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SMART vs AA

Old 02-28-2015, 06:45 PM
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SMART vs AA

SMART vs AA
I'm just curious, and I know it boils down to personal preference: does anyone on here follow the SMART program? I've been doing research on alternatives to AA because I've never been comfortable in meetings sharing my feelings in person and I have a hard time with the "higher power" concept. Does anyone have any input on other programs or on SMART?
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Old 02-28-2015, 07:12 PM
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I've never attended a SMART meeting; although, there is one near me. I know that there are no steps to work and no sponsors. And from what I've heard, the meetings are more about working on CBT (cognitive behavior therapy) exercises, as opposed to members sharing stories of their drunkalogues or how their day or week has been going.

Some of the CBT exercises are on the SMART website just in case you haven't seen them. You may want to check them out. Also is there a SMART meeting near you? Unfortunately, SMART meetings are not anywhere near as prevalent as AA/NA meetings.
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Old 02-28-2015, 07:15 PM
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You might also be interested in Lifering. Good luck!
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Old 02-28-2015, 07:49 PM
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I've only gone to a few Smart meetings, but many LifeRing meetings, and I still facilitate two meetings. LifeRing is also about meetings and talking about what's going on and learning from other people, but it's not at all about higher powers = god concepts, it's about empowering yourself. It's also not at all about steps or following a specific program, other than not drinking or using by whatever means you can stay there. Smart has much more of a program on how to quit, and it might be helpful for more people early on (LifeRing leaves it up to you to sort it out), but maybe is less about long-term community. Check them out! Both Smart and LifeRing have online meetings you can go to, and Smart might have face to face meetings nearby (if you're in TN, LifeRing does not). Other options to look at are Rational Recovery and SOS.
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Old 02-28-2015, 07:55 PM
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I had big issues with the higher power stuff too, so I turned to SMART. I attended only one meeting (I'm not really a meeting type of person...) and it was fine, but I benefited from the website and some SMART workbooks instead. I wouldn't call myself in active practice of SMART or anything, but it really helped me to get started. I still use strategies from time to time, but now I've been clean for a few years and find myself not thinking about it as much.

I would take a look at it. If it's not for you, there plenty of other options out there .
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Old 02-28-2015, 08:34 PM
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This is a short summary I wrote up a while ago:

LifeRing: Uses the 3-S Philosophy (secularity, sobriety, self-help). Path to recovery is an individual matter; there is no program. Lifering views sobriety as relying on human effort and motivation. Religious beliefs are kept private and not considered part of getting sober. Meetings are to reinforce the desire to quit drinking (online, email, F2F). Main book: “Empowering Your Sober Self” ($19.95).

SOS: Path to recovery is individual and there is no program. However, sobriety is the priority and uses “Suggested Guidelines for Sobriety” to maintain it. Life-long abstinence is the goal. Uses rational methods and eschews religious or spiritual approaches. Newsletters have featured the Orange Papers. Decidedly anti-AA. Has meetings but did not see description of purpose.

Rational Recovery: Uses the AVRT technique as the main tool to sobriety, which is a cognitive behavior technique. Involves making a Big Plan as a life-time commitment to sobriety. Secular by nature and decidedly anti-AA. No meetings. Main book: “The Art of AVRT” ($29.95).

SMART: Approach relies on self-empowerment and self-reliance. Uses 4 point SMART recovery program along with a set of tools and techniques to support efforts at sobriety. Has meetings both F2F and online. Many books shown on website.

My original post is in this thread: LifeRing: http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...-smart-rr.html
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Old 04-25-2015, 05:42 PM
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Smart and hams have workbooks ,
they feature a lot of tools like figuring out triggers, things to stay busy and sober, and ways to get back k on track if you lapse. They are self empowering In that they give you tools so you can go out and lI've life without the use of their program on a regular , long term basis.
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Old 04-25-2015, 10:57 PM
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In addition to the organizations mentioned by Jazzfish, there is also Women for Sobriety, which focuses on positive empowerment and women's issues. Or so I'm told.
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Old 04-29-2015, 07:45 PM
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How about just taking a look at what works for you, and forgetting about putting it in a box or placing a name on it.

Originally Posted by InMyBlood View Post
SMART vs AA
I'm just curious, and I know it boils down to personal preference: does anyone on here follow the SMART program? I've been doing research on alternatives to AA because I've never been comfortable in meetings sharing my feelings in person and I have a hard time with the "higher power" concept. Does anyone have any input on other programs or on SMART?
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Old 05-09-2015, 06:14 PM
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This isn't a bad comparison chart, from duffysrehab.com,

https://www.duffysrehab.com/uploads/..._groups-06.jpg

Last edited by Morning Glory; 05-13-2015 at 10:52 AM. Reason: Image was too large. Replaced with link.
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Old 05-12-2015, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by JeffreyAK View Post
This isn't a bad comparison chart, from duffysrehab.com,
Since RR was brought into this thread by that HUMUNGOUS chart, I think it's important to correct the "Optimal Length of Program" to be in line with the context of how it is used for the other programs. In that case, the length of program, as I understand it, is about a week on average to get good at AVRT. The range of length of program would be from 5 seconds to about four weeks, in my opinion.
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Old 05-13-2015, 10:34 AM
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Yes, it did turn out rather large....

But I'm curious, when you say 1 week, is that "cured" in one week, or 1 week to understand the concept but a lifetime to implement it, or...? Post-acute withdrawal alone can go on for 2 years sometimes, and the end of that phase plus a bit is when most people consider themselves stable. Just wondering how that is viewed in RR philosophy.
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Old 05-13-2015, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by JeffreyAK View Post
Yes, it did turn out rather large....

But I'm curious, when you say 1 week, is that "cured" in one week, or 1 week to understand the concept but a lifetime to implement it, or...? Post-acute withdrawal alone can go on for 2 years sometimes, and the end of that phase plus a bit is when most people consider themselves stable. Just wondering how that is viewed in RR philosophy.
I guess it boils down to "cure" and "implement". First "cure"; I have not been able to figure out how it is possible that the Big Plan would NOT be a "cure". Second "implement"; what AVRT "implements" is simple Recognition and utter inaction towards more drinking. I think it was LBrain who mentioned in a parallel thread, there may be some trivial voluntary motion away from alcohol, because who wants to carry around a glass of scotch on the rocks indefinitely just because they were told it was ginger ale. I can safely say nothing like that has happened to me over a long, long, long period, and I'm not a hermit.

I'm guessing that after taking the Crash Course online or reading about AVRT, the range of experimentation using AVRT without the Big Plan is from 5 seconds to about a month. Once the Big Plan is made the Beast's goose is cooked. Crossing that threshold into the wide world of common teetotalism occurs. One third of U.S. adults are teetotalers. The next third drink less than 2 drinks a month. The top ten percent of drinkers drink two thirds of all the beverage alcohol in the U.S. That's an average of more than ten drinks a day, every day. (Just saw those stats online, wanted to sneak it in.)

As to PAWS? I will speak only for myself and what I understand about AVRT.

I will first go along with the assumption that biological influences on thoughts and feelings resulting from having consumed lots of alcohol up to two years ago might have an impact on my life. For me, it would be similar to how the consequences of choosing to speed through a just-turned-red light might result in an accident from which biological consequences may linger for up to two years. Experiencing those biological consequences in either situation would lead me to be even MORE reticent about getting into a situation that might cause it to happen again, like drink again, or speed through a red light again.

And AVRT provides what I would call an ideal, quick, black and white filtering process for all those biologically influenced thoughts and feelings that might still be getting created in my brain by all the alcohol and drugs I used up to 2 years ago. Again, I'm going along with an assumption. I'm not convinced that's what actually happened in my brain, but doing AVRT is very easy to comprehend.

I believe a study on bad thoughts and feelings in, say, the first year after quitting of people who use AVRT with The Big Plan as contrasted with people who join the Recovery Group Movement and get Addiction Treatment would show that the life difficulties decrease faster in those who use AVRT with the Big Plan. I also believe the Big Plan rewires the brain in a way that short circuits the old excuses-to-drink patterns of the past; and AVRT will nail it to the wall when something might try to slip through. I don't think those excuses-to-drink stories from the past are understood by PAWS treaters the same way they are understood in AVRT.

And I also believe AVRT does not suggest I avoid therapy for psychological problems, I would just make sure the separation between having quit for good and the therapy is clear. I believe it would be sad to find a therapist who might recommend I was dangerously egomaniacal to believe I could decide to never drink again, and that I could really make use of some sort of immersion into a milieu of struggling alcoholics (with this SR - SC forum not fitting that definition in my mind).

I think those people who believe in the need for outside forces to keep alcohol out of their mouths do not have this rewiring of the brain. I believe this from my own experience having originally been in the recovery group movement for a period of time and also having made three Big Plans on different things and my reactions to opportunities to use before and after.

I think people believing their plans regarding the future use of alcohol are out of their personal control will be more comfortably able to segue into what PAWS treatment providers offer, although I don't know what that would be. From my position today as a common teetotaler I like to see AVRT understood clearly and uncorrupted as the lore of how self reliant Phormer Drunks (PhDs) join the vast majority of the population for whom drinking/drugging is a non-issue.
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Old 05-13-2015, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by InMyBlood View Post
SMART vs AA
I'm just curious, and I know it boils down to personal preference: does anyone on here follow the SMART program? I've been doing research on alternatives to AA because I've never been comfortable in meetings sharing my feelings in person and I have a hard time with the "higher power" concept. Does anyone have any input on other programs or on SMART?
Im on the family side but hope its ok if I chime in. I did a lot of family therapy with my husband and we both did individual too. Someone here told me about Smart and Ive found it matches a lot of the things from therapy sessions. The behavioral and CBT approach, no labels, reliance on self, no sponsors or specific time dedication. You can use the tools there and their site or meetings for as long as its helpful. You gain skills to make you independent. I love reading their blogs, and how they can pull in anything and talk about it during a meeting, like philosophers or different authors and make shares, they allow you to talk to one another during meetings but the people who facilitate meetings take special training through smart, and some people are actually professional therapists which is cool. Ive been reading some on AVRT and I like it also (from my perspective). My husband still does therapy a couple times a month but thats all he does now, and its very cool too. Has helped him with his stress from work and delve into some past issues he had never explored, but he doesnt go anymore because of the drug issue. He stopped. Dealt with it. Its Over. I hope you find what works for you!
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Old 05-17-2015, 05:21 PM
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SMART has a good website, and also forums for discussion and support. They also have a lot of online meetings.

I had never heard of LifeRing until I read this thread. I just checked out their website. I liked what I read: "LifeRing believes you DO have the power to overcome your addiction. It's hard, there are often setbacks, but in every addict there exists the desire to find lasting sobriety." And this: "We think YOU are the best person to design YOUR OWN program - you know what's needed in your life and what has to be abandoned."

I am definitely incorporating these concepts into this stab at staying sober.
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Old 10-20-2016, 11:48 AM
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Atheists can stay sober and remain true to their non-theism in AA

Whatever might work for you is a good thing. For better or worse, AA seems to be "the mcDonald's" of recovery... locally available, affordable ("no dues/fees"), and as "engaging" as you want it to be. This may be changing and vary by region. I've heard AA membership is stagnant, but a growing "wing" of aa are the atheist/agnostics within AA. So much so that a 2nd ever bi-annual convention for free thinkers within AA will occur Nov. 11-13, 2016 in Austin Texas.

There are increasing growing options both online and in person and I hear good things about SMART (and CBT). There are certainly growing online atheist/agnostic AA options, too.

Many years ago I had attended SOS ("Save Our Selves" / "Secular Organization of Sobriety") but it was a long drive away and it didn't "stick." I spent a lot of years trying to avoid AA, mostly for fear that it would get in the way of my drinking (which is, admittedly, kinda the point!) but also for fear of their god thang. In those avoiding years I read of someone who choose "a doorknob" as their higher power and pondered "in case I ever need one," what would be my HP? I choose gravity (a force I can't see but can't deny). Eventually a mentor confronted me about my drinking and said "all treatments seem to lead to aa." I don't know why those words were so dis-arming, but perhaps I was just finally "ready."

I am grateful that AA has let me come to it, as I am able and I attribute my sustained (decade+) sobriety to my connection with AA. In recent years I have wondered if I had not been "armed" with "gravity" as a HP, if I could have endured the god-squad within aa. I feel sorrow for all the dead atheists at AA's doorstep , but am glad for growing options within and without of AA for those who seek help with intervention in the death spiral of addiction. Best wishes on your journey.
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Old 10-20-2016, 04:26 PM
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Hi FantaDaze - welcome to SR.

I know it's difficult not to talk about AA in this topic but as you're new I should explain this is the secular forum - it's for the discussion of secular methods of recovery.

The forum rules and reasons for them are here:
http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...rum-rules.html

We do have other forums including some 12 step forums (and a secular 12 step forum below this one) and I encourage you to check those out as well

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Old 10-20-2016, 05:57 PM
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Bon the link I provided above (and again below) explains what the secular rules are, why the rules are here, and what they hope to achieve.

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...rum-rules.html

You can discuss your experience with one method over another in just about any other forum here.

We do ask for respect for other beliefs in those shares.

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Old 10-22-2016, 12:51 AM
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"don't think about a green elephant."

Dee74, thanks for your patience with my violation of the forum rules.
Which, as I now understand, either "are" or "include":

"Secular Forum Rules Quote: Alternatives to 12 Step Recovery
Recovery from Substance Abuse and Support for Friends and Family of Substance Abusers
LifeRing-Smart-SOS, CBT, AVRT, Problem Solving, Self Management, Self-Empowerment, Rational Thinking, Positive Lifestyle Changes, Self Assessment, Commitment and Follow-Through, Self-Acceptance, Motives and Goals, Peer Support.

"12 Step Programs are off topic for this forum and posts discussing 12 Step Programs will be removed. Please use the Secular 12 Step Forum for positive topics on Secular 12 Step Recovery.
It took me years to successfully open and maintain a secular forum and even longer to allow civil discussions on RR. The debates were so bad at one point I had to close down the forum. The rules are in place to protect your forum. Mocking other programs is not permitted and 12 step topics are not permitted. "



This does come as news to me. It is easy to suppose there are many challenges to maintaining decorum in any forum (on the internet!) much less one with the subject so visceral as recovery, so, perhaps "erring on the side of caution" is prudent.

If my reply was "out of line," then I am confused by the allowance of the title question. "Red vs. Green?" discuss... but never use the word "Green."

I have heard an author speak of the absurdity of being "committed" to perceiving a coin as having only one side, and thus speaking of any particular flip of the coin as being either "heads" or "NOT heads."

I remain a bit perplexed on the question of how to interpret a rule that does not permit "12 step topics." I don't know precisely what all that includes (sharing "experience, strength, and hope;" fellowship; service work; or merely "THE 12 step program of recovery")? Justice Stewart said of pornography, that it is hard to define, but "I know it when I see it." I suppose that is where the discretion of the moderators come into play. As with all exercises of authority, its judicious application is bound, at times, to be applied "too liberally" and, on other occasions, "too conservatively" and almost any choice is likely to offend someone.

Apparently I "joined" the site last May, but had never posted anything. I recently receive an email from this site which presented a link to this topic question and the questioner's remark:
"I've been doing research on alternatives to AA because I've never been comfortable in meetings sharing my feelings in person and I have a hard time with the 'higher power' concept."

I was trying to respond specifically to the "higher power" concern as not necessarily being a critical issue... though, of course, it may be for some. I found that I had never activated my account. A moderator was kind enough to activate the account, which I apparently soon took advantage of to step in a dog pile. Ooops.

I had noticed this thread had been inactive for a year and a half, but still the title question has been presented on my screen as an active topic question. I am glad for people who find a path to recovery that works for them. "Yes, you are unique... just like everybody else." It is certainly possible that what would work for me, would not work for you, and vice versa. What I need is a path that "works for me." I remain interested in SMART recovery options, but have not found their meetings to be so readily available.

Venues like this surely can help people find what they need. It sounds prudent to create "safe spaces" for different perspectives, but excessive segregation of perspectives could promote "echo chambers" as well. As ever, the challenge appears to be in the balance.
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Old 10-22-2016, 09:40 AM
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I moved this thread over here to the secular 12 step recovery forum due to the title of the thread. You can now discuss both.

I understand your frustration FantaDaze. We tried to allow balance and it did not work. The Secular Connection forum rules keeps that forum a safe place to post for our secular members. Without that rule the forum is a war zone.
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