What is SMART recovery?

What is SMART recovery?

SMART Recovery (Self Management and Recovery Training) is an international non-profit organization which provides assistance to individuals seeking abstinence from addictive behaviors. The approach of smart recovery is secular and science-based using non-confrontational motivational, behavioral and cognitive methods. Meeting participants of smart recovery learn recovery methods derived from evidence-based addiction treatments.

Smart recovery emphasizes four areas which they call the 4-point program in the process of recovery. The 4-point program of smart recovery includes: building motivation, coping with urges, problem solving and lifestyle balance. The smart recovery tools used are various types of therapy including cognitive behavioral therapy. Smart recovery does not use the twelve steps like AA or NA and is actually listed as an alternative to AA and the twelve steps. Even though smart recovery is listed as an alternative it is also suggested as a supplement to a twelve step program.

Smart recovery was incorporated in 1992 as the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Self-Help Network, the organization began operating in 1994. SMART recovery is recognized by the American Academy of Family Physicians, as well as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). NIDA and NIAAA are agencies of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Smart recovery meetings are free for all wishing to attend, and are intended to be informational as well as supportive. Over 800 weekly smart recovery group meetings led by volunteer facilitators are held worldwide.

Smart recovery meetings are also held in correctional facilities in many states including: Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

In smart recovery there are stages of change, seven of them and these changes are essentially how the smart recovery program works.

  • Stage one of smart recovery change: pre-contemplation: at this stage of smart recovery the participant may not realize that they have a problem.
  • Stage two of smart recovery change: contemplation: the participant of smart recovery evaluates the advantages and disadvantages of the addiction by performing a cost/benefit analysis.
  • Stage three of smart recovery change: determination and preparation: the participant completes a change plan worksheet.
  • Stage four of smart recovery change: action: The participant in smart recovery begins to seek out new ways of handling their addictive behavior. This can include self-help, the support of addiction help groups or professional guidance from a counselor etc.
  • Stage five of smart recovery change: maintenance: At this stage a few months of smart recovery have gone by and the participant in smart recovery’s behavior has been changed and now seeks to maintain their gains.
  • Stage six of smart recovery: Relapse: although it is not inevitable, relapses even in smart recovery are normal and part of the change cycle and if they are handled well can serve as a learning experience in overcoming addiction.
  • Stage seven of smart recovery change: termination: once the participant in smart recovery has sustained a long period of change they may choose to move on with their lives and graduate from smart recovery.

Are you addicted to sugar?

Are you addicted to sugar?

Sugar addiction is something most people laugh about. They may joke that they are addicted to sugar in order to rationalize having another slice of cake or piece of candy. And most wouldn’t consider sugar addiction to be as serious as alcohol or cigarette addiction. However, new research suggests that sugar addiction could be a very real thing, and it may be just as strong as an alcohol or drug addiction.

Studies show that humans are programmed from a very young age to crave sugar. And once your body experiences pleasure in response to the sugar, it does not take long to become addicted to sugar. Some common long term effects of being addicted to sugar include weakened immune system, chronic fatigue, hormonal problems, and gastrointestinal issues. Psychological issues, like anxiety and depression, can be made worse by being addicted to sugar.

A study in the 80’s found that eating sugar can release the same “feel good” chemicals that are released when you use drugs of abuse like cocaine and heroin. This “reward system” is the basis for all addiction. Your body releases chemicals in response to something you did, and you instantly want to replicate the feelings of pleasure.

When we eat, the pancreas secretes insulin, which takes the sugar into the body’s cells so it can be utilized. But high carb foods like bread, pasta, cereals, soda, and candy make insulin levels soar and then drop off again quickly. This causes your body to crave even more sugar a couple of hours later. Repeating this high-low cycle of sugar can make your body numb to insulin’s effects, so you need more and more of the hormone to get even sugar levels. Eventually, the cells may become unable to process insulin altogether, which leads to type-2 diabetes.

There are different types of people addicted to sugar. The first type are people who are chronically fatigued from lack of sleep, overworking, and poor nutrition. They tend to reach for caffeine and sugar to combat exhaustion. These are Type 1 sugar addicts.

Type 2 sugar addicts turn to sugar to fuel a fast-paced, high stress life. Those that are addicted to sugar in this category get anxious and irritable when they are hungry due to low blood sugar. They are constantly in a state of fight-or-flight and it causes stress and overtaxes the adrenal system.

The last type of people who get addicted to sugar are women experiencing hormonal fluctuation entering menopause which can cause anxiety, depression, and insulin resistance. This can lead to sugar addiction in some women.

The cure for people who are addicted to sugar is simple: Stop the cycle by cutting out foods that are high in sugars and carbohydrates. It also involves cutting out excessive caffeine intake, and eating more whole, unprocessed foods. Getting adequate sleep is also crucial for those who find themselves addicted to sugar.

At first, withdrawals from sugar and refined carbs can include cravings, headaches, low energy, irritability, and jitters. But experts agree that it usually takes just four to seven days for these feelings to wane.







Naturopathy is an alternative medicine or holistic approach to healing based on the belief of vitalism. Vitalism is the belief that a special energy called ‘vital energy’ guides bodily processes such as our metabolism, reproduction, growth, and adaptation. This naturopathic medicine is defined by principles rather than by methods or modalities. Therefore the main focus of naturopathy is to honor the body’s innate wisdom to heal itself.


Naturopathic medicine uses a wide variety of treatments focusing on self-healing. The naturopathy type of holistic healing looks at lifestyle, medical history, emotional tone, and physical features of a person. It could begin with a physical exam if it is found necessary. Through this, naturopathy will create lifestyle changes and approaches that support the body’s innate healing potential. In order to do this naturopathy will use multiple different holistic approaches for healing. One of the main treatments naturopathic medicine uses is a nature cure. Nature cures is based on exposure to the natural elements such as fresh air, sunshine, and water. Spending time out in nature.


Now that we know a little bit about naturopathic medicine its good to ask how this can apply for the addict and the alcoholic. From what its known about the disease of alcoholism and addiction it is spiritual along with mental and physical. The disease consists of a mental obsession, and physical allergy and a spiritual malady. Looking at this model of the disease of alcoholism and addiction, naturopathy is a perfect medicine for the treatment of drinking and drug abuse. Many times addicts and alcoholics want an instant fix that includes some kind of pill. They want the instant pills for happiness, calmness, sleepiness, aches, pains and more. Naturopathic medicine treats all this by using the power of one’s own body and mind through what is already available to us naturally.


Through eating differently, exercise and spending time outdoors; naturopathy includes that which has been essential to staying healthy since the beginning of time. Going back to this for a form of innate healing due to the body itself is kind of incredible. It’s seen that this form of healing is mentioned as far back as the days of Hippocrates that is the time period of ancient Greece. These basic fundamentals that naturopathy have taken hold of have been a part of our daily lives for many years now, it’s just a matter of utilizing them.


For the addict and alcoholic this may give relief to many who haven’t been able to find relief through any other type of medicine. It is also a perfect alternative for those who cannot take narcotic drugs to try and fix their physical or mental issues. This type of holistic approach also focuses on the spiritual aspect with the alignments of ‘energy’ in the sense of life force. This is something that addicts and alcoholics were most definitely missing. Naturopathy is something that everyone can practice at any time its just a matter of trying to live a more healthy and holistic lifestyle instead of looking to modern medicine to fix all our problems for us.