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.

Holistic Drug Treatment

Holistic Drug Treatment

Holistic drug treatment offers an alternative to the traditional and standard drug treatment methods used today. Is holistic drug treatment right for everyone? Not necessarily but for some people it can work wonders. At holistic drug treatment an addict or alcoholic gets the benefit of not only having their mind and body healed but also their spirit. Holistic drug treatment also has the added benefit of helping with some issues outside of drug addiction and alcoholism. Holistic drug treatment helps many addicts and alcoholics find a stronger sense of self and well-being in comparison to a program to that only focuses on the physical aspect of their drug addiction.

So what is the difference between holistic drug treatment and standard drug treatment?

Standard drug treatment usually follows the philosophy that drug addiction is primarily and in some instances only a physical or neurological problem. Standard drug treatment that focuses only on treating the physical symptoms and suppressing the urge to use drugs with medications are not set up for long term success and well-being for the addict and alcoholic. A program that uses standard drug treatment protocol doesn’t always address an addict’s or alcoholic’s feelings, desires or any psychological issues that may be going on. Standard drug treatment takes a therapeutic and psychological approach towards treating addiction with things like group counseling and talk therapy (one on one). These drug treatment programs go with the idea that addiction is physical but that the addiction started with something like codependency, depression, feelings of not being good enough and other problems.

A holistic drug treatment plan on the other hand takes the time to address the physical needs but it doesn’t just stop with the physical. Holistic drug treatment takes a look at person’s mental state. For instance, holistic drug treatment looks at the emotions, urges, feelings and treats them as just as much, if not more, of a component to the physical part of the addiction. Most holistic treatments, whether they are for drug treatment or any other kind of treatment, focus on a person’s spiritual side or energy without having any type of religious affiliations. Each person’s individual spirituality is addressed in a way that they are comfortable with. Holistic drug treatment realizes that addiction and alcoholism don’t just affect the mind and body but also the spirit. Holistic drug treatment also treatts the physical addiction and uses things such as group counseling and talk therapy to help the addict and alcoholic deal with why they started using. But holistic drug treatment goes one step further, it treats the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of people and their addiction, with the thought that they all have equal importance in getting well. Holistic drug treatment will use alternative methods of treatment such as yoga, meditation, sweat lodge, massage therapy, acupuncture, hypnosis and nutrition to focus on treating the entire person instead of just the addiction. Spiritual counseling may even be a part of holistic drug treatment. The purpose of holistic drug treatment is to give someone not only freedom from their addiction and alcoholism but give them freedom as a human being a spiritual being.

Holistic Alcohol Detox

Alcoholism is a chronic disease that if left untreated will result in death. According to the CDC over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases, neurological impairments and social problems. These include but are not limited to—

  • Neurological problems, including dementia, stroke and neuropathy.
  • Cardiovascular problems, including myocardial infarction, cardiomyopathy, atrial fibrillation and hypertension.
  • Psychiatric problems, including depression, anxiety, and suicide.
  • Social problems, including unemployment, lost productivity, and family problems.
  • Cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, colon, and breast. In general, the risk of cancer increases with increasing amounts of alcohol.
  • Liver diseases, including—Alcoholic hepatitis.
  • Cirrhosis, which is among the 15 leading causes of all deaths in the United States.
  • Among persons with Hepatitis C virus, worsening of liver function and interference with medications used to treat this condition
  • Other gastrointestinal problems, including pancreatitis and gastritis.

In order to receive the proper treatment for alcoholism one must first go through alcohol detox. Alcohol detox is a medical process that requires much care. The standard practice of alcohol detox consists of doing a full medical evaluation of a client during intake, creating a schedule medication plan (called a taper), and monitoring the client over a span of 4-10 days. The length of stay depends on the patients’ individual needs. Standard alcohol detox is what most people expect to receive if they go to a drug rehab center for detox but it is now common to receive holistic alcohol detox and holistic drug rehab treatment.

Holistic Alcohol Detox Intake Process
At holistic alcohol detox intake you will meet with a behavioral health technician for your initial evaluation. When you meet with the behavioral health technician they will take down all your information, log all your belongings and store them in a safe for you. You’ll then go through a detailed and thorough medical review of your current and past health condition and drug use with a nurse. It’s important that you are honest and tell the behavioral health technicians and nurses all information needed about your drug use so they can create the best taper for you.  They need to know what kinds of alcohol you’ve been drinking, for how long, and (if applicable) in what combination with other drugs. Anything that you’ve used needs to be documented for your safety and care.

Holistic Alcohol Detox Taper Process
Holistic alcohol detox treatment tapers are administered to gradually wean a client off of alcohol. Tapers start at a certain dosage and are continually reduced until the client is complete “detoxed” from drugs and alcohol.  This form of medical detoxification is safer for the patient than going “cold turkey” which can cause severe withdrawal symptoms and in some cases death. Using the tapering process is standard in drug and alcohol rehab treatment and produces great results. The types of prescribed medications given in tapers vary on a case by case basis. Every client is an individual in their own body, health and drug use so there are individualized tapers created based on the clients’ needs.

Holistic Alcohol Detox Nutrition
What makes holistic alcohol detox different from standard alcohol detoxification is the incorporation of holistic principles. Holistic treatments include healing a person by treating the mind, body and spirit. When a person enters a holistic alcohol detox center they will be also be offered nutritional meals and supplements that will help heal their bodies which have been damaged severely by alcohol. They can expect to have available to them: multi-vitamins, natural smoothies, herbal teas, wheatgrass shots, and healthy full course meals. Heavy drinkers suffer liver and brain cell damage to the point where these organs can no longer repair themselves resulting in Cirrhosis (liver) and cardiac arrest (heart). A multitude of vitamin deficiencies due to a poor diet caused by excessive drinking can also occur. Holistic alcohol detox nutrition is very important to the healing of an alcoholic and other holistic therapies that further support nutrition include massage, yoga, Thai-chi, acupuncture, deep-breathing, reiki and other varieties.