Online Features for SMART Members to Know
by Dr. Reid Hester
The CheckUp & Choices online program is designed to empower your SMART Recovery.
Based on SMART principles (Self-Management and Recovery Training), the non-judgmental program features simple yet effective online digital tools every SMART participant can use—anytime, anywhere.
CheckUp & Choices’ digital tools are scientifically proven to complement SMART Recovery meeting attendance. In a study funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, participants using the online program alongside SMART meetings saw significant results in 1) reducing alcohol-related problems, 2) increasing rates of abstinence, and 3) decreasing the number of drinks on the days when they did drink.
What makes CheckUp & Choices such an effective online companion for SMART? Here are three CheckUp & Choices features for SMART participants to help motivate change, support recovery, and reduce relapse risk:
1.Personalized Drinking Feedback/BAC Table
New to recovery? Ambivalent about changing your drinking? Take The CheckUp as a first step to change.
This brief, motivational intervention examines drinking history, patterns of use, frequency, and alcohol’s impact on your life. The CheckUp can help SMART participants in the early phases of recovery clarify their relationship with alcohol including risk factors, resolve uncertainty around drinking, and make an informed decision about changing drinking. Your peak BAC (blood alcohol content) is the biggest risk factor for alcohol-related problems on any one occasion.
The feedback section on your BACs tells you how intoxicated you were getting, which also suggests your level of tolerance. Part of that feedback includes this interactive BAC tool that shows how high your BAC gets depending on how much you drink, and over what time span.
A personalized summary provides objective feedback on how much you’re drinking compared to others your age and gender, which can help SMART participants new to recovery resolve their doubts about changing drinking.
2. Track Progress With The Urge Tracker
Record drink urges and monitor how well your efforts to deal with them are working over time with the CheckUp & Choices urge tracker.
When you enter the urges you’ve experienced, you get graphic feedback that shows how they are (hopefully) declining in frequency, duration, and intensity over time. If your efforts to cope with your triggers are working, you’ll see a decline in the urges.
3. Know Your Triggers/Reduce Relapse Risk
Need support figuring out what factors tempt you to drink if you’re trying to abstain? Once you’ve made the decision to abstain, learning how to identify, manage and respond to triggers will help you prevent a relapse.
It’s easier to respond from a place of personal power once you identify the people, places or situations that are most likely to trigger drinking. Are there some people you’re more likely to drink with than others? Are there certain milestones that make you more vulnerable to drinking?
The Identifying and Managing Triggers feature helps you create a list of your specific triggers or “high risk” situations—where a lapse is more likely to happen. Then the online program takes you through steps to develop plans to deal with your triggers. And dealing with triggers effectively reduces your risk for lapses or relapse.
About the author:
Dr. Reid K. Hester is the Director of the Research Division of CheckUp & Choices.
For over forty years, Dr. Hester, a clinical psychologist, has been at the forefront of alcohol abuse research and treatment. His clinical research, funded by NIAAA/NIH since 1992, has focused on developing digital interventions to help people with alcohol and drug problems.