SMART Recovery is a program that helps families to better understand addiction. It is designed to educate and unify families that have a family member struggling with substance use, treatment, and recovery. Through education, self-empowerment, and mutual support, this program encourages open communication between family members who are affected by their loved one’s drug or alcohol use.
SMART Recovery focuses on behavioral tools to achieve recovery goals in four categories:
- Enhancing and maintaining motivation to change
- Coping with urges
- Managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
- Living a balanced life
How Addiction Affects Everyone
Addiction is a complicated issue that often involves multiple layers of trauma, mental health challenges, medical problems, or situational stressors. SMART Recovery was developed to help members of the family impacted by an individual’s addiction.
It’s important to remember that an individual’s addiction is not self-controlled a behavior, it’s a disease. Addiction affects all major aspects of an individual, including:
- The brain: when certain chemicals in our brains are out of balance, we may feel compelled to use drugs or alcohol to feel better.
- The body: some addictive substances affect our bodies in ways that make us want more and more of them.
- The mind: addictions can cause changes in our thoughts and emotions which lead us to seek out drugs or alcohol as ways of coping with stressors in our lives like grief, loss, or even boredom
The 4 Elements
SMART Recovery is a self-empowering approach to recovery that’s founded upon a four-point program. The acronym SMART stands for self-management and recovery training, which encompasses the following four elements:
#1. Self-empowerment – This means learning how to manage your thoughts and actions in order to live free from addiction. It also helps you develop skills for better decision-making and problem-solving.
#2. Rational thinking – This involves learning how to think more rationally so that you can solve problems without relying on drugs or alcohol.
#3. Attitude adjustment – This aspect addresses the importance of having healthy coping mechanisms when dealing with situations that may trigger relapse or cravings. It also teaches you how to maintain positive attitudes despite life challenges or setbacks, and there will be many.
#4. Problem-solving – The fourth element focuses on identifying problems in your life as well as finding solutions for those issues through positive thinking and taking actionable steps toward progress.
Overcoming Denial, Blame, and Shame
Denial, blame, and shame are common reactions to addiction. Family members may feel guilty, scared, or angry. They may also blame themselves for their family member’s substance use. When an individual is struggling with addiction, their family members can be affected in many ways. They may feel as if they deserve to be punished for what has happened or that it is their fault that the situation exists at all.
Some people who have a loved one who is struggling with substance abuse believe that they are not allowed to be upset about the issue at hand, so they try to ignore it instead of confronting it head-on. This type of behavior often leads them down a dangerous path where they become even more susceptible to being hurt by the actions or behaviors of the family member struggling. Feeling your feelings, honoring them, and then letting them go will help keep strong emotions at bay. Focus on loving those struggling, rather than being angry with them.
In most families, the focus is on the struggling family member and helping them recover. This can be a problem because it puts all of your energy into trying to help your loved one, leaving little left over for yourself. You need to learn how to take care of yourself and focus on your own needs.
You also need to learn how to support each other and express feelings in a way that doesn’t cause conflict. There are techniques you can use that will help everyone in the family feel heard without causing arguments or fights when they do get upset with each other.
Above all, this is about empowering families to recognize that individuals with addiction are responsible for their own decisions, not the other way around. By accepting that addiction is a disease, they can begin to accept it as something that has nothing to do with moral failings or character flaws. They will also understand that recovery takes time and effort, and sometimes more than one attempt at treatment before an individual finds what works best for them.
SMART recovery for families helps participants learn new skills to cope with challenging situations related to addiction. This includes learning how to manage emotions, stress, relationships, money, and overall communication. The goal is that they will be able to use these skills in their lives outside of the group setting.
If you’re struggling with addiction and your family is impacted by it, SMART Recovery for the Whole Family can help!
This program is designed specifically for families with loved ones who are struggling with addiction. It provides a safe space where you can learn new skills and tools to cope with any challenging situations related to addiction. The goal of this class is to empower family members so that they feel confident in their ability to help their loved ones recover from the disease.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, we want to take the time to talk with you and help you get the help you need. We offer many different types of treatments here at Acera Health. Please reach out today to see if we can be the help you need. Call us today at (949) 647-4090.