As the approaches to addiction treatment evolve, new methods of connecting with those struggling with addiction have begun to surface. There are numerous forms of addiction treatment available that vary depending on individuals’ needs. Changes in technology have contributed to the evolution of client care with numerous resources becoming available through smartphone apps and online sites such as SMART Recovery.
Depending the severity of addiction, lifestyle needs, or financial resources, not everyone will need the intensity of inpatient care. For some, the structure of outpatient treatment is more suitable for their recovery. There are numerous resources that can help people manage their sobriety independently. One of these options is “SMART” (Self-Management and Recovery Training), a recovery tool that now offers an online meeting and chat platform designed to connect people in recovery to others all over the world.
What is SMART Recovery Live?
SMART Recovery Live has numerous features built into its website that allow those in recovery to stay connected to the sober community. Through online forums, chats, and journals, members can access support at any time. The community is not geared toward providing resources for a specific type of addiction. SMART Recovery provides numerous resources to those struggling with all types of addictions or addictive behaviors. These include drug addiction, alcohol abuse, gambling addiction, or other addictive behaviors that interfere with everyday life. SMART’s daily online meetings, 24/7 forum, chat features allow people to stay connected and receive help at all hours. It also offers face-to-face meetings around the world.
How is it different?
SMART functions a bit differently from traditional treatment programs because it encourages members to become self-reliant and take control of their recovery. It provides resources for members to become meeting facilitators through online training sessions and downloadable meeting facilitator manuals. With this format, members are encouraged to become self-empowered and self-reliant. They learn to help others and themselves through sobriety management and recovery.
Smart Recovery Online Meetings
SMART Recovery Live offers several meetings each day that focus on different topics. They are offered in text and voice formats depending on member preferences. Members also have the option of journaling or speaking on message boards to connect with others. Message boards are categorized to address specific topics, ensuring posts are relevant and related in a way that allows for discussion. Journaling allows members to share their thoughts, experiences, and feelings with the community in a more personalized manner. Members can send and receive feedback on journal entries and have the opportunity to join group journals.
Does it work?
Everyone has different needs in recovery, and approaches to treatment will have varying degrees of effectiveness from person to person. While studies show that long-term residential treatment is the most effective method of achieving and maintaining sobriety, other forms of treatment can be effective in their own way. Depending on what stage of recovery a person is in, the severity of their addiction, and their individual needs, online resources can be an affordable alternative to other more intensive programs.
The benefits of an online recovery community are largely based on its ability to provide more flexibility. Members can continue to manage their everyday responsibilities, employment, and family matters while still making time to access recovery resources. This can be beneficial but does require the person to be self-motivated, disciplined, and able to resist triggers or stressors to some degree. The success of inpatient treatment is often due to the fact that it removes people from enabling peers and environments while forcing them to focus solely on their recovery for an extended period of time. While online resources are convenient, people who use them are more likely to be exposed to stressors, triggers, and enablers that can threaten their sobriety. For this reason, using online resources for recovery management is best suited for a person who is further into recovery or someone that wants to stay connected with a community following completion of treatment.
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