SMART Recovery® is an acronym that stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training. The program is based on the Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), developed by Psychologist Albert Ellis in the 1950's. The system is a "mental health and educational program" as it states on the web site, "We're not trying to cure an imaginary disease. We're concerned with changing human behavior."
Much of the information imparted by SMART Recovery® is drawn from the field of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and particularly from Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. According to the web site, CBT views addictive behavior more as a complex maladaptive behavior than as a disease and the purpose of the organization is to help individuals gain independence from addictive behavior.
SMART Recovery's Four-Point ProgramSMART Recovery® emphasizes a Four Point Program:
- Enhancing motivation.
- Refusing to act on urges to use.
- Managing life's problems in a sensible and effective way without substances.
- Developing a positive, balanced, and healthy lifestyle.
Volunteers Are the BackboneThe backbone of the the program are its volunteers:
- Volunteer facilitators who are the volunteer non-professionals who run SMART Recovery® groups.
- Volunteer advisors, who are the volunteer behavioral health professionals who advise and support the facilitators.
- A volunteer Board of Directors and its committees, which formulate the SMART Recovery® program and policies.
SMART Recovery® MeetingsThe SMART Recovery® web site has a list of International meeting and contact persons for its Self Management and Recovery Training meetings. There is also a recommending reading list available online.
There are now over a dozen meetings at SMART Recovery® online per week in both text and voice formats. The message board, serves as a hub of SMART Recovery® online. Links to the schedule and the message board can be found on the chat page. The meetings provide extensive peer support and training in the concepts of SMART Recovery®
Alternative and Supplement to 12 Step GroupsSMART Recovery® serves as both an alternative to the 12 step programs and as a supplement to the 12 steps fellowships. Many members of SMART Recovery® also attend 12-step support groups.
Spirituality is not a part of the SMART Recovery® program. However, alternative seekers are not allowed to bash the 12-step program during SMART Recovery® meetings and likewise 12 step members are not allowed to evangelize their higher power message.
SMART Recovery® neither encourages nor discourages spirituality or religion. The program provides the secular tools without religion or spirituality.