There are treatments for substance abuse and addiction available in treatment centers around the country. It is better to understand how each of the treatment programs works for your own benefits. If you already know the differences between programs, then you’ll have an easier time picking your preferred one.Treatments programs are usually recommended by doctors and medical professionals. Which program is chosen depends entirely on what substance is used, how it was used, how long it was abused, and what your personal preferences/needs are. Today, we’ll be discussing two very prominent programs that exist in the world of recovery: SMART and the 12-Step Program. Let’s discuss how they differ in terms of strategies and approaches to recovering from addiction.

What is the 12-Step Program?

The 12-Step Program or Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) aims to assist an individual to recover through spiritual inspiration. Bill Wilson formulated the idea 81 years ago, and it has become the number one form of treatment for many people trying to recover from addiction. The foundation of this program is spiritual-based and focuses on seeking serenity, powerlessness, and acceptance. The principle of the program is to follow the 12 steps to achieve a purpose and ultimately abstinence from a substance. The model is originated from the Christian point of view, for those who are not Christian they have remodeled the steps to their spiritual beliefs. 

The 12-Step program is used as a model for other recovery programs that have the same beliefs as Alcohol Anonymous, such programs are Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Heroin Anonymous (HA), and Gamblers Anonymous (GA). Each of the programs is remodeled from Alcohol Anonymous, and minimal changes were made to incorporate to the same goal.

The 12-Step program includes:

  • Acceptance towards powerlessness over the addiction.
  • Consider that there is a higher force than oneself.
  • Submitting oneself to the higher power.
  • Building self-esteem by undergoing a moral inventory.
  • Admitting your shortcomings.
  • Allowing the highest force to restore you from all wrong-doings.
  • Humility over the higher power.
  • Willingness to change.
  • Forgiving oneself.
  • Maintaining spiritual progress.
  • Having a dialogue with the higher power.
  • Spread the good effects of the 12-Step Program to others.

As you go on with your journey to recovery by using the 12-Step Program, you will discover some benefits that will guide you towards living a normal life. 

Some of its benefits are as follows:

  • The ability to self-reflect and see your situation.
  • The ability to be vulnerable and seek help from other people.
  • The ability to restrain yourself from all the temptations and be aware of how they come about.
  • Sympathy to others who have experienced the same situation as you.

People discover a renewed personality after undergoing the program. It is a mixture of personal and spiritual growth. Acceptance and honesty are the ultimate key factors in successfully finishing the program. Without them, you will have a hard time finishing the course because further success requires these two qualities.

What is SMART Recovery?

SMART is an acronym that stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training. It is one of the largest alcohol addiction support groups in the world. It helps people overcome their addiction through the treatments available in the program.

SMART is based on cognitive behavioral therapy and rational behavioral therapy, the tools used in the program are based on scientific research. Through the program, an individual learns how to make the right choices as they go on with their lives after rehabilitation.

Rehabilitation Programs through SMART help an individual treat any addiction, such as alcoholism, drug addictions, and behavioral addictions. Just like other programs, SMART Recovery follows a certain format that will be used throughout the process. 

The process of SMART Recovery looks something like this:

  • Display accountability, motivation, and self-discipline during the recovery process.
  • Become more rational with thoughts and ideas.
  • Set up new goals in life.
  • Accept withdrawals and setbacks as part of the recovery process.
  • Recognize when setbacks or relapse occurs.
  • Learn how to say “NO” to the relapse.
  • Be patient with the recovery process.
  • Embody the SMART Recovery lessons in their everyday life.

Relapse is not viewed as a weakness in SMART Recovery, rather it is viewed as an opportunity to communicate to others what went wrong during the recovery process. A person can easily go back to their old habits when relapse is viewed as a weakness. When you conquer that fear of relapse/addiction, you can live a successful life in sobriety.

SMART Recovery formulated an exercise called ABC’s, it is used to help people analyze their current situation, why relapse occurs, and learn how to develop stronger coping mechanisms.

SMART Recovery’s ABC’s

  1. Activation of Experience: The first step is to identify the situation and the things that may trigger the urges to use substances. Every trigger starts with a situation that awakens the desire to use again.
  2. Beliefs: Beliefs may be in the form of rational, reality-based, logical, irrational, or illogical. When triggers happen, always evaluate your actions and the way you think about the situation. Your triggers can easily be quelled if you understand yourself.
  3. Consequences: Every action has its consequences, and the result depends on how you handle the situation that triggers you to abuse a substance again. You have to be careful each time you’re faced with anything that triggers you and think about the consequences of your desires.
  4. Disputes: Examine each scenario that you may negatively react to. This will open a new understanding of why these things happen.
  5. Effects: The effects of SMART Recovery ABC’s depend on how you go through all the steps. Replacing your illogical thoughts with logical ones may help you succeed in your battle. You will eventually see changes from the way you deal with your urge to consume a substance in time, this is possible with practice.

It is important to understand that regardless of their differences, each program mentioned above gives hope to an individual who dreams to live normally again. You should evaluate your needs before you submit yourself to the program. Also, consider the suggestion of your doctor because they have encountered plenty of cases like yours. if you feel that you don’t approve of their proposal, then you can share your own views and preferences regarding this matter. Regardless of what program you choose, make sure to choose a life in sobriety, you’ll be happier in the long run.

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