A Mindful Approach to Addiction Recovery

Posted on June 24, 2014

Self-Management Begins with Intention
-Charles A., SMART Recovery® Facilitator


SMART Recovery is about actively managing your self and directing your actions. What do you intend to actively do today… or ‘NOW’… to manage your addiction recovery?

We have the power of choice, but in order to realize this power, forming intentions and doing the work of changing our thinking and behaviors is required for success… so…

… what’s your intention for self-management today?

Here are some examples (different addiction examples are included here.)

  • Study in my SMART Recovery handbook for 15 minutes
  • Attend a meeting
  • Take my vitamins
  • Work on an item I’ve put off
  • Eat sensibly
  • Respect myself by examining and rating my thoughts and behaviors… instead of self-rating and self-downing
  • Drive home a different way to avoid my old patterns
  • Exercise for 10-15 minutes
  • Drink water instead of soda at lunch
  • Create an urge log
  • Practice unconditional acceptance with myself and others
  • Set a new boundary
  • Do a Cost-Benefit Analysis worksheet
  • Spend 10 minutes reading in the online library, and then practicing what I’ve learned
  • Stay in the NOW, rather than letting my mind drift to the past or the future
  • Make a journal of the ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts) I have each day, and work to dispute them
  • Spend 15 minutes cleaning the kitchen

………… and so forth.

Chart out your intentions in your journal or on an index card. Re-visiting them frequently during the day can help keep you focused on what it is you want to actually DO to realize successful self-management with your recovery. Work to make these the non-negotiable items of your daily activities… the items that will enhance your recovery… and then Push Your *** to make them happen.

So, what are your intentions today?

6 thoughts on “A Mindful Approach to Addiction Recovery

  1. lostara

    Thank God I found SMART. The AA meetings here have a president that sales pills before you go into the meeting. It is very ______ up. SMART can give me the support I need without exposing myself to temptations.

  2. Carolyn

    I like this mindful approach article…I recently left AA after being in a small women’s group for almost 9 months. I liked my group very much and when I began the group I was terrified out of my mind to drink again. I was a big binge drinker for years and immediately after my 2nd DUI I called AA and found a group nearby. During my spare time between weekly meetings I was always on Google looking for anything informative to help me stay sober. I learned alot of helpful things in AA but it became too redundant and repetitive and I was constantly told to rely solely on my higher power. I read alot of articles related to mindfulness meditation before I quit drinking and found mindfulness EXTREMELY useful in everyday life! Awareness of everything in and around you is such a vital part of staying sober and I am happy to see your program discuss mindfulness. I wish there was a SMART support group closer to me. AA has groups everywhere – that’s why the masses head for AA meetings first. Hopefully, SMART will be just as widespread in the near future.

  3. Vonne

    Brilliant article, in my opinion. It’s what I needed to see today, after finally getting to Smartrecovery’s page. I’m getting busy, working hard on my journal! Ty.

  4. Luis

    I’ve been struggling with many facets of addiction. I’m attempting to get sober and do go to AA meetings, etc. However, struggle with the powerless and spirituality (even though I consider myself a spiritual and yes religious individual)that AA fosters. I have self hate towards myself for allowing my addictive behaviors take control of my life and am now paying a hefty price. I am indeed moving on but need a program that builds my self esteem rather than provides me with a sense of helplessness unless I become a part of an entity of codependency which AA embraces.
    Please advise.
    My humble gratitude!

    1. Admin Post author

      Thank you for your comment here, Luis.

      Good to hear that you’re working on recovery and have a local support group.

      Perhaps you might consider attending a few SMART meetings to see if they might be more supportive of your needs at this time. We have daily online meetings and numerous face-to-face meetings around the country. You can find more information at http://www.smartrecovery.org.

      You mention self-hate and that may be an important issue where SMART might be really helpful to you as we promote the concept of self-compassion as opposed to judgment, labels and guilt. It’s a self-empowering program that has helped many people.

      Hope to see you in a meeting!

  5. Susan

    That is one fantastic article on self-management! Thank you! I intend to start forming my “intentions list” right now!

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