Building Confidence With SMART Recovery®

Posted on November 29, 2011


by Julie Myers, PsyD

Sometimes, when you slip in your recovery, your confidence may slip with you. You may believe that you don’t know how to change your behaviors, that somehow the slip means that you are right back to square one. But is this a rational belief? Have you really forgotten all that you learned? The answer is no.

When you move towards recovery, you begin to change your behaviors, thoughts and emotions, sometimes in subtle ways. You may have some favorite SMART tools to help you, such as the wave (urge surfing), ABCs, or making changes to your lifestyle. Sometimes, when people slip, they forget about these tools or simply stop practicing the tools that were effective to change their behaviors in the beginning.

Here are some suggestions if you find yourself faced with a slip and feel discouraged:

  • Review the SMART tools. Are you still practicing them?
  • Brainstorm by writing down all the things that are going on right now under the headings Thoughts, Behaviors, Emotions. Do you notice a pattern?
  • Begin by using some of the tools that were most effective for you in the past to address some of the issues developed in your brainstorming.
  • Next, add a new tool by looking in your SMART Recovery Handbook or on the tools page of the SMART Recovery website.
  • Finally, be confident that you know how to change your behaviors! Then, write in your journal or post a reply to this blog article about how you managed to regain your footing; it will help you consolidate your confidence.


  • Reprinted with permission:
    Copyright (2011) Julie Myers, PsyD: Psychologist in San Diego. All Rights Reserved


    One thought on “Building Confidence With SMART Recovery®

    1. Bill D.

      I found the SMART program while researching methods of recovery for a college class called Intervention Strategies. During my class I was exposed to the Albert Ellis theory of ABC’s for treating irrational thinking. Because the class embraced nine different therapy models I didn’t have time to fully understand The ABC model. When I discovered SMART and found that it uses tools from Ellis’s R.E.B.T, I joined. Using the SMART program I’ve gained skill in the ABC tool and have used it for my personal growth. While SMART is for addictive behavior recovery, I find I have been able to recover my rational thinking and common sense skills. I’ll add that I am a 19 year recovered alcohol user, my recovery was the result of a CBT based outpatient program. I am a firm believer in science based therapies.

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