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SMART Recovery


For many of those seeking an alternative treatment option in the long and often trying process of overcoming addiction and physical dependence to drugs and alcohol, it can often seem as though the choices rehabilitation and recovery options are limited to faith-based treatment centers and 12-step programs. And while there is no denying that these programs have helped thousands embark on (and maintain) clean, sober, addiction-free lifestyles, there are those who don’t feel the central ideologies and themes of these types of treatment options and organizations fit within their own core belief systems and philosophies.

More to the point, many people entering treatment are uncomfortable with the ideas of surrendering their success to a higher power or deity and to an even greater extent, with accepting that they are in effect powerless in the ultimate outcome of their own recovery.

For those Montana addiction treatment patients who would rather take a secular, scientific and individualistic approach to their recovery, as opposed to the more religious and powerless, surrender-based ideologies on which organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narc Anon are rooted, the SMART Recovery system may be a better fit. (It’s also important to note that SMART Recovery is available both online and through in person meetings. So even if you aren’t presently in Montana, you can find help from this recovery system anywhere in the U.S.)

Free and available in any of several different formats, SMART Recovery is a public resource readily accessible to anyone struggling with a substance abuse disorder or addiction and seeking a treatment alternative to religious or 12-step programs. Short for Self-Management and Recovery Training, the SMART Recovery option is geared towards a scientifically-based, self-driven approach to getting, and staying, clean and sober.

Instead of focusing on a perceived powerlessness and placing the brunt of your recovery squarely in the hands of a higher power, SMART Recovery in Montana emphasizes that it is you, yourself, who are the driving force behind recovery. The principals and methodology of the SMART system are based in psychology, scientific research and intensive therapy.

In fact, it’s this psychological and scientific-backed approach that draws so many patients to the SMART method of recovery in the first place. It’s also why so many research publications and the scientific community are beginning to take serious notice of the recovery system, as well.

Addressing the original triggers and the reasons that cause a patient to turn to drugs or alcohol in the first place, SMART Recovery incorporates elements of proven psychological treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational enhancement therapy, talk therapy and several other proven effective scientific and psychological methodologies in its approach to self-driven, actionable treatment.

The Science of SMART Recovery

A scientific, individualistic, and self-driven non-profit alternative to traditional, faith-based twelve step treatment programs, SMART Recovery is a psychology-based program that helps people gain independence from drug and alcohol addiction (as well as other addiction disorders and behaviors).

At its core, SMART is support-group based, and offers online meeting and support groups, as well as blogs, articles, reading materials, handbooks, publications, discussion boards, and in-person meetings—both in Montana and across the country.

Among the most distinctive differences between SMART Recovery and the more well-known 12-step recovery organizations like Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous is that SMART places the focus on being self-driven and individualistic. That is, according to the tenants of the SMART Recovery program, you are responsible for your own recovery, and must be the driving force and motivation behind getting and staying clean, whereas religious and 12 step programs will place the focus on giving up that power and placing it in the hands of a higher power, instead. It’s important to note that this doesn’t intrinsically make one system better or worse than the other.

Instead, it’s simply important to note that some types of programs and situations work better and function best with certain people and situations, and others jive better with other personalities and types. Before settling on a rehabilitation and treatment option, it’s essential to do your research and decide which type of program will work best for you and your needs. Contact an addiction specialist today to learn more.