Smart Recovery

SMART Recovery (Self Management and Recovery Training) is an international non-profit organization which provides assistance to individuals seeking abstinence from addictive behaviors. The approach used is secular and science-based using non-confrontational motivational, behavioral and cognitive methods. Meeting participants learn recovery methods derived from evidence-based addiction treatments. If you are interested in drug rehab centers in California?

SMART Recovery is an international non-profit organization which provides assistance to individuals seeking abstinence from addictive behaviors. It was founded by Joe Gerstein in 1994.

How It Works

SMART Recovery is based on scientific knowledge, and is intended to evolve as scientific knowledge evolves. The program uses principles of motivational interviewing found in Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET),[ and techniques taken from Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), particularly in the version called Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), as well as scientifically validated research on treatment. The organization’s program emphasizes four areas (called the Four Points) in the process of recovery: Building Motivation, Coping with Urges, Problem Solving, and Lifestyle Balance. The “SMART Toolbox” is a collection of various MET, CBT and REBT methods (or “tools”) which address the Four Points. The program does not use the twelve steps which make up the basis of the various “Anonymous” self-help groups (e.g. AA, NA, etc.) and is generally listed as an “Alternative to AA” or an “Alternative to the Twelve Steps.” Though listed as an “alternative”, it is also suggested as a possible “supplement” to twelve-step programs in SMART Recovery’s main program publication, The SMART Recovery Handbook.

Seven Stages of Change

In the SMART Recovery program, there are seven stages of change:

  1. Precontemplation
  2. At this stage, the participant may not realize that they have a problem.

  3. Contemplation
  4. The participant evaluates the advantages and disadvantages of the addiction by performing a cost/benefit analysis.

  5. Determination/Preparation
  6. The participant completes a Change Plan Worksheet.

  7. Action
  8. The participant seeks out new ways of handling their addiction behavior. This can include self-help, the support of addiction help group or professional guidance

  9. Maintenance
  10. After a few months, the participant’s behavior has been changed and now seeks to maintain their gains.

  11. Relapse
  12. Although not inevitable, relapses are a normal part of the change cycle and if handled well, can serve a learning experience in overcoming an addiction.

  13. Termination
  14. Once a participant has sustained a long period of change, they may choose to move on with their lives and “graduate” from SMART Recovery.

Smart Recovery Resources

Find a SMART Recovery meeting near you

List of all the meetings around the world

SMART Recovery Newsletter

meeting outline

online meeting schedule