What Is Smart Recovery®?

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  • Written By: Andrea Cross
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 24 October 2019
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Smart Recovery®, also known as Self Management and Recovery Training, is a science-based, non-profit program that assists people in their recoveries from addictions. The organization has worldwide influence and often acts as an alternative to other recovery programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. It helps patients with a variety of addictions including drugs, alcohol, and gambling. Smart Recovery® has a structured program for recovering addicts, support for their friends and families, and a network or resources.

The Smart Recovery® program is based on self-empowerment and self-reliance. It aims to educate and support the recovering person through the use of its 4 Point ProgramSM, which includes building motivation; coping with urges; managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors; and maintaining a balanced lifestyle. This program is designed to equip people with the tools both to stop their addictive behavior and to maintain their abstinence over the long term. It is run entirely by volunteers, and although patients are not charged for their participation, donations are encouraged. Unlike a number of similar programs, Smart Recovery® is nonreligious and also advocates the use of prescribed medications and psychological treatment when necessary.


This organization also provides significant support for the families and friends of recovering addicts in the form of Community Reinforcement Approach and Family Training (CRAFT). Smart Recovery® recommends this training as a way to teach families how to protect themselves and how to deal with their loved ones' addictions in a helpful, nonconfrontational manner. Meetings, called Concerned Significant Others (CSO), are conducted, where families can discuss their experiences and inquiries with other families and with trained volunteers.

Smart Recovery® has a wide variety of resources with which to help recovering addicts. The majority of these resources are available on the Internet. Meetings are conducted online, where users can talk to advisers and engage in the program's different tools and techniques, including role-play, brainstorming, and planning worksheets. These meetings are also arranged in local areas by volunteers and conducted face-to-face. Text and voice chat with advisers is also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

There are also numerous handouts, lists, and an online library that has an extensive range of related articles, recommended books, and links to other resources. Podcasts, where the people participating in the program can listen to a variety of speakers, are regularly aired. There are also a number of forums where users and their families can speak to each other and to advisers about a range of subjects. Smart Recovery® also has a presence on many social networking sites, making it highly visible and easily accessible.


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