Help With Alcoholism

The Most Secular of AA Alternatives
Discover SMART Recovery



Help with Alcoholism
SMART Recovery groups are one of the more viable AA alternatives




SMART Recovery is one of a growing number of AA alternatives that offer help with alcoholism.

Some of the fundamental ways in which it differs from Alcoholics Anonymous are:

  • It is non-spiritual. Explicitly secular in fact
  • The world of reason and science give us the answers to alcoholism, Not G(g)od
  • Willpower and self-empowerment help overcome alcoholism, not a higher power
  • SMART Recovery uses tools and techniques adapted from the world of business management to help with alcoholism and defeating the cravings that accompany recovery
  • help with alcoholism
  • Positivity is encouraged as opposed to the negativity of AA. e.g. There is no need to look for fault in ourselves, make amends to those we have hurt and continually identify ourselves as an addict/alcoholic
  • Meetings are not substance or activity specific. SMART Recovery groups are open to those addicted to anything and everything
  • Utilizes elements of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in order to control negative thoughts and emotions

Seven Stages of Change

SMART stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training.

The SMART Recovery system is based on what they call the seven stages of change:

  1. Pre-contemplation – This stage encompasses the behaviors that brought the person to this point, up to the moment when they realized that they had a problem
  2. Contemplation – At this stage, the person knows there is a problem and they begin to figure out both the advantages and disadvantages they receive from their addictive behaviors
  3. Determination/Preparation – The person will develop a Change Plan Worksheet which will outline the steps they need and are prepared to take in order to change their addictive behaviors
  4. Action – In this phase, the person will attend meetings, get professional help if needed and make every attempt to rid themselves of their addiction
  5. Maintenance – After several months in the Action stage, a person's behaviors have changed so this stage focuses on maintaining the new behaviors, such as not drinking
  6. Relapse – This is often a part of the process, whether we like it or not. Instead of making it a shameful thing to feel guilty over, SMART Recovery is one of the few organizations that actively plan on how to handle relapse
  7. Termination – This stage may never come for some people and that's okay but this is the point where a person has stayed sober for a long time and feels they no longer need support


Other AA Alternatives:




What To Expect At SMART Meetings

Much like like Alcoholics Anonymous and all the other support groups for addiction, group meetings of recovering addicts are an essential element of this group.

Meetings follow a set format as follows:

  1. Welcome and Introduction
  2. Check-in
  3. Agenda Setting
  4. Working Time
  5. Pass the Hat(donations)
  6. Check out and closing
Online meetings are also available for those who can't attend a live one. They also follow the same set format as their offline counterparts.

There is a fair degree of flexibility within each individual meeting and thus they can vary considerably.

Essentially meetings are free to attend, however without donations they would not be able to function.

There are over 800 face-to-face meetings worldwide, click here for more details and a worldwide meeting list. For a schedule of online meetings click here.


Help With Alcoholism
Supporting Concerned Others Also

This year the group also began an online support group for family and friends of those involved in the program.

Called Concerned Significant Others, this new group is similar to that of Al-Anon, where family and friends can learn how to best cope with their loved one's behaviors. Click here for more information on 'Concerned Significant Others' and details of their online meeting.

'Concerned Significant Others' is a secular support group that is an alternative to Al-Anon, a 12-step group that provides spiritual help for family and friends of alcoholics.


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Help With Alcoholism
AA Alternative

As stated above, one reason that SMART Recovery is billed as an AA alternative is that many alcoholics are uncomfortable with the religious or spiritual nature of AA.

While the group is non-denominational, there is still an intense focus on a “higher power” and many people simply don't want to deal with that.

Instead, SMART Recovery is completely secular and based on scientific principles only.

Of all the AA Alternatives out there, SMART Recovery is perhaps the most secular. It makes no mention of spirituality or religion, its methods are taken from the world of management, and science and reason are its ultimate authority.

If you're looking for a true alternative to Alcoholic Anonymous to help with alcoholism, then you can't go wrong with SMART Recovery.





If you or someone close to you wants help and advice on quitting drinking then take a look at the following pages:



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Deborah Morrow, M.S. Addiction Psychology, is the director of treatment programs for The Alcoholism Guide website. In her practice, Deborah provides on-line coaching and support for those dependent on alcohol or who require other services such as relapse prevention or court mandated services. (Read More)



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