1,500th SMART Recovery Meeting Opens as Fast Growth Rate Continues
Program Empowers More People to Overcome Addictions Using Science and Peer Support
The 1,500th, a Friday evening weekly meeting, opened at the Portland Recovery Community Center (PRCC), 468 Forest Ave., Portland, Maine. Niki Curtis, the SMART trained facilitator for the meeting said: “I have been working at the Center for two years. I love that we offer all types of meetings and that, like SMART, we respect all types of recovery.
“When I first arrived, we didn’t have many non-12 step meetings, so our Program Manager, Steve Cotreau, asked if I would be interested in SMART Recovery training. I am so glad that I said yes because since that training two years ago, I have utilized the program’s tools in my own life and shared them with others in meetings. For instance, I found that doing SMART’s Cost/Benefit Analysis helps me with decision-making. The ABC tool helps me deal with my anger around loud neighbors, and I am using SMART’s Urge Log tool to quit smoking. (See SMART Tools.)
“It has been awesome to watch participants in our SMART meeting grow stable in their recovery, and many now want to partake in the facilitator training for the program.
“We went from one small meeting to being able to offer three meetings, which gives people a steady form of support throughout their week. I feel good about myself and the SMART support I have learned how to provide to others. I am truly grateful for the opportunities I have at PRCC to be a true peer support staff member, growing in my recovery and watching others grow in theirs.”
SMART Meetings Proliferate in Numerous Settings
SMART meetings are now hosted in state and federal prisons, Veterans Administration facilities, recovery centers, hospitals, churches, community centers, and universities. SMART Recovery’s online community is also growing at a fast pace with 35 online meetings each week serving people from around the world. This community also features message boards and 24/7 chat rooms. More than 1,800 people register for SMART online services each month.
“We’re finding more and more interest around the globe as well,” said Shari Allwood, Executive Director. “SMART is very active in the UK, Canada and Australia, with the Republic of Ireland, Denmark and Sweden each coming on strong with the program. Word is traveling, especially as more people benefit from SMART and tell others, and as treatment professionals and government agencies continue to recommend SMART Recovery to their clients.”
All SMART Recovery facilitators are trained, including instruction on how to use tools and exercises from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interviewing. Training is available for peers and professionals. More people are seeing the value of donating their time to facilitate meetings in their communities. Anyone interested in doing so can join in facilitating by attending the online training. Information and many additional resources can be found at www.smartrecovery.org.
SMART Recovery Tools
To help people overcome addictions, the SMART Recovery program features numerous tools drawn from mainstream disciplines such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) and Motivational Enhancement Therapy. Among the most commonly used are the:
Cost Benefit Analysis – This exercise motivates people to stop an addictive behavior by weighing the short-term benefits of, for example, abusing pain pills (feeling good, relaxed and happy for a short time) against the long-term harmful costs (ruined relationships, lost jobs, wasted money, ill health).
ABC – Conceived by cognitive therapy pioneer Albert Ellis, this tool helps people identify the true and underlying beliefs (the “B”), typically exaggerated or irrational, that lead to harmful consequences (the “C”) such as excessive drinking. The exercise begins by identifying the activating event (the “A”) such as an experience that provokes anxiety, and then the consequence. On the surface, it appears that the A caused the C, while the underlying cause was the belief that only drinking or other addictive behavior could relieve the anxiety. The exercise progresses with disputing (the “D”) the irrational belief (people addicted to alcohol cannot truly gain relief by drinking), and on to the effective belief (the “E”) that anxiety can be relieved in many ways that do not involve drinking. www.smartrecovery.org/
Urge Log – In the early stages of recovering from an addiction, people benefit by identifying all the events, sights, smells and settings that trigger urges and cravings to use. Keeping a daily log of these triggers helps people avoid using and learn that urges are temporary and grow less intense the longer they abstain.
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SMART Recovery® (Self-Management and Recovery Training) is a global, nonprofit organization that helps people overcome addictions through free mutual support group meetings in person and online. Each week, many thousands of people discuss recovery progress and challenges at 1,500 meetings in 13 countries, 30-plus online gatherings and 24/7 internet message board forums and chat. Participants use SMART to assume responsibility for their own recovery and become empowered using its 4-Point Program®: building and maintaining motivation; coping with urges; managing thoughts, feelings and behaviors; and living a balanced life. Founded in 1994, the program uses science-based techniques that are most effective in helping individuals abstain from addictions to substances and harmful behaviors.
Page Updated Last on: Jun 25, 2015