I’m Not Telling You It Is Going To Be Easy, I’m Telling You It’s Going To Be Worth It.
Welcome to Smart Recovery Southport
If you are having a look at this website, then it’s likely you are at least contemplating starting your Recovery Journey or you might be supporting a family member/friend or even attending a SMART Recovery Meeting.
The thought of attending a mutual support group for the first time in your life is likely to instigate a mixture of emotions such as excitement, anticipation, anxiety and fear. That’s perfectly normal and not something to worry about too much. Once you have completed this guide, we hope the positive emotions that arise through anticipation outweigh the negative.
I have been in recovery for four years, so I know exactly how you might be feeling right now as you contemplate attending a mutual support group for the first time.
But rest assure that experiencing these mixed emotions is well worth it in the end because SMART Recovery will arm you with many strategies that serve to strengthen your recovery. You will also meet many incredible people who serve as wonderful role models for all those who are new to the group.
Smart Recovery Southport is a resource for adults experiencing challenges in one or more important areas of life. It provides you with knowledge, information, and other tools to improve the quality of your life.
Every one of us faces challenges in life - it is just part of being a person. How we handle these challenges can make a big difference in whether we move forward, move backward, or just stay stuck.
Each day, all of us are trying to stay mentally and physically well. This can be difficult when we are dealing with challenges such as mental health, substance use, and related physical health concerns.
It is very common for people who are dealing with mental health problems to use substances such as prescribed, over-the-counter, legal, and illegal drugs, attempting to make these mental health problems better. Experience shows us that this usually doesn’t work.
It is also very common for people to use prescribed, over-the-counter, legal, and illegal drugs in a way that may harm their mental health.
Through Smart Recovery Southport, you may learn more about how your mental health and substance use are related. The more you know about mental health and the more you know about substance use, the more likely you will be to make decisions that work for you.
Handouts are about getting information and knowledge about mental health and substance use. They are about learning how to deal with these challenges, even the ones that seem so hard to change. People who have knowledge and information are enabled to make decisions that work. In other words, knowledge is POWER.
RECOVERY: This word is often used to mean overcoming drug and alcohol problems.
RECOVERY: can also be used to describe what happens to people who overcome mental health problems. The term Personal Recovery can mean recovery from mental health or substance use problems.
As human beings, we are all involved in managing our mental and physical wellbeing. Handling stress, solving problems, getting along with others, coping with disappointments, and keeping a balanced life are part of everyone’s day-to-day challenges.
It’s important that we don’t spend too much time and energy managing our mental health, substance use, and physical health problems. If we do, then there is not much time and energy left to accomplish goals and enjoy life.
A person’s mental health and substance use could become the centre of his/her life. A person may forget that he or she is a person with goals, values, strengths, needs, dreams, desires, and talents. Instead, a person may think of him or herself as a mentally ill person or substance abuser first and foremost. In Smartlife Sefton the focus is on you as a complete person first and foremost.
Sometimes, the healthcare system may focus too much on a person’s mental health or substance use problems and not pay enough attention to the person’s strengths and goals.
Many of the topics are based on research findings. These findings show that learning about these topics and applying what is learned can make a difference in lives.
"Smart Recovery Southport values, recommends and actively promotes all parts of the SMART Recovery 4-Point Programme however; we are not part of UK SMART Recovery or the SMART Recovery Organisation and have no business connection with either entity.
What is SMART Recovery?
SMART Recovery is a nonprofit, science-based programme that helps people recover from Addictive Behaviours. SMART Recovery started in the USA in 1994. SMART stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training and emphasises "self" - your role in your own recovery.
Whether your Addictive Behaviour involves Substances - Alcohol, Smoking, or Drugs – Or Behaviours - Gambling, Sex, Eating, Shopping or Self-Harm - SMART can help. We understand the work ahead of you. No matter what your Addictive Behaviour, you're not alone.
How SMART Works
SMART Recovery runs an international network of mutual support meetings and supplies materials to help people in their recovery journeys.
1. We help you look at your behaviours so you can decide what problems need your attention. We also help you stay motivated if you make the decision to change.
2. If you feel you need to engage with an addiction treatment service or work with a therapist to support your recovery, we encourage you to do that. You could use SMART Recovery alongside this support and for some people SMART alone may be sufficient.
3. We encourage you to attend SMART meetings (Southport Meetings will restart ASAP when we can socialise again). Interacting with others in recovery will help you understand you're not alone as you struggle with the challenges of recovery. At the same time, you're helping others. Many of us who have walked the path of recovery have found great strength in the heartfelt words of others overcoming similar issues. If you choose to pursue recovery without attending meetings, we're still here to help.
SMART Recovery uses techniques from Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), and Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET), amongst others. Our organisation helps you apply these techniques to your recovery, as guided by our 4-PointProgramme®.
There is no lifetime commitment to the programme. Many find that participating in SMART after they recover helps them avoid relapses. Some volunteer to facilitate SMART meetings or lend their talents and skills in other ways. Others simply continue to attend meetings to share their experiences with people new to SMART, like you.
We focus on the here and now - and on what you want for your future - rather than the past.
We discourage the use of labels such as "addicts," "alcoholics," "druggies," "over-eaters," etc. because we believe they can be self-defeating and fuel addictive behaviours. Instead, we focus on behaviours and how to change them.
Addictive behaviours can arise from both substance use (psychoactive substances including alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, food, illicit drugs, and prescribed medications) and activities (gambling, sex, eating, shopping, relationships, exercise, etc.). Most of us experience an addictive behaviour to some degree in our lives. It is possible to have more than one, either at the same time or they overcome one only to find themselves dealing with another one later.
It's important to remember as you begin your journey that there is not a single "right" way to recovery. We all do it a little bit differently.
The 4-Point Programme
The 4-Point Programme is the heart of SMART. Each point provides you with tools, techniques, and strategies that can help you on your journey. Many of these tools and techniques are skills you can use after you have fully recovered to help you deal with future problems and achieve more satisfaction and balance in your life.
These points are not steps. For some people, they are sequential, for others they are not. For example, some people come to SMART when they are coping with urges, having built their motivation on their own.
The Four Points Are:
1 - Building and Maintaining Motivation
2 - Coping with Urges
3 - Managing Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviours
4 - Living a Balanced Life
How Can We Help?
Smart Recovery is not a membership-based organisation so there's nothing to join. We do no charge for the support we provide to people in recovery and you are invited to drop by and see whether SMART is for you.
SMART Recovery Meetings
Our meetings are designed to deal with the pressing needs of participants. Most of our meetings are 'peer led', by facilitators who have personal experience ofa ddictive behaviour.
ALL FACE TO FACE MEETINGS POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE - Online meetings
There are many reasons why people attend SMART Recovery online meetings instead of or as well as face-to-face meetings, such as living a long way from face to face meetings, preferring the anonymity or have difficulties leaving their homes.
The meetings use our voice chat system, which means you can talk and listen to other people in the meeting using microphone / headsets. This system can also use 'text' and some people listen to the meeting and take part by typing.
We have an online discussion forum, text chat and — if you wish — social networking to keep in touch with your SMART Recovery community. Click the community menu on the website and register on the site to take part. If you 'friend' people on the site, they can see your status updates — it works a little like Facebook but more private.
We provide a one hour introduction to SMART Recovery course that is available to anyone who registers with the online community site. We also have more intensive training for people who want to learn more and perhaps become a Facilitator.
What To Expect In A SMART Recovery Meeting
SMART Recovery meetings provide you with mutual support from others, just like you, who understand the difficulties you may be facing. When trapped in an addictive behaviour, it is possible to become isolated and you may be thinking that no one else understands what you are going through. At a SMART Recovery meeting, you will find people who will understand and have experience and success in dealing with these difficulties.
Our meetings follow a standard structure and they usually last for 90 minutes. New participants are welcome to just observe if they are not yet comfortable discussing their own issues or contributing to the meeting.
Some groups may have a half-hour pre-meeting time to introduce the programme to newcomers, answer questions, etc. This time can also be used by members to get to know each other which can help less vocal members to become more comfortable with talking in the meeting discussion.
Welcome and Opening Statement
The Opening Statement is usually read by the group facilitator or another group member. It explains what SMART Recovery is. The facilitator can also explain how the meeting runs and the meeting rules to new people coming to their first meeting.
One-by-one, the members of the group talk about what has happened with their recovery since the last meeting or over the last week. Their check in could be on what success they have had or challenges they have faced or might be facing. Check-In should be short with any big problems or complicated issues being put on the meeting agenda for the meeting discussion.
Newcomers are told in the Opening Statement that they are free to just listen and can just say, "I'll pass" when it comes to their turn to check-in.
The group Facilitator asks the group for things they might want to talk about or look at, and they can be put on the agenda along with any issues that came up at the Check-In. The group then decides on, clarifies and agrees on a Meeting Agenda.
The Facilitator will introduce each topic agreed upon during Agenda Setting. Often this will be an opportunity for a participant to explore an issue and others in the group to help them, using SMART Tools, find a way forwards. At other times, we might have a discussion on a particular topic.
Participants are discouraged from long 'war stories' or going over the bad things that have happened in the past. The focus is on the here and now and making better choices for the future.
The group facilitator explains why donations are asked for (to cover room hire and material costs), and the piggybank called Toby is in the room ready to be fed.
Each person has the opportunity for a final comment, perhaps about what they liked or found helpful about the meeting; or what they plan to do in the next week to help them with their recovery.
Some meetings will have time afterwards for informal social time and this can be an important step in building the participants networks of support.
Meeting Ground Rules
These are the 'Ground Rules' of the SMART Recovery meeting.
• Take responsibility for your own decisions and behaviour and allow others to be responsible for theirs.
• Respect confidentiality.
• Avoid side conversations and stay focused on the group.
• Do not label others or use offensive language or behaviour.
• Keep the focus on how to abstain.
• Use the SMART Recovery program.
• Seek professional help on issues not appropriate for the meeting.
Some meetings may have additional rules, such as not attending under the influence or after a given time.
Pick and Mix Your Recovery Journey
While SMART Recovery can help you as a stand-alone programme, it also can work alongside professional treatment or therapy. If you're already in addictions treatment or working with a counsellor, psychologist, or psychiatrist - SMART can help you practice the changes in behaviour you seek and build up a support network that can help you long after you move on from professional support. You are welcome at SMART Recovery, whether you are in treatment or not. You are welcome to use our meetings and attend other groups, such as AA or NA. Do what feels right for you and don't let others dictate what helps your recovery.
SMART Recovery groups are very structured and many people find that they also want some more informal 'peer support' or a wider recovery network. This is great and we are increasingly seeing SMART Meetings sit both within and alongside these recovery communities, such as Recovery Cafes and service user groups. The key thing here is choice.
We suggest that people seeking help with an Addictive Behaviour try out several alternatives and give each a go to find what works best for them - What we do know is that a lot of people find SMART Recovery helpful and come back for more.
To Be Updated