SMART Recovery?


Has any one heard of SMART Recovery? My husband found them when he was doing research after his session with his counselor today. I think he is looking for any way to avoid what his counselor is advising him to do which is check into a treatment center.

I have read a little on their website, but right now I honestly don’t know what to think. Like I said I think he is avoiding and diverting. Can anyone tell me anything about this organization? Good? Bad? Lame? Powerful/Life changing?

Any input is greatly appreciated. I’ve done so much reading and research, but I’d really like someones opinion and or experiences to help me understand or decide if I think this is a good thing.

One thing here, they do not have an entity in my community so my husbands only access is on line, therefore another avoidance.


Not sure how much help I can be but I have come across SMART recovery in my criminal justice studies. SMART is a program is the same vein as AA except that they only have four “steps”, put the alcoholism on the person, that a person chooses to be an alcoholic, and expect the person to be “cured” in a year and a half. They don’t believe in a higher power, so no use or mention of God. They do use therapists in their program, so my notes say. It basically says that since a person chooses to be an alcoholic then they can choose to quit being an alcoholic. And that they can do so in just a year and a half.

I question anything that takes God out of the equation.

From my paper on AA and SMART," The origins of the SMART program is a self-help program that assumes people do not need to believe that they are “powerless over alcohol” or submit to a higher power to recover from alcoholism. The dominant philosophy is that individual have the power to overcome drinking themselves. The strategy used is rational emotive behavior therapy which focuses on rooting out irrational thoughts, emotions, and beliefs. SMART insists on professional involvement. The goal is that within a year and a half members will be sober and be able to maintain the sobriety without going to meetings ."


Is your husband afraid of going to meetings, do you think?

Have you checked into Al-Anon?

I found my recovery through AA - however, I say if there is another way for someone to deal with their alcoholism that works for them, go for it…


I have known several people who have gone to SMART, one of which became a group leader. Some were devout Catholics, some became devout Catholics after they quit drinking and some, it made no difference.

There have been some major changes in the management of the SMART and I believe there may be an actual program in CA, but other than CA, there are meetings weekly with a moderator.

I think SMART Recovery is for people who want an alternative to AA. AA has it’s own set of issues, which at times, negates personal responsibility. In SMART, God is not an issue or is a personal one, not program inspired.

It does not address God because, God is not going to come down from Heaven and take the drink from your hand. And, unless you are tied to a chair with your mouth pried open and someone in pouring a drink down your throat, you and you alone, are choosing to drink. You, alone, will also stop.

There are a series of steps in which you address the monkey on your back (drink), and take your power back. It encourages you to think of scenerios where you may drink, and you compelete the scenierio without drinking. This forces you to give yourself alternatives before you face the “real thing”.

I don’t believe they talk about “cures”. Rather, you work towards making a permanent decision to never drink again. You are no longer an alcoholic because you are a non-drinker. Perhaps a it of a mind game, but once you make that decision, drinking situations are already decided: you don’t drink. You don’t have to keep rehearsing the what ifs, you don’t drink.

Once you make the decision not to drink, whether it takes 3 meetings or 300 meetings, you don’t have to return. Your are always welcomed back, but it is not critical.

Also, once you make that decision, your energies can then be directed toward healing what has been damaged by drinkng: marriage, family, job, legal, etc.

I know it has helped a raging alcoholic of 20 years quit and who has now been sober for over 12 years. Another, 9 years. Both are, or became, devout, practicing Catholics. Others too have several years of sobriety, but don’t practice any religion to speak of now.

On-line would be more difficult because there is no face to face. Personal accountability is key to the program. A person can easily lie to himself when alone. BUT, it also depends on how serious your husband is.

I have truly seen God’s hand in changing lives forever through SMART. God may be leading your husband to SMART because that is the program that will work for him.

May God’s peace be with you.


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