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SMART Recovery for Alcohol Misuse

Resources to Help You Make Changes

Heavy drinking is the most common form of substance misuse. According to the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, between 8 and 9 percent of adults in the United States misuse alcohol. If you are looking for ways to help you quit or change your drinking, read on.

What is alcohol misuse?

It’s helpful to think of heavy drinking as on a continuum rather than a yes/no question. Alcohol related problems can range from mild to life threatening. And heavy drinking over the long term can have serious health consequences. Drinking can also cause problems with family, school, work, etc..

What are my options for changing my drinking?

SMART Recovery has taken the position that stopping is the safest and most effective way to get rid of alcohol related problems and risks to one’s health.

And while many people can and do cut back on their drinking, a long-term outcome study of participants in moderate drinking clinical trials has found that the majority of those who are successful in cutting back eventually stop altogether. For them, moderate drinking was a steppingstone to abstinence.

What happens when I try to stop drinking?

Withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe and even life threatening.

Stopping drinking can be uncomfortable, at first, particularly if you have drunk heavily for some time. If you’re concerned about this, we urge you to talk to your doctor about whether you need to withdraw from alcohol under medical supervision. As you detox from alcohol, you will start to feel better and your body can begin to repair damage that drinking may have caused.

How can SMART Recovery help me?

SMART Recovery provides you with tools and support that can help you recover from alcohol misuse, or other drugs or negative behaviors. SMART Recovery’s 4-Point Program® is designed to help you overcome your problems with drinking and help you to quit drinking:

  1. Build & Maintain Motivation – Participants examine and develop personal reasons to quit.
  2. Cope with Urges – SMART has tools designed to help our members cope with urges to drink that can help you maintain abstinence.
  3. Manage Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviors – Participants learn problem-solving tools to help manage challenges along the way, instead of turning to alcohol and or drugs.
  4. Live a Balanced Life– SMART give members skills to help balance both short and long-term goals, pleasures and needs that were once out of balance due to alcohol or drug misuse.

How can Checkup & Choices help me?

Checkupandchoices is an online app we developed in collaboration with SMART Recovery. People who participate in SMART Recovery meetings and use the Checkupandchoices app had the best outcomes at follow-ups out to 6 months. We have since incorporated that program into a more comprehensive offering that includes our Drinker’s CheckUp.

If you’re not sure about changing your drinking, the CheckUp can help. It offers a detailed look at your drinking, alcohol related problems, family history, risk factors, and a screening for depression and anxiety. It then provides objective feedback based on your age and gender and uses published norms developed for each part of the assessment. The last section helps you consider your options and develop a plan of change.

Our Choices modules address drinking, marijuana, stimulants, and opioids through exercises based on cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational enhancement therapy. It includes drink, urge, and mood trackers so you can see real progress in your journey to make positive changes in your life.

Overall, the app will not judge you or tell you what to do. That is always your choice.

Where do I go from here?