There are a variety of approaches to treating adolescents and young adults struggling with addiction. Of all the options available, we are most impressed with and utilize SMART Recovery. SMART is an acronym for Self Management And Recovery Training.
SMART Recovery combines Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), which helps change negative thought patterns to positive ones, emotional coping strategies and group and family support. This approach provides common sense self-help lessons designed to empower your child to control addictive behaviors by addressing their underlying thoughts and feelings and providing the skills needed to manage their urges for long-term addiction recovery.
What is Addictive Behavior?
Addictive behavior is over-involvement with substance use (e.g., psychoactive substances of all kinds including illicit drugs, prescribed medications, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, food, etc.) or over-involvement with activities (e.g., self-harm, internet and technology, sexual behavior, eating, gambling, spending, relationships, exercise, etc.). We know that there are degrees of addictive behavior. No matter your child’s harmful habit, SMART Recovery can help.
What is the SMART Recovery Approach?
The SMART Recovery approach to behavioral change is built around the following Four-Point program. SMART Recovery teaches your child how to:
Building and Maintaining Motivation
This is arguably the most important step since they must make the decision themselves to change their lives. This is where they find reasons to change, and the motivation to keep going.
Cope with Urges
Urges happen. SMART Recovery helps them deal with these urges and understand why they have them. They learn to control their response to their urges or even forget about them completely.
Manage Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviors
This is where they find new ways of dealing with sadness, anger, and other things that upset them instead of using.
Living a Balanced Life
This is where they learn to maintain their sobriety by figuring out what’s important to them, setting goals and finding interests.
The ABCs of SMART Recovery
In order to teach your child about recognizing and overcoming various addiction triggers, SMART Recovery programs use an exercise called the ABCs.
Every trigger starts with a specific situation that has occurred. The first step is to define events that urge them to drink, do drugs or fall back on bad habits.
When they think about the particular event that occurred, how do they see it? They must take into consideration what they’re thinking and feeling. Beliefs can come in many forms: rational, reality-based, logical, irrational, wishful-based thinking, illogical and self-defeating.
Every thought and action has a consequence. The consequence is a result of “A” (the activating event) and “B” (their beliefs).
They must take any negative beliefs they may have and turn them into a series of questions and answers. This helps them take a deeper look at why the event made them think or feel a certain way.
Effects are the result of replacing irrational thoughts with logical, rational beliefs. With practice and time, they will begin to see new behavior patterns form and urges decrease.
The ABCs exercise is used to help your child analyze situations and learn how to modify their thinking and behavioral patterns.
Is Your Child Struggling with Addiction? Get Help Today!
Being a preteen, teen or young adult is difficult enough, but when it when it comes to substance abuse, teens face their own set of challenges. The issues that led to your child to becoming addicted also provide the focus for what to address during rehabilitation. The good news is that the sooner your child embraces recovery, the sooner they will be able to reach their full potential.