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SMART Recovery
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SMART Recovery

Drug treatment requires continuous effort and commitment from the early days of detox, through to rehabilitation and aftercare support. While detox and rehab are both essential to the treatment process, aftercare also plays a vital role. SMART Recovery is an international non-profit organization that provides aftercare support to recovering drug and alcohol addicts. Often seen as an alternative to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other conventional 12-step programs, SMART Recovery is a secular program that offers aftercare support based on non-confrontational and scientific methods. SMART Recovery has grown in recent years, as programs are now available in Alabama and much of the United States.

Principles of SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training. This approach to drug treatment is based on behavioral and cognitive principles borrowed from Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET), Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), and motivational interviewing. SMART Recovery uses a 4-point program and a 7-stage process to help people deal with the realities of the recovery process. This system provides a secular and scientific alternative to traditional 12-step support programs, most of which have a spiritual and religious bias.

The 4-point program

The SMART Recovery toolbox utilizes behavioral and cognitive tools to address four key points. Whether you are attending sessions in Alabama or somewhere else in the world, these four points are the same. The first point deals with building motivation, followed by coping with urges, problem solving, and lifestyle balance. Each of these points is addressed through a comprehensive 7-stage process that presents evidence-based treatments in a non-confrontational manner.

Stages of change

Similar to many rehabilitation and aftercare programs, SMART Recovery is a sequential process that treats people according to their own level of change. Different exercises are used according to the individual progress of each client, with regular assessment periods that evaluate each case on its own merits. SMART programs in Alabama and the rest of the country, initiate each of these stages in a progressive fashion to enable healthy, lifelong changes. By approaching drug treatment as a sequential process and educating clients along the way, it is possible to make real changes to the lives of recovering addicts and their families.

The first stage is called precontemplation, followed by contemplation, determination, action, maintenance, and graduation. During precontemplation, the client may be completely unaware that a problem exists. During contemplation, the client is ready to evaluate their addiction and analyze how it is affecting their life. During determination, also known as preparation, the client has made a conscious decision to make personal changes. During the action stage of the sequence, the client actively seeks out methods of treatment, which they continue to do during the maintenance stage for a period of weeks to months. Once these changes have been made sustainable after a long period of time, they are ready to graduate from the program.

Benefits of SMART Recovery

Aftercare is an essential element of any comprehensive drug treatment process. While detox helps people to stop using drugs and behavioral therapy gets to the root cause of addiction, both of these measures will be useless if someone relapses immediately following treatment. SMART Recovery and other aftercare programs provide ongoing support where it is needed most, giving people the psychological tools they need in order to make necessary lifestyle changes and the practical support they need to stay engaged in the recovery process. If you or someone you know needs access to SMART Recovery in Alabama, it is important to make contact with a registered facility as soon as possible.