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SMART Recovery in South Florida

Written by Rob Alston

& Medically Reviewed by Dr. Kevin Wandler, MD

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This article was reviewed by a medical professional to guarantee the delivery of accurate and up-to- date information. View our research policy.

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Last Updated - 08/06/2021

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If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, help is available. Speak with a Recovery Advocate by calling 888-648-0738 now.

Updated 08/06/2021

Key Takeaways

  • SMART Recovery meetings are run by volunteers who have often experienced addiction themselves
  • The SMART Recovery program is based on four key points: Goals, Beliefs, Emotions, and Behaviors
  • SMART meetings are located around the country and can be attended free of charge 
  • Unlike AA, SMART Recovery does not include religion in the program
  • SMART Recovery aims to give individuals the skills and strategies required to overcome their addictions

Attending SMART Recovery meetings can help to address behaviors and beliefs related to addiction. Learn about the program and how it can support recovery.

Self-management and recovery training (SMART) Recovery is a type of addiction treatment that focuses on self-empowerment to stop using drugs and alcohol. SMART Recovery is facilitated through meetings, and are often run by volunteers who have had success with recovery through the program. SMART training is nationally and internationally known and can be used to improve various types of addictions.

SMART Recovery focuses on self-management and recovery training so that people feel empowered and equipped to address beliefs and behaviors related to their addiction. SMART Recovery meetings can also provide people with lived experience, community and support as they begin their recovery journey.

What to Expect at SMART Recovery Meetings

Attending group meetings can seem intimidating at first, but knowing what happens at a smart recovery meeting can make the first step easier. SMART Recovery support groups are led by volunteers and follow an organized program format.

In general, SMART Recovery meeting topics focus on understanding behaviors and developing strategies for a positive lifestyle change. While the program supports learning from the past, it focuses on present-day ways to make positive changes. The program includes learning to understand behaviors and developing new coping skills for life without drugs and alcohol.

SMART Recovery meetings are open to the public and are free to attend. There is usually no need to register, and people wishing to attend can simply show up. A donation hat is passed around at the end of the meeting. Donations are encouraged, but not required.

4 Points of Recovery Program

The SMART Recovery program follows a four-point structure to impact addiction and prevent recovery:

  • Goals
    This program helps to identify and understand your goals. While it recognizes that addiction can serve some short-term goals, it discusses how it can keep you from long-term ones and prevent you from living the life you desire.  
  • Beliefs
    Beliefs surrounding addiction and the personal role in addiction and recovery are an important part of this program. The program helps people to identify what they believe about themselves and addiction, reflect on it, and promote changes where it may be beneficial.  
  • Emotions
    Emotions like anger, poor self-esteem and guilt are frequently related to addiction. The SMART Recovery program aims to help people learn about, accept or decrease the frequency of these feelings.  
  • Behaviors
    Behaviors are the key final piece to the program, as motivation must be tied to behavioral change for recovery from addiction. This part of the program encourages attendees to replace addictive behaviors with other enjoyable activities.  

SMART Recovery Compared to Alcoholic Anonymous

Different programs offer slightly different treatment models or structures to help people struggling with addiction. Although SMART Recovery and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) have the same goal of helping people with recovery, there are several differences.

Some of the main differences include that SMART Recovery does not incorporate religion into their treatment, where faith and spirituality are key components of AA. Additionally, AA follows a very specific 12-step program, whereas SMART Recovery is centered around four key points.

While AA and similar 12-step programs are often founded on religion or faith, the SMART Recovery program is based on scientific evidence and cognitive-behavioral theories. These differences can make this program suitable for certain people to support their recovery.

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Participate in SMART Recovery Meetings

If you are interested in learning more or attending a SMART Recovery meeting, you can find a local or online meeting option near you on the SMART Recovery website. SMART Recovery is also sometimes offered by treatment facilities, and patients are encouraged to attend meetings as part of their aftercare.

View Sources

Horvath, A. Thomas; Velten, Emmett. “SMART Recovery: Addiction recovery support from a cognitive-behavioral perspective.” Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 2000. Accessed September 14, 2019.

Horvath, A. Thomas; Yeterian, Julie. “SMART Recovery: Self-Empowering, Science-Based Addiction Recovery Support.” Journal of Groups in Addiction & Recovery, 2012. Accessed September 14, 2019.

O’Sullivan, Deirdre. “SMART Recovery: Continuing Care Considerings for Rehabilitation Counselors.” Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 2015. Accessed September 14, 2019.

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