How Does SMART Recovery Work?

in Addiction
Published Nov 10, 2021
smart recovery

Alcoholics Anonymous might be one of the most well-known organizations that works to help those struggling with addiction, but it is not the only option for someone seeking sobriety. SMART Recovery is a great alternative. It is an international non-profit organization that was founded in 1994 by Joe Gerstein.

SMART Recovery is science-based and utilizes a simple four-point program. The program helps individuals recover from a wide variety of addictions or unhealthy habits, in addition to drugs and alcohol. Its primary focus is to empower those seeking recovery and give them freedom from addiction.

What Does SMART Recovery Offer?

SMART Recovery has specific programs that meet a person’s unique needs and situation. In addition to programs for individuals, they also offer programs for the family and friends of those struggling with addiction, treatment professionals, those dealing with courts and corrections, veterans, first responders, and young adults.

The addictions that SMART Recovery can help with include those related to alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs, heroin, sex, smoking, and gambling. This program can also assist those who suffer from eating disorders.

SMART Recovery offers both in-person meetings, online meetings, an online message board, and an online chat that is available 24/7.

What Can I Expect From a SMART Recovery Meeting?

SMART Recovery Meetings are completely free, although donations are always welcome. They are accessible to the public and completely confidential. An individual who would like to attend a meeting can visit the SMART Recovery website and type in their zip code to find a meeting local to them. There are over 3,000 meetings held across the county each week, so most people will have no trouble finding a local one. Someone interested in attending can just show up, and it is not necessary to check in with the facilitator of the meeting beforehand.

The first part of the meeting is the welcome and introduction. This would be when facilitators would welcome newcomers to the meeting, introduce themselves, and explain what they can expect from the meeting. Newcomers are free to jump into the conversation or simply listen for the first meeting.

The next part of the meeting is known as the check-in period. The facilitator will typically go around the room and give each person the opportunity to speak about what may be happening in their lives or their recovery journey. The amount of time that everyone will have a chance to speak will depend upon how many people are at that meeting.

After everyone has a chance to speak, the facilitator may recognize that some people have some pressing issues going on and need more time to speak. The facilitator can then indicate a time later in the meeting where those individuals will get a second chance to talk.

The next part of the meeting is known as working time. There will typically be a topic to focus on, or a part of the Member’s Manual will be read aloud. This is generally finished by checkout and closing. Some of these parts of the meeting may need to be removed or adjusted depending upon time. Each meeting is 90 minutes long.

What Does It Teach?

SMART Recovery focuses on a four-point program. The four points include:

  • Learning how to get the motivation to change and how to maintain that motivation
  • Learning how to cope with urges to use
  • Learning how to manage emotions and behaviors without turning to addictive behaviors
  • Learning how to live a more balanced life


SMART Recovery can also help individuals change the way they view addiction by teaching them that they are now powerless but can make positive change. These positive changes include changing negative thought processes and negative feelings about one’s own identity and relationship with substance use.

This program also helps people identify the reason that they feel compelled to engage in addictive behaviors, to begin with. For some people, it may be an underlying mental health problem such as anxiety or depression. For others, the reason could be feelings of guilt, anger, or low self-esteem. In some cases, relationship problems, family problems, or other unfortunate life circumstances can lead to these harmful behaviors.

Once these issues can be identified, the individual can learn how to address them, move past them, and adjust their behavior accordingly. SMART Recovery helps people learn to accept themselves while simultaneously helping them achieve and maintain the motivation they need to live a happier and healthier life.

SMART Recovery is a great program that can be beneficial to any individual who is struggling with addictive behaviors or damaging habits. This could include addictions to alcohol, heroin, prescription medication, marijuana, or sex. SMART Recovery can also help individuals who are struggling with an eating disorder. SMART Recovery focuses on a four-point program that helps people learn how to achieve and maintain motivation, cope with urges, manage emotions, and live a more balanced life. This program offers both online and in-person meetings as well as an online message board and online chat. If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance use disorder, our team at Gallus Medical Detox Centers is here to help. We can guide you through the big first step of seeking recovery and give you all the tools you need to have the best shot at long-term recovery. Call Gallus Medical Detox Centers at (866) 296-5242 today to learn more.