Self-Management and Recovery Training, or SMART Recovery, is a non-profit support program for people with substance use disorders. It also focuses on any co-occurring disorders like anxiety or depression. It is an alternative to 12-step programs like A.A. because there is no emphasis on religion or spirituality. Rather, the focus is on learning to manage cravings and deal with negative thoughts and feelings.

Some people refuse to attend 12-step programs. This might be because they aren’t religious, they don’t want to label themselves as “addicts” or “alcoholics,” they aren’t interested in sharing with a group, or they don’t want to commit to frequent meetings. Groups like SMART are self-empowering, meaning they encourage individuals to take charge of their lives and leave addiction behind. Eventually, recovery will be left behind as well, meaning it’s not a lifelong commitment. In contrast to the 12-step approach, self-empowering groups help people address the things that need to be changed and work toward changing them. Also, the first step in A.A. is accepting that you have no power over your addiction. Groups like SMART, on the other hand, believe that rather than accepting powerlessness and turning their lives over to a higher power, they need to take control of their own lives.

SMART Recovery emphasizes enhancing motivation, refusing to act on urges to use, managing life’s problems in a sensible and effective way without substances, and developing a positive, balanced, and healthy lifestyle.

By examining both your motivations for substance abuse and for quitting, you will have a better chance of a successful recovery. For example, imagine if you drank in order to forget problems with your spouse, then your drinking became so dangerous that you were no longer allowed to see your child. If you consider the underlying problems that led to disagreements at home and make a plan for how to avoid them in future, you might eventually rebuild the relationship at least to the point where you’ll be able to visit your child again.

Your beliefs play an important role in your recovery. If you believe that you’re a failure, that you deserve the bad things that have happened to you, or that you’re powerless to change, you’re going to sabotage your treatment. Instead, look at the evidence. Many other people have been in your shoes and come out sober on the other side.

Learning to deal with emotions is another key factor. If you drink or use drugs in order to deal with anger, sadness, anxiety, or other negative feelings, you have to find other ways to cope. One possibility is seeking treatment for what might be an underlying mental disorder. Otherwise, you can talk to therapists or other people in recovery to learn other methods of dealing with your emotions.

If you or a loved one need help to quit drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504.