Stepless SMART Recovery
Anyone battling with addiction knows about the twelve-step programs, the AA meetings, and others alike. But, what if those methods do not work for you? What if you have tried the twelve-step programs and found yourself right back where you started?
An organization called SMART Recovery decided to take a new, Stepless approach to addiction. SMART stands for self-management and recovery training, and that is exactly what they teach. Without using labels, they aim to help those that struggle with addiction by focusing on techniques, life-changing ideas, and scientifically proven methods in order to empower each individual to better themselves.
Addiction serves a purpose in life, and that is to escape. Whether it be from the past or the present, addiction initially takes form as a coping mechanism, later leading to self-destructive behavior and long-term harmful issues. SMART Recovery helps with this by focusing on short-term and long-term healthy coping skills to replace the addiction. By learning from our pasts and focusing instead on the root of the behavior, they can then help you concentrate on how to replace them with a healthier option and therefore, a healthier lifestyle.
Four key points approach:
Building motivation in order to change and then maintaining that motivation
Learning to cope appropriately with the urges to return to the addictive behavior
Learning to manage behaviors, feelings, and thoughts without using the addictive behavior
Learning to lead a healthy, balanced, and positive life
By using these points, SMART Recovery is able to approach behavioral change in a positive and rewarding way. They also take a scientific and secular approach to recovery by doing it this way, whereas most other recovery programs focus on the concept of a higher power and encourage participants to admit defeat to their disease. By treating addiction as a poor habit rather than a disease, they are able to take on a completely different approach to treating addiction using methods such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
A big part of their Stepless recovery program involves addressing motivation.
Without motivation, human beings would not be able to accomplish their primary goals. Survival, happiness, and avoiding pain are just three of our shared goals as people. Addiction might temporarily be the motivation to chase these goals, but the SMART Recovery program will help show that addictive behavior will not help you meet these goals long-term.
They also address beliefs, emotions, behaviors, and thinking patterns. For example, if you believe that you cannot stop doing something or that you will fail every time you try to accomplish a task, you most likely will not succeed and will instead be contributing to your problem instead of helping it. This also applies to telling yourself you’re no good, you’re a failure, you just do not have the power to control your life. These are not justified beliefs, and SMART Recovery will help you change how you view yourself and your problems.
Emotional problems are a huge part of those with addictive behavior. They turn to addictive behaviors in order to deal with anger, low self-esteem, guilt, anxiety, panic attacks, and other unpleasant emotional distress. SMART Recovery will show you how to increase acceptance for yourself and help minimize emotional distress. When you have learned to deal with your emotional distress in a healthy way, you can increase your motivation to change yourself for the better and to live a much happier life.
SMART Recovery provides free mutual support meetings.
For those struggling to attend. Each meeting is structured and straightforward, with leaders trained in the SMART Recovery program to help facilitate a healthy, supportive, and happy environment for those looking to change their unhealthy behaviors. And not all participants in these meetings have addiction issues, some are just there looking to better themselves and their lifestyle through the SMART principles. SMART Recovery is much more than helping with addiction; they are an educational and mental health program that is more focused on helping each individual change their behavior rather than digging up their past to analyze their problems. You can’t change the past, but you can do something about your future and your present lifestyle. Each meeting is serious yet fun, focusing on helping you learn to apply the SMART Recovery tools for change to your life! After each meeting, a hat is passed for you to donate to the SMART Recovery mission, but a donation is not required in any way in order to participate in the meetings.
Another thing about the SMART Recovery program is that you can volunteer after completion! They encourage those who have successfully gone through the program and are familiar with it afterward to volunteer and help others achieve their mental breakthroughs. This can be a very rewarding, motivating, and helpful experience for some individuals!
Changing your behavior.
Changing your behavior is perhaps the most important part of recovering from addiction. By combining what you have learned in the previous steps with follow-through, dedication, and commitment to yourself, you will have a much better chance at changing your behavior. SMART Recovery encourages its participants to choose activities and hobbies that are much healthier and more fulfilling for their lives than their previous addiction. By replacing the addiction with a healthier activity, one can then choose to participate in that activity instead of their addiction.