  • Free to attend and suitable for any form of addiction or problematic behavior
  • Face-to-face or online formats
  • Weekly / 90min duration
  • Run by a trained facilitator

About SMART Recovery International

As addiction has grown into a global epidemic, SMART Recovery has expanded into 23 countries offering meetings and a program to help individuals seeking to recover and families with loved ones needing support. SMART Recovery International was formed in 2018 to:

  • Create and implement a strategy to grow SMART worldwide.
  • Ensure the integrity of the SMART Program as it expands into numerous countries.
  • Provide worldwide oversight and support to SMART operations in all member countries.
  • Oversee the development and integrity of training for meeting facilitators worldwide.
  • Establish a global I.T. infrastructure and digital social media presence.
  • Coordinate research into SMART by providing a forum for addiction scientists and treatment professionals to collaborate, learn how it works and improve this recovery support model based on new research and innovations in treatment.
  • Align the branding, marketing, and fundraising to support SMART Recovery globally.

Values 

  • Empowerment: Everyone has the power of choice and can choose to change unhelpful or harmful behaviors.
  • Acceptance: People are not their behaviors, so stigmatizing languages like ‘addict’ and ‘alcoholic’ are not used.
  • Accessibility: People seeking recovery are empowered to choose what works best for them from a ‘toolbox of methods demonstrated in meetings and available online and in manuals.
  • Openness: People can engage with other services or groups; there is no one path to recovery.
  • Liberation: People are free to move on and pursue other goals in life once a balanced lifestyle is achieved.

How SMART Is Helping Address The Global Addiction Epidemic

Each Year In The USA Alone, The Global Addiction Epidemic:

Takes the lives of more than 160,000 people, including more than 72,000 fatal drug overdoses in 2017 and the 88,000 annual deaths attributed to excessive alcohol use, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Costs the economy as much as $1 trillion or more based on various estimates that account for crime (police, court, and incarceration expenditures), lost work productivity, and healthcare. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)[2] estimates addiction to tobacco products, drugs, and alcohol costs the economy more than $740 billion. The White House Council of Economic Advisors estimates the opioid crisis alone costs more than $500 billion (The Underestimated Cost of the Opioid Crisis, 2017).

These figures cannot measure the beneficial impact on the families of loved ones suffering from addiction and the quality of life in communities everywhere, especially those hit hardest by the opioid epidemic.

SMART Recovery has helped address all these needs over the past quarter-century. For example, it holds free weekly support group meetings for people suffering from harmful addictions, including those undergoing medication-assisted therapy; their family members and friends; and inmates in correctional facilities through its inside-out program, which developed with $1 million in grants from NIDA.

SMART also has meetings for military veterans, and people needing support in recovery community organizations, treatment centers, and hospitals, along with meetings for family members and friends with loved ones who have addictions.

Ending The Stigma Of Addiction 

SMART discourages the use of labels such as “addict” and “alcoholic,” because such labels can undermine motivation for many people. SMART views addiction as a behavioral problem that can be corrected, not a condition that defines a person’s identity.

Use

  • A person who uses drugs
  • A person with non-problematic drug use
  • Substance use disorder; problematic drug use
  • Has a X use disorder
  • Abstinent; a person who has stopped using drugs
  • Actively uses drugs; positive for substance use.
  • Respond, Program, address, manage.
  • Safe consumption facility
  • Person in recovery, person in long-term recovery
  • Person who injects drugs
  • Opioid substitution therapy

Don’t Use

  • Drug user
  • Recreational, casual, or experimental users
  • Drug habit
  • Addicted to X
  • Clean
  • Dirty (as in ‘dirty screen’)
  • Fight, counter, combat drugs and other combatant languages
  • Fix rooms
  • Former addicts, reformed addict
  • Injecting drug user
  • Opioid replacement therapy

Government And Medical Endorsements

SMART is a widely recognized pathway for recovery support and behavioral change. It is recommended by leading government and medical institutions worldwide, including:

  • Australia: The Government National Health and Medical Research Council and Government Departments of Health and Ageing.
  • United Kingdom: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and Public Health England.
  • United States: National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and Federal Bureau of Prisons, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Online Meetings

Smart Recovery
SMART Recovery online meetings.

SMART Recovery online meetings are accessible to all people regardless of where you live. The meetings follow the same format as face-to-face meetings. They use evidence-based tools to empower people seeking assistance for an addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling, cigarettes, food, etc. The meetings are free and run weekly for 90mins. A trained facilitator guides each meeting. Participants aren’t required to appear on camera, and the meetings are conducted using a combination of voice and the text chat box feature. 

How To Find A Meeting

To make SMART Recovery available to people of every culture and place in life who want freedom from addiction using their power and support from a caring global community. Ensure that the SMART Program always combines the best science and experience of recovery through training, instruction, and technology, wherever the program holds meetings, be they online, in cities, villages, or rural communities.

The urge to drink can still persist even after multiple meetings. In cases like this, it’s highly recommended to seek additional substance abuse treatment. Rehab facilities like We Level Up offer tools and techniques that will help you change your behavior patterns and challenge the negative thoughts that led to your addiction towards smart recovery. This makes it easy to get additional treatment in a single location. Our dedicated team will be there every step as you overcome substance abuse, from individual counseling to detoxing. Contact us to learn more about how you can enroll in the We Level Up today.

Sources


[1] Smart Recovery – https://www.smartrecoveryinternational.org/our-impact

[2] NIDA – https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/tobacco-nicotine-e-cigarettes/nicotine-addictive