I first learned of SMART Recovery when I heard it was an alternative to AA or NA. I had taken a 12-step program in the past with some success, but didn’t want to stray from what I already knew. What I’ve learned is that SMART Recovery is not only an alternative to the 12-step program, but it can be added to other programs as well.
went to SMART Meeting Finder I found several meetings on the website www.smartrecovery.org, both online and in person, and decided to go to an in-person meeting at a local community center.
When I entered the conference room, I was nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. What I found was a welcoming group who were eager to help me on my recovery journey. The meeting started with the facilitator reading the meeting guidelines. The group then began with a ‘check-in’ where each member had the opportunity to talk about how they came to the meeting and what had happened recently. The first thing that caught my attention was how everyone introduced themselves. No one said he was an alcoholic or an addict. After saying my name at a rally and finding out I was an alcoholic, I felt weird. When it was my turn, I said my name and told her that this was my first ever SMART Recovery meeting with her. I was welcomed and several people asked me questions. I wasn’t used to it. Crosstalk is common in SMART meetings. Another thing that was new to me was the variety of people and their addictive behavior. Some in this group had alcohol problems, some had drug problems, and some had non-substance problems such as gambling.
After everyone had a chance to speak, the facilitator SMART recovery handbook. I heard that this tool is based on the first of his four points in the program.
- Building and maintaining motivation
- deal with urges
- Managing Thoughts, Emotions and Behavior
- lead a balanced life
The presented tool was to conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis of addiction. Although he had taken a CBA before, he had never taken a CBA for that purpose. It was enlightening. After completing my CBA, it became clear that I was giving up long-term benefits for short-term relief. I thought it might be so, but it was the moment of “Oh, I see” that made it black and white.
After the group members completed the CBA, the facilitator asked everyone what they thought of the exercise. The group discussed their findings. What I have discovered is that I am not alone. My expenses were similar to others in the group. From legal issues and associated costs to the loss of trust from those closest to us, we shared a common bond that made me feel at ease with the group.
After the group conversation, the facilitator asked the group to “check out.” Checkout allowed each member to say what was most meaningful to them at the meeting. This again showed me that I am one of those people who have a lot in common with me. I wasn’t the only one to have an “ohhhh” moment.
Since that first encounter, I have become a fan of the presented tools. SMART Recovery has helped me see my addictive behaviors in a different light. From using the DEADS tool to deal with my urges and using the DISARM method to give my urges a persona, to learning how to set healthy boundaries with concepts like enlightened self-interest learned how to move beyond addictive behavior and live life successfully.
I found the program very effective for me, so I decided to take it. SMART Recovery Facilitator Training Program Start a meeting in my community. Being a volunteer facilitator is very rewarding. And now I am the facilitator of welcoming people to their first SMART Recovery meeting.