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  • SMART Recovery meetings are a volunteer-based alternative to 12-step programs
  • Meetings follow a 4-point program that helps you maintain motivation and find life balance
  • SMART Recovery meetings online offer a chance to participate, no matter where you live

For many people who struggle with addiction, having a strong support system is essential. Often, speaking with individuals who have also battled addiction is very beneficial. It allows everyone to learn and grow from the experiences of others, and to talk with people who genuinely understand what it’s like to be in each other’s shoes. The SMART Recovery Program is an option for that kind of support.

Moreover, SMART Recovery Meetings online give people a chance to continue their recovery no matter where they are. This is incredibly helpful to those who can’t travel to meetings easily or when circumstances mandate staying at home.


What is SMART Recovery?

SMART Recovery is a nonprofit that aims to assist those who are struggling with addictive behavior. The nationwide organization facilitates free, in-person support groups as well as online alternatives through a message board-based discussion group.

“SMART” is actually an acronym. It stands for “Self-Management and Recovery Training,” which is a reflection of the organization’s goals and priorities. The program helps people with wide-ranging substance use disorders, including alcohol abuse and prescription drug addiction.


SMART Recovery vs. 12 Steps

While SMART Recovery and 12-Step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) have a lot in common, there are also some key differences. First, the foundation of the SMART Recovery program is scientific, not spiritual. In some cases, this could make it a better fit for individuals who don’t find the spiritual aspects of programs like AA appealing.

Additionally, the focus of SMART Recovery is self-reliance, not powerlessness. During meetings, the goal is usually to facilitate conversations, not just share stories or experiences without interpersonal engagement.

Finally, SMART Recovery doesn’t involve sponsors. Moreover, a life-long commitment to meetings isn’t always necessary. The organization also shies away from various labels, such as “addict.”


SMART Recovery’s 4-Point Process

The 4-point program is a summary of SMART Recovery’s approach. It focuses on teaching individuals how to:

  • Enhance and maintain the motivation to abstain
  • Cope with the urges they may experience
  • Manage their behaviors, feelings, and thoughts
  • Balance both momentary and enduring satisfactions

Have questions about addiction?
Call us at 855-430-9426 to speak with a recovery specialist.


Finding Online SMART Recovery Meetings

The SMART Recovery Online services include several support options. Each one is virtual (including online chat, voice, video, and text options), allowing members from all across the country to gather and offer support.

The message board forums are available 24/7. Members can participate at any time, joining existing discussions or initiating their own. Through the message board, members can also access live chat rooms, where the conversation is a little more immediate.

Online SMART Recovery meetings are also available daily. Details about when these chats occur are available on the message boards. At the top of the message board homepage, there is a link for the meeting schedule. From the calendar, members can review when upcoming meetings are set to occur, including the times they will happen and an overview of the meeting’s main purpose.

After finding a suitable online SMART Recovery meeting, click the link to learn more. Additional details about that meeting will display, including how to access the meeting room, which opens slightly before the scheduled start times.

Here are resources for different areas:

NYC SMART Recovery Meetings

NJ SMART Recovery Meetings

Northern California SMART Recovery Meetings

Southern California SMART Recovery Meetings

SMART Recovery Meetings – Choose Your Area


When to Seek In-Person Treatment

For many, online options like SMART Recovery are ideal. They make it easy to gain access to a supportive community, even at times when a person can’t leave home.

However, there are instances where in-person treatment is best. During the detox phase, getting direct assistance from medical professionals is often necessary. Acute withdrawal can trigger a number of symptoms, some of which can be dangerous. Hallucinations and delirium tremens can occur with some substances, as can loss of muscular control, shortness of breath, and changes in heart rhythm. All of these symptoms require medical attention. Sometimes, they are deadly.

By seeking treatment at a wellness center, whether in an inpatient environment or an intensive outpatient program, you gain the benefit of medical professionals who can monitor your health to ensure that you can complete the detox process safely before continuing on your journey toward recovery.

Written By: Sprout Editorial Team

The Sprout Health Group editorial team is passionate about addiction treatment, recovery and mental health issues. Every article is expert-reviewed.

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