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SMART Recovery

Anybody who drinks alcohol or takes drugs, be they prescription or illegal, is at risk of becoming addicted. Addiction is not confined to people from any particular social or educational strata. It can afflict highly educated, high-achieving professionals as easily as people who are less educated and less financially sound. It is an affliction that is very hard to get rid of, especially without any outside help.

In Wyoming, addicts have a multitude of choices in where they can turn for help. There are recovery programs, clinics, hospitals and rehab centers available. One of the fastest growing programs in Wyoming is the SMART Recovery program.

SMART stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training, and the self-management aspect is at the heart of the program. While the SMART Recovery program recognizes the benefits of getting group support, it emphasizes the importance of self-empowerment. In this way, it is in complete contrast to programs like the 12-steps program, which encourage addicts to surrender themselves to a higher spiritual being.

SMART is concerned with getting addicts to explore more positive ways to think, and to believe that they can succeed in quitting drugs or alcohol through altering their mental attitude and their behavior. Negative impulses and thoughts must be replaced with positive ones, and the program teaches people how to do this.

The program is broken down into four points, each of which we explain briefly below:

Point 1

In order to quit drugs or alcohol, people must feel strong motivations to do so. Motivation is a key factor in bringing about substantial changes in thinking and in actions. Addicts may have a desire to quit, but they will be unlikely to succeed unless they can build up their motivation to do so. When people order the SMART program, they have already indicated that they have a degree of motivation to get their lives back to normal, and the program builds on this initial motivation.

Point 2

No matter how motivated a person is, and no matter how long he or she has managed to stay off alcohol or drugs, he or she will always have to deal with powerful cravings to take these substances again. These urges to reuse must be countered, and the program teaches people to use the DEADS principle to achieve this. The acronym stands for Delay, Escape, Accept, Dispute, Substitute.

Delay means not yielding to urges or cravings immediately when they crop up. Instead of thinking of difficult concepts like never using again, people should postpone taking a substance, say for 15 minutes. Psychologically, they are not responding to the craving by either denying they will succumb to it, or by giving into it. By continuing to delay, the craving will eventually subside.

Escape is about addicts removing themselves from places or situations that have triggered cravings. For example, if a reformed drug user finds himself in a room where others are taking drugs, he should leave immediately if he feels the urge to join in.

Dispute means tackling the urge or craving with powerful arguments against giving into it.

Substitute means addicts should try to find other activities that will bring pleasure that lasts longer than the temporary boost they get from drugs or alcohol.

Point 3

A patient’s thoughts, behaviors and emotions need to be managed with problem solving. After quitting drugs, those in recovery might begin to have troubling thoughts, which could eventually lead to a physical relapse.


Point 4

Knowing how to live a balanced life is taught to patients so that they can go on to lead satisfying lives. This is a crucial step in getting addicts on the road to recovery.

The SMART Recovery program can benefit any Wyoming residents who are addicted to substances, or who engage in any other type of compulsive or addictive behavior. The program is accessible online, and there are also recovery groups throughout the country. If there are no SMART Recovery groups in your area, the program gives you the option to become a Facilitator and start your own.

Contact an addiction specialist today to learn if SMART is right for you.