S.M.A.R.T. Skills | Learning Cognitive Behavioral Relapse Prevention

S.M.A.R.T. Skills:
Learning Cognitive Behavioral Relapse Prevention

Self-Management And Recovery Training
Mutual Help for Skills-Based Addictive Behavior Change

This mutual self-help movement has emerged as a leading alternative support group for face-to-face and online help and is an excellent forum by which all forms of addictive behavior can be addressed through the mutual support and encouragement of others who are motivated to gain freedom from addiction and independence from addictive behaviors.

smart logo: self management Recovery Training

The SMART Recovery network is recognized by:

The Center for Health Care Evaluation
The National Institute of Mental Health NIMH 
How We Get Addictied: National Institute Drug Abuse
The American Academy of Family Physicians
The US Department of Health and Human Services
The American Society of Addiction Medicine ASAM

Other noteworthy and useful mutual support groups include:

graffiti: moderation is for quitters

Moving From 12 Steps to Self-Management
Sobriety Managment and Recovery Training
~ Tom Horvath and Alan Marlatt, Ph.D.

“When SMART Recovery coined its name in 1994, it also explicitly stated that it would keep modifying its self-help program in the light of empirical findings. The original program was based on Cognitive Behavior Therapy and relapse prevention as applied in a self-help format. Since 1994 the program has incorporated more motivational components, based on the success of motivational interviewing. Mindfulness components are currently under review.

Despite its foundation in empirical findings, if there is a patron saint of SMART Recovery, it is Albert Ellis. (One might wonder how Al would take up the role of a patron saint…). Even though REBT itself is not widely used in addictive behavior treatment, Ellis is widely viewed as the foundation on which the cognitive-behavioral treatment of addictive behavior is based. For the average non-psychologist, CBT is about thinking rationally in order to “feel” better and behave more adaptively.

For most people, distinctions between the schools of Ellis, Beck, Michenbaum, Seligman or others are not worth bothering with. Albert Ellis is Dr. Rationality. The accessibility of Ellis’ many books, not to mention their often colorful language, has made him the natural choice to read for many program participants. Furthermore his concepts (and counseling exercises) are also presented as components of the group’s Handbook.

So at a typical meeting, in addition to members doing their CBAs (Cost Benefit Analysis), they are also doing their ABC’s (Activating event, Belief, emotional or behavioral Consequence). They are watching out for musturbation, awfulizing, and catastrophizing. When a new idea emerges, they wonder what Dr. Ellis would think of it.” (Hovath & Marlatt)

Online Meetings at Smart Recovery.org,

7 Days a Week!

There are about 300 face-to-face meetings, mostly in the US, but also emerging in other countries. Like the British Empire of old, the sun never sets on SMART Recovery. There are a rapidly growing number of meetings in prisons and other correctional settings. In the U.S. this increase has been based on court rulings in effect in nearly 20 states, to the effect that the government cannot order someone to attend a 12-step meeting because of its religious content.

Dr. Ellis supported this program in a number of ways. He reviewed books for its newsletter and his Institute in NYC was the site of SMART Recovery trainings. He was a member of the International Advisory Council.

Severe addictive behavior is an excellent example of irrationality. It is fitting that Al’s work would have found a lasting place in SMART Recovery. There participants not only learn to overcome addictive behavior, but also how to lead more functional and happier lives. It’s what Al wanted for all of us.

Although Albert Ellis (the founder of REBT) was only slightly involved with substance abuse treatment or research, a significant part of his legacy may turn out to be his impact on U.S. and international addiction treatment, and in particular, on addiction-based self-help groups.

In the mid-1980s a California social worker named Jack Trimpey was upset about the typical insistence that the 12-step approach was the only way to recover from addiction. Trimpey wrote “The Small Book,” intending its title to highlight its contents as an alternative to the AA Big Book. He also started Rational Recovery, a network of free self-help groups which were just like AA in some respects, being free, open to all, and supporting abstinence. However, that the program was quite different. Both his book and his groups were based on a combination of REBT and Trimpey’s ideas about coping with craving.

In 1991 Trimpey gathered a volunteer board of advisors who met in Dallas. This group evolved, with Trimpey’s blessing, into a non-profit organization, incorporated in 1993. The non-profit was to run the Rational Recovery groups, while Trimpey provided his for-profit services near Sacramento. By 1994 differences of opinion about the proper direction for Rational Recovery resulted in the non-profit changing its name to SMART Recovery. By Jan 1, 2000, Rational Recovery had stopped operating any free support groups as a matter of policy. (Hovath & Marlatt).

Beyond Addiction Counseling:

Alternatives and Additions to Traditional Rehabilitation Centers
Drug Alcohol Abuse: Chemical Dependency Evaluation and Treatment