After completing treatment for alcoholism, the client heads out the door of rehab to face a new life without relying on alcohol. For some people, leaving rehab is one of the scariest moments of their lives. It’s the point in time they will begin to learn the truth about how strong they feel about the recovery they have earned through therapy.
Part of what most people in rehab learn is they don’t have to fight the battle for sobriety on their own. The world is filled with support resources that can help people in recovery stay sober even through the worst of times. Among the most popular aftercare resources that are available to the recovering alcoholic is sober living programs, aftercare counseling, an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
Focusing on AA, most people know what the organization is all about. The program was founded in the mid to late 1930s by a struggling alcoholic named Bill Wilson. Over the last 80+ years, AA has saved tens of millions of people all over the world. Most of these people were and are recovering alcoholics who just needed or need a sober foundation upon which they can build a recovery. For a lot of people, AA has been the go-to program.
What people don’t know is there are other recovery programs out in the world that seek to offer hope and help to people in recovery. One such program is the SMART Recovery program, which has been helping people in recovery since it’s inception in 1994. Though the SMART recovery program’s methodology differs significantly from the AA program, it has legitimate claims to being a very effective alternative to AA and other like programs.
Let’s compare Smart Recovery and AA.
Does SMART Recovery Have a Higher Success Rate than AA?
Before we offer a comparison of these two programs, we would like to offer an answer to the titled question. To do that, we would like to reference some information from a study mentioned in Wikipedia. According to this encyclopedia of knowledge, after adjusting for certain important factors such as income and other demographic factors, the study revealed that the SMART Recovery program fell short in certain areas when compared to AA. Those areas included alcohol abstinence, alcohol drinking problems, and total abstinence. However, when someone compares the data based on what each program sets as treatment goals, it looks as though both programs are providing similar results in the same three areas.
All indications are this is a reliable resource. With that in mind, we thought it would be useful to describe how these two programs differ.
At the core of the Alcoholics Anonymous program is the 12 principles or 12 Steps of Recovery. The program encourages members to:
- Admit they are powerless over the disease of alcoholism
- Take responsibility for the wrongs they committed while in the throes of the disease
- Confirm their willingness to make amends wherever possible
- Confirm their willingness to turns their lives over to a higher power of their own understanding
The program’s members believe that by doing the things noted above, they will gain the ability and strength to fight the good fight against their disease of alcoholism.
Just a note: AA is not a faith-based organization though it would seem to have its roots in Christianity. The reference to a higher power would be anything that a member might accept as something more powerful than themselves. The faith in this higher power is intended to serve as an anchor to sobriety.
The SMART Recovery finds its roots more in a scientific approach to recovery. The program encourages people not to feel powerless and to not put their faith in anything other than the SMART Recovery process. The program doesn’t even accept the notion that alcoholism is a disease.
The program works under the theory that addiction is a bad habit that can be cured through evidence-based therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. The program also uses the principles of motivational interviewing, using all of these therapeutic options to teach addiction sufferers how to recognize the causes of their addiction and how to change their behaviors through coping mechanisms.
Before you concern yourself with staying sober, you need to first get help with your addiction. To get yourself started on the road to a lasting recovery, you can contact one of our representatives at 844-639-8371.