complete guide smart recovery georgia

The Complete Guide to SMART Recovery

Taking Smart Steps: Your Guide to SMART Recovery

Welcome to Centered Recovery’s complete guide to SMART Recovery – a support network designed to empower those navigating addiction recovery. Join us as we discover the path toward self-empowerment and lasting recovery! Whether you’re seeking solace for yourself or support for a loved one, we are here to help you take smart steps toward recovery!

What is SMART Recovery?

SMART Recovery, also known as Self-Management and Recovery Training, is a global community of support groups and resources! These groups and tools are designed to help people overcome addictions and problematic behaviors. Unlike traditional 12-step programs, SMART Recovery emphasizes a science-based approach. By utilizing cognitive-behavioral techniques and principles of motivational interviewing, we aim to empower individuals in their recovery journey! The program focuses on developing practical skills and strategies. Universally, meetings provide a supportive environment for participants to share experiences, set goals, and learn from evidence-based tools toward effective behavior change!

The History of SMART Recovery

Surprisingly, SMART Recovery is newer than you probably realized! SMART Recovery was founded in 1994 by Joe Gerstein, a clinical psychologist, and Tom Horvath, a substance abuse counselor. As an alternative to traditional 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), they aimed to create a program that integrated evidence-based practices from cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT), and motivational interviewing (MI) to provide a more flexible and customizable approach to addiction recovery!

Although developed to address alcohol addiction, SMART Recovery now encompasses a wide range of addictive behaviors, including drug abuse, gambling addiction, compulsive overeating, and other problematic behaviors. The program’s evidence-based techniques and emphasis on self-empowerment make it relatable for various forms of addiction and behaviors!

SMART Recovery Friends and Family Meeting Georgia

Who is SMART Recovery for?

SMART Recovery is suitable for anyone seeking a structured and science-based approach to overcoming addiction or problematic behaviors. Often, it has benefited those who may not resonate with the spiritual or religious components of traditional 12-step programs. Also, it is famous for those who prefer a more proactive and skill-focused approach to recovery. These meetings welcome individuals from all backgrounds and encourage participation regardless of one’s stage of change or specific addiction issue.

What does SMART Recovery teach?

SMART Recovery teaches a variety of cognitive and behavioral techniques. Overall, SMART Recovery provides a comprehensive toolkit of evidence-based strategies and skills that empower individuals to take control of their recovery journey. Here are some key principles and skills taught in SMART Recovery!

  • Building and Maintaining Motivation: Learn strategies to increase motivation for change, including understanding the benefits of sobriety or behavior change and setting meaningful goals.
  • Coping with Urges and Cravings: Techniques like urge surfing, distraction, and relaxation exercises are taught to help overcome cravings and urges.
  • Problem-Solving: Emphasizes practical problem-solving skills to address the challenges and triggers contributing to addictive behaviors by identifying and developing effective solutions.
  • Managing Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors: Cognitive-behavioral techniques help to recognize and challenge negative thought patterns, manage difficult emotions, and develop healthier coping strategies.
  • Lifestyle Balance: Encourages building a balanced and fulfilling lifestyle that supports recovery goals through setting boundaries, improving self-care practices, and engaging in meaningful activities.
  • Relapse Prevention: Identify early warning signs of relapse and develop strategies to prevent relapse, including creating a relapse prevention plan and seeking support when needed.
  • Effective Communication: Emphasizes effective communication skills to help navigate interpersonal relationships and constructively assert needs and boundaries.

SMART Recovery 4-point program

SMART Recovery: The 4-Point Program

SMART Recovery’s 4-Point Program is the framework for the tools offered at each point within the recovery process. Generally, each point represents a key aspect of the recovery and is supported with tools and techniques designed to facilitate change

These tools are integrated into SMART Recovery meetings, worksheets, online resources, and discussions. This provides participants tangible strategies to address each aspect of the 4-Point Program. By using these tools, people can develop the skills and self-awareness necessary to overcome addiction, manage cravings, cope with challenging emotions, and build a fulfilling life in recovery. Let’s look deeper into each point and its corresponding tools!

Building and Maintaining Motivation

SMART Recovery offers tools such as the Cost-Benefit Analysis, which helps individuals assess the pros and cons of their addictive behavior. The Change Plan Worksheet assists in setting specific, achievable goals and developing strategies to overcome obstacles. Additionally, participants may practice techniques like the ABCs of REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy) to identify and challenge irrational beliefs that hinder motivation for change!

Coping with Urges and Cravings

Techniques like Urge Surfing help individuals ride out cravings by observing them without acting on them. The ABCDE Technique (Activating Event, Belief, Consequence, Disputation, Effect) from REBT helps challenge irrational beliefs and underlying urges. Additionally, mindfulness practices and distraction techniques are also taught to manage cravings effectively.

Managing Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors

Cognitive restructuring tools, such as the ABC Worksheet, assist in identifying and challenging negative thought patterns contributing to addictive behaviors. Emotion regulation strategies, like the DEADS (Delay, Escape, Accept, Dispute, Substitute) technique, help individuals manage difficult emotions without resorting to addictive behaviors. Behavioral activation techniques encourage participants to engage in positive, healthy activities reinforcing sobriety.

Living a Balanced Life

SMART Recovery encourages individuals to create a balanced lifestyle that supports their recovery goals. Tools like the Lifestyle Balance Pie help participants assess various areas of their lives (e.g., work, relationships, hobbies) and identify areas for improvement. Lastly, time management skills and boundary-setting techniques are taught to help individuals prioritize self-care and maintain balance in their daily lives.

SMART Recovery Evidence Based Tools 4-point Program

How is SMART Recovery different from AA?

SMART Recovery differs from traditional support group approaches like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) in several key ways!

Philosophical Approach

SMART Recovery is grounded in a scientific and evidence-based approach! Programming draws from cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT), and motivational interviewing (MI). In contrast, AA and NA rely on spiritual principles and a higher power as central tenets of their programs.

Structure and Flexibility

SMART Recovery offers a structured program focusing on teaching specific skills and techniques for recovery. Meetings typically involve discussions of tools and strategies, as well as goal-setting and problem-solving activities. In contrast, AA and NA meetings often follow a more flexible format centered around sharing personal experiences.

Empowerment and Self-Reliance

SMART Recovery emphasizes self-empowerment and personal responsibility in the recovery process. Participants are encouraged to take an active role in their recovery journey. AA and NA, while promoting support and camaraderie among members, often emphasize surrendering to a higher power and admitting powerlessness over addiction as essential steps to recovery.

Language and Labeling

SMART Recovery avoids labeling individuals as “addicts” or “alcoholics” and instead uses neutral language to describe behaviors and experiences. This approach aims to reduce stigma and empower individuals to view their struggles with addiction as a problem to be addressed rather than a defining aspect of their identity. In contrast, AA and NA often use language that reinforces a lifelong identity as an addict or alcoholic.

Secular Focus

SMART Recovery welcomes individuals from diverse backgrounds and beliefs! This includes those who do not adhere to a spiritual or religious worldview. Meetings are secular and do not require adherence to any particular belief system. This inclusivity makes the connection more accessible to a broader range of individuals who may not feel comfortable in a religiously oriented program like AA or NA.

Overall, while both SMART Recovery and traditional support group approaches like AA and NA aim to provide support and assistance to individuals struggling with addiction, they differ in their philosophical approach, structure, language, and focus. Ultimately, the choice between these programs depends on individual preferences, beliefs, and needs in recovery.

SMART Recovery Meeting Atlanta Georgia

Does SMART Recovery offer Friends & Family Meetings?

SMART Recovery offers Friends & Family (F&F) meetings and resources specifically tailored to provide support and guidance to the loved ones of those struggling with addictions. These F&F options aim to empower family members, friends, and significant others with the tools and knowledge necessary to navigate the challenges of supporting someone in recovery! By providing education, guidance, and a supportive community, SMART Recovery aims to help families and friends play a positive and constructive role in their loved one’s journey to sobriety and well-being.

F&F Meetings

SMART Recovery F&F meetings provide a safe and supportive space for family members and friends! This a space to share their experiences, challenges, and successes in supporting their loved one’s recovery journey. These meetings follow a structured format similar to SMART Recovery’s regular meetings. Generally, topics include discussions of tools and strategies for coping with a loved one’s addiction, setting boundaries, and practicing self-care.

Online Resources

SMART Recovery offers a variety of online resources geared explicitly towards friends and family members. Also, online forums allow individuals to connect with others facing similar challenges and share advice and support.

Family & Friends Handbook

SMART Recovery has developed a comprehensive handbook specifically for family members and friends of individuals struggling with addiction. This handbook is a valuable resource for family members seeking guidance and information on supporting their loved ones best.

Education and Training

SMART Recovery offers workshops and training sessions for family members and friends! Ideally, these are for those interested in learning more about addiction, recovery, and effective strategies for support. These workshops provide practical tools and skills that can enhance the ability of family members to provide meaningful support and encouragement!

Where can I attend a SMART Recovery meeting?

You can attend SMART Recovery meetings in various locations worldwide, as well as online. Here are some standard options for finding meetings!

  • Local Meetings: Use the “Find a Meeting” tool on the SMART Recovery website to locate in-person meetings in your area. Enter your location, and the tool will provide a list of nearby meetings along with details such as meeting times and locations.
  • Online Meetings: If you prefer attending meetings from home or if there are no local meetings available in your area, you can participate in online meetings. These virtual meetings follow a similar format to in-person meetings and offer opportunities for support and interaction with other participants.
  • Mobile App: SMART Recovery offers a mobile app that allows you to access online meetings, resources, and tools directly from your phone. The app provides a convenient way to stay connected to the community and access support wherever you are!
  • Community Centers and Treatment Facilities: Some community centers, mental health clinics, and treatment facilities may host these meetings as part of their program, like Centered Recovery! You can inquire with local organizations or healthcare providers to see if other meetings are available in your area.
  • International Meetings: SMART Recovery has a presence in numerous countries worldwide, so you may be able to find meetings in other countries if you are traveling or living abroad. The “Find a Meeting” tool on the main website can help you locate meetings in specific countries or regions.


Why Centered Recovery Offers SMART Recovery

Centered Recovery Programs offer free community SMART Recovery meetings for those in the local greater Atlanta area! You do not have to be a client with us to attend these meetings. They are designed for everyone in the community who is seeking addiction support. SMART Recovery’s tools and techniques align with our mindfulness, non-12-step program. We believe that the more tools you have in your toolbox, the greater your personal growth can be. Join us in our Roswell facility on the first and third Wednesday of each month, starting at 6:15 pm!

If you are looking for a comprehensive treatment approach to supplement your support meetings, we are here to help

Let’s get you started on your personalized rehab treatment program. Contact Centered Recovery today and embark on your journey towards sobriety. Call us today at 800-556-2966 to speak with an admissions counselor!

Written by Jennifer Lopes, BS Psy