Goal: Lifestyle Balance

Posted on February 4, 2014

A fulfilling life is the ultimate goal of addiction recovery

“SMART’s purpose is to help individuals gain independence from
addictive behavior, and in so doing, recover (or develop) a fulfilling life.”

Lifestyle BalanceAs we gain independence from addictive behavior, or help others to do so, we need to remember that there is a greater goal: to live a good life. Recovery from addictive behavior sets the stage for the recovery of satisfactions and pleasures that were not possible while still engaged in addictive behavior.

The fourth point of the SMART® 4-Point Program® concerns lifestyle balance: “to balance momentary and enduring satisfactions.” Addictive behavior provides a momentary satisfaction. As addictive behavior develops, the individual’s time-frame shrinks. The focus is increasingly on obtaining momentary satisfaction. Satisfactions that require time – hobbies, family, work, volunteering – tend to drop out of the individual’s life. But it is getting those satisfactions back, or developing them, that is the culmination of recovery. As it states in the SMART Purposes and Methods statement (which includes the 4-Point Program®):

    “For many sincere participants there will come a time when attending our groups, or participating in our other services, is more in conflict with the pursuit of their life goals than enhancing them. Although these participants will always be welcome back if they want to come, this conflict signals that the time for graduation has arrived.”

These graduating participants have developed full and satisfying lives. They are learning, achieving, making money, helping others, raising children, and doing the myriad other things that self-actualizing individuals do with their lives.

SMART’s purpose is to help individuals gain independence from addictive behavior, and in so doing, recover (or develop) a fulfilling life.

It is a delight to observe the entire process of “recovery from” leading to “recovery of.” Often, of course, that process is a long one that seems at times to move backward as well as forward. There is also no clear endpoint. But there does come a point at which one can feel definitely on the way. If you are there, congratulations! If you are still working on it, it’s worth the effort!

This article was adapted from a previously posted President’s Letter by Dr. Tom Horvath.

7 thoughts on “Goal: Lifestyle Balance

  1. Mark Thornton

    Dear Smart Recovery,

    I would like to know if you provide any help info for gay and bi-sexual men or straight men in a relationship with another straight, gay or bi-sexual man! I thing it would be really helpful in one’s relationships to have someone that understands where you been and why you even went there, especially us you are still in Methadone Maintenance Program! Someone that doesn’t think you are scum of the earth, someone that has chosen to try and live a stable and fulfilling life in a different sort of relationship that is confronted or dealt with in most of our societies! Although it is talked about its seems to be a little rarer than other relationships that recovery programs pay attention to! Any advice or suggestions! Would love to meet someone that has walked down a similar path and will love me for me and not my past addiction! Thank you very much for your time!

    Kind Regards,

    Mark T.

    1. Admin Post author

      Hi Mark,

      Thanks for your post.

      You may wish to check out our online message board (www.smartrecovery.org/community/) where you will find specialized discussion forums, including separate forums for the gay/lesbian/bisexual community and gay men on methamphetamine.

      You are welcome to join the existing conversations there, or start a new


  2. Gary

    Interesting view with the graduating – can you ever graduate from recovery? I like the idea but dont really agree. Good blog though 🙂

    1. Ronda

      I so love the idea of graduating. Never agreed with the 12 step programs labeling people for life. Very defeating. People develop bad habits or engage in reckless behavior sometimes for years at a time. The reasons are endless. However, regardless of how far behind they’ve left the unhealthy lifestyle or behaviors they will always be considered an “addict”.

      On the contrary, a mental health therapist would expect a patient to make advances in their personal growth and eventually no longer require their services. If they weren’t making progress a different approach would be considered until all avenues were exhausted. At that time perhaps a transfer to another therapist would be recommended. The ultimate goal being to eventually graduate the patient as a self-reliant, healthy individual.

      This makes so much more sense to me and feels so much more hopeful! I love this sight and am very thankful to have stumbled onto it. 🙂

      1. Jim F.

        Well put Ronda – I try (without 100% success!) never to label people. I enjoyed your post so much that it’s now printed and attached to my fridge.

        Is that a breach of Copyright ??

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