Peer-led support groups can make a significant impact on the road to recovery for many people. SMART recovery groups fall into this category but are not a 12-step based group.
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What is SMART Recovery?
SMART Recovery is a mental health and education program. It is an abstinence-based not-for-profit organization designed to help people overcome addictive behaviors. The focus is on helping participants change their behavior using scientifically proven tools to break addictive patterns and become more successful. SMART stands for Self-Management And Recovery Training. The program can be used for any type of addictive behavior including drugs, alcohol, gambling, or even excessive spending habits.
The program was created in 1994 and currently has over 3000 weekly meetings worldwide. They also provide online meetings and online message boards. The online message boards are always available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All meetings are free to attend, donations are accepted at the close of in-person meetings. Members also have the option to purchase SMART Recovery books that can be useful to help them change addictive behaviors.
SMART Recovery uses a four-point system:
- Building and maintaining motivation
- Coping with urges
- Managing thoughts, feelings, and behavior
- Living a balanced life
The program provides tools and training for each of the four points. The goal is to learn to build self-reliance while replacing addictive behaviors with healthy coping strategies.
How is SMART Recovery Different From a 12-step Program?
12-Step programs are based on spiritual principles that say the addict is powerless. SMART Recovery is based on scientific principles and tools that build a person’s self-empowerment. While 12-step programs rely on an outside power source to change a person SMART Recovery teaches techniques for self-directed change. SMART Recovery discourages the use of the labels alcoholic and addict. The SMART program also allows for the appropriate use of psychological treatment and prescription medications when needed.
It takes time and commitment to change addictive behaviors. Individuals are encouraged to not dwell on the past, but to focus on the present and the future. Each person has differing needs for their recovery, and they are encouraged to use whichever tools available that will serve them best. SMART Recovery provides tools to use that go along with their four points. Some of these tools include:
- Change plan worksheet
- Decision-making worksheet (Cost/ Benefit Analysis)
- DISARM- Destructive Images and Self-Talk Awareness
- Hierarchy of values
- Role playing and rehearsing
- Unconditional Self-Acceptance
In-person SMART meetings can make a significant difference in a person’s life. Most people attend once a week, but they can go more if needed. The online tools are also available whenever they may be needed.
There are multiple SMART Recovery meetings available each week in Gila Bend, Arizona.
Is There a Need for Addiction Recovery Support Groups in Gila Bend, Arizona?
There is absolutely a need for addiction treatment in Gila Bend. Statistics provided by the Coordinated Community Health Needs Assessment For Maricopa County shows some of the need for help.
- 49.9% of those individuals surveyed believe that alcohol abuse is one of the most important unhealthy behaviors that need to be addressed in the community
- 35.8% of those survey believe that drug abuse is one of the most important unhealthy behaviors that need to be addressed in the community
- 16.1% of adults surveyed reported binge drinking in Maricopa County in 2017
- There were 1304 drug-related deaths in Maricopa County from December 2017 to November 2018
- There were 880 opioid deaths from December 2017 to November 2018
- There were 1078 drug overdose deaths in 2019
The Arizona Department of Health Services lists emergency room visits related to drug use and cases where people had to be admitted to the hospital for at least one night due to drug-related issues. They also have statistics for alcohol-related emergency room visits and cases when a person had to be admitted for alcohol-related issues. The following numbers are for the year 2018:
- 2,440 emergency department visits related to cocaine use statewide
- 1,490 emergency department visits related to cocaine use in Maricopa county
- 3,383 hospital admissions related to cocaine use statewide
- 2,210 hospital admissions related to cocaine use in Maricopa county
- 11,513 emergency department visits related to opiate use statewide
- 7,159 emergency department visits related to opiate use in Maricopa County
- 18,967 hospital admissions related to opiate use statewide
- 12,278 hospital admissions related to opiate use in Maricopa county
- 30,204 emergency department visits related to alcohol use statewide
- 14,949 emergency department visits related to alcohol use in Maricopa county
- 43,395 hospital admissions related to alcohol use statewide
- 24,931 hospital admissions related to alcohol use in Maricopa county
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports 10,511 people died in drunk driving crashes across the United States in 2018. In the same year, 298 of those fatalities occurred in Arizona, with142 of them occurring in Maricopa county. In 2019 there were 260 drunk driving fatalities in Arizona, 106 of them occurring in Maricopa county.
Can Addiction Recovery Happen Using Only a Support Group?
For people with severe addictions, the best option would be to seek professional assistance at a treatment center. There can be life-threatening withdrawal symptoms from some substances, like alcohol. For those with mild addictive behaviors, a peer support group can be beneficial.
More Information About Drug and Alcohol Recovery is Available for Gila Bend, Arizona.
SpringBoard Recovery wants to help people find their best fit for recovery. Going to outpatient support groups may be the appropriate solution for some. In addition to SMART Recovery meetings, there are other support groups available.