SMART Recovery is a non-profit that offers free support groups for people living with substance use disorders. They are often seen as an alternative to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) for people who are turned off by AA’s focus on a higher power. SMART refers to itself as having a “scientific foundation, not a spiritual one.”
SMART stands for “Self-Management and Recovery Training.” The program focuses on self-reliance and empowerment. It helps people cope with cravings, manage triggers, and enhance their motivation to stay in recovery.
While Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous focus on drug or alcohol addictions, SMART Recovery includes both behavioral and substance addictions. Another difference between SMART and 12-step fellowships is that—while 12-step fellowships encourage lifelong participation—SMART “encourages attendance for months to years, but probably not a lifetime.”
However, while SMART Recovery is often categorized as an alternative to AA, they do not discourage participation in a 12-step fellowship, or any other means of recovery. They say, “Although the SMART approach differs from those of other organizations, it does not exclude them. Participants make their own choices and create their own paths.”
The purpose of any support group is to help people make a big life change in connection with others who are doing the same. Everyone’s recovery is unique, so what people need and want will look different for each person. The important thing is that people have the support they need.
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is hope. Amatus Recovery Centers offers high-quality treatment for addiction and mental health disorders in facilities across the country. Our staff—many of whom are in recovery themselves—will set you up with supports for lasting recovery. Call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.