For Addiction Professionals

SMART Recovery Overview

addiction professionalsSMART Recovery supports individuals who desire to abstain or are considering abstinence from any substance or activity addiction. Our program incorporates tools based on evidence-based addiction treatments, including Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Motivational Interviewing.

SMART Recovery’s mission is to offer donation-requested, self-empowering, science-based, face-to-face and online support groups for abstaining from any substance or activity addiction. Meetings are expanding worldwide, and daily online meetings are also offered.

The SMART Recovery 4-Point Program®

SMART provides a 4-Point Program which includes the following components:

Point 1: Building and Maintaining Motivation
Point 2: Coping with Urges
Point 3: Managing Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors
Point 4: Living a Balanced Life

The SMART Recovery Tools

A variety of tools and techniques are employed for each of the above-noted points. Our program is abstinence-based and also welcomes those considering abstinence, but who are not yet committed to such a plan. This is where Point #1 (Building and Maintaining Motivation) can be helpful to individuals to determine why they might desire to choose an abstinence recovery path. These newcomers are invited to attend several SMART Recovery meetings, to gain an understanding of the program and tools, and to enhance their motivation to determine if they choose to pursue abstinence.

Program tools include the Cost/Benefit Analysis, the Change Plan Worksheet, Hierarchy of Values,ABCs of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (for both urge coping and emotional upsets); DISARM (Destructive Imagery and Self-talk Awareness and Refusal Method); Brainstorming; and Role-playing/Rehearsing.

“I’m amazed by the speed of progress some of my participants are experiencing by using the SMART tools!” — Carolyn L., Facilitator

Crosstalk and sharing of personal experiences is encouraged during meetings as well as discussion of the tools that participants have found helpful to them on an ongoing basis, and also allow them to help fellow participants seeking assistance.

The last sentence in our mission statement is: “To support the availability of choices in recovery.” We are grateful for the opportunity to acquaint you with our organization, and we invite you to participate in our online services,face-to-face meetings – or to volunteer to start a meeting in your community. We are confident that you will find participation in SMART Recovery to be a most worthwhile and rewarding experience.

General Information for Addiction Professionals

What SMART Recovery offers your clients

  • 24/7 access to online recovery information.
  • An ever-growing network of free local and online meetings.
  • Use SMART Recovery in addition to, or in place of, 12 step groups.
  • A science-based and secular alternative to other methods.
  • SMART Recovery Handbooks available in a variety of languages.

Please see our general information handout for more information.

For Counselors and Recovery Facilities

We provide training through our Facilitator Training, and can quickly bring you up to speed with SMART Recovery, or you may choose to train your staff with our On-Site Training for Professionals.

On-Site Training for Professionals

Onsite Professional TrainingLooking to get the staff at your rehab or counseling center quickly up to speed with SMART Recovery?

SMART Recovery offers professional on-site training for staff and groups of 12 or more.

Call us toll free at 866-951-5357 for more information.

We welcome referrals to SMART meetings and online activities, and encourage competent and ethical professionals who offer scientifically-based treatment for addictive behaviors to consider becoming a Volunteer Advisor to serve as a useful resource for less-experienced local facilitators. Our volunteer facilitators are a blend of peers, addiction professionals, and non-peers/non-professionals.

SMART maintains a list of treatment providers that offer SMART Recovery as a method or an adjunct to their customized program. To participate in our referrals, complete our Treatment Provider Program Registration.

SMART Recovery Activities Scale (SRAS)

The SMART Recovery Activities Scale (SRAS) was developed by Julie Myers, Psy.D. and Donald Meichenbaum, Ph.D. to help participants as well as addiction professionals to:

1. Assess what SMART Recovery activities clients have already engaged in and what SMART Recovery® beliefs they have embraced.

2. Assess the reasons why clients have or have not engaged in these activities (possible barriers, lack of motivation, confidence, or skills) and how these obstacles can be addressed.

3. Engage would-be participants to join SMART Recovery® and treatment, highlighting what new members may get out of some form of treatment.

SRAS for Participants
SRAS for Facilitators and Professionals
SRAS Webinar Listen to the SRAS Webinar with Dr. Donald Meichenbaum and Dr. Julie Myers (1h:1m)

Ready to Get Started?

You can start with our Facilitator Training (CEUs available), our Professional On-Site Training (call our Central Office at 866-951-5357 for information and scheduling), or contact our Central Office for questions you may have!

For Courts and Correctional

For many years, SMART Recovery has worked with correctional institutions in various states to help provide SMART Recovery meetings for inmates as well as support meetings for those returning to the general population.

Our FAST Distance Training Program helps prepare counselors, officers and drug court officials to run their own SMART Recovery meetings as well.

Inside Out Correctional ProgramSMART Recovery materials work equally well with male and female populations, work to lower recidivism rates, and provide secular program availability to offenders to avoid potential liability.

You can find more information on our correctional outreach efforts as well as correctional-specific offerings by visiting our Correctional Facilities page.

Veterans Administration

An increasing number of VA facilities are finding it beneficial to provide SMART Recovery meetings to their clients. We invite VA staff to join in our Distance Training and start a SMART Recovery meeting at your facility.

Publications for Addiction Professionals and Their Clients

Addiction and Co-Occurring Disorders from a SMART Recovery Perspective: A Manual for Group Therapists

by Dawn Adamson, RN, CPMHN(c), CARN, and A.G. Ahmed, MD, FRCP

This manual aims to engage the individual in the recovery process, increase individual insight, motivate and sustain change through education and skill development. The program has been adapted and delivered in a community setting to individuals with co-occurring mental disorders.

This is an easy-to-use therapy manual with helpful exercises and a strong scientific base. The group therapy format is particularly desirable for front-line treatment programs. Each session includes discussion, exercises and/or role-plays, questions for the facilitator to pose to the group for discussion, and self-help homework.

Chapter topics from Addiction and Co-Occurring Disorders from a SMART Recovery Perspective: A Manual for Group Therapists include: Getting Started/Motivated (4 sessions); Changing Your Beliefs (8 sessions); Coping with Cravings (10 sessions); Following Through (9 sessions); and 8 optional sessions address drug facts, definitions, relationship between drug use, mental disorder and offending behavior, and more.

Motivational Guide & Workbook for Healthcare Professionals

by Maria Elsa Rodriguez, DNP, ACNS-BC

Chapter topics from theMotivational Guide & Workbook for Healthcare Professionals include: Motivation; The Prevalence of Addiction in Healthcare Providers (physicians, nurses, psychologists, pharmacists and dentists); Information About SMART Recovery; The Brain, Drugs, & Motivation; An Overview of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy; The Transtheoretical Model of Change; Self-Efficacy; Self-Esteem and Self-Worth; Locus of Control; Resilience; Coping Skills for Emotions & Behaviors; and an Appendix reviewing The Background and History of Narcotic & Alcohol Use in the United States.

A number of interactive activities are included throughout the workbook.

SMART Recovery Facilitators Manual

This how-to manual provides an excellent overview of how to start a SMART Recovery group meeting, and also serves as a superb refresher for individuals who have been leading groups for some time.

The SMART Recovery Facilitators Manual includes: Leading a SMART Recovery Meeting; Start-up and Basic Operations; REBT; Basic Counseling and Communication Skills; SMART Recovery News & Views Newsletter Reprints; Frequently Asked Questions, a number of useful appendices, and more.

SMART Recovery Handbook

The SMART Recovery Handbook is available in English, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Danish, Farsi, and Mandarin, and can be ordered from the SMART Recovery Bookstore.

SMART Recovery Teen Handbook

Developed via a grant obtained by The Community Coalition for Teens in Greenfield, Massachusetts, the SMART Recovery Handbook was adapted to be applicable and helpful to teens.

The SMART Recovery Teen & Youth Handbook is intended for use in adolescent-only settings, when used in a group.


Addiction Recovery in the 21st Century

This video captures a presentation by Joseph Gerstein, M.D. to a large audience of addiction professionals at the Maine Medical Center in 1999.

In his presentation, Dr. Gerstein makes it clear that different people require different treatment. Formerly entitled ‘Alcoholism in the 21st Century’, this video focuses on choice of treatment and choice of self-help groups. The presentation makes it clear why some folks will be more successful in overcoming their substance abuse if they are offered the option of a rational, cognitive approach to understanding their problem.

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