SMART Recovery for Family & Friends

SMART Recovery for Family & Friends (F&F) is a program that supplies support and tools for people who are affected by the addictive behavior of someone close to them.

Its function is to help participants develop more effective coping strategies and a better sense of fulfillment in their own lives.

The F&F program was adapted from the SMART (Self-Management And Recovery Training) program, and from CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training), a program described in the book, Get Your Loved One Sober: Alternatives to Nagging, Pleading and Threatening.

The SMART Recovery program is a skill-based, self-help program for people struggling with addictions or dependencies of all kinds. As an alternative to 12-Step programs, it uses science-based techniques to equip individuals with the tools and skills necessary to overcome problem behaviors, from addiction to unhelpful responses to someone else's addiction.

CRAFT is an evidence-based program for family members and friends of people with addictions, teaching new ways of interacting with someone who has an addiction, with the goal of increasing the likelihood that this person will seek help and enter recovery.

The F&F program uses the four points of SMART Recovery:
  1. Building and maintaining motivation
  2. Coping with urges
  3. Managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
  4. Living a balanced lifestyle
Maintaining a close relationship with someone who has an addiction can be difficult, frustrating, and often lonely, and the F&F program recognizes this.

Although a significant goal of the program is to enhance the likelihood that the individual with an addiction will seek recovery, the F&F program focuses on the friends or family members of the loved one with an addiction, inviting them to spend time and energy on themselves and their own goals, areas that may have been neglected for too long. This will involve taking a look at some of their habitual responses to their loved one, and examining whether or not these have been truly helpful, as well as providing tools and strategies for making changes.

The SMART Family & Friends program discusses ways in which participants can better look after themselves, even in stressful situations, and establish healthier relationships with their loved one.

Although F&F is, at its core, a self-help program, making changes in life requires a great deal of courage. The F&F program provides a supportive environment, comprised of people sharing similar experiences, and this can lesson the isolation and bring about new hope for the future.

Family members and close friends of people struggling with addiction commonly develop unhelpful habits in response to the addiction. These may include threatening, nagging, or pleading, as well as self-medicating with food or other substances. Personal boundaries may be weak or non-existent.

Unhelpful thought processes leading to anxiety, depression, and anger management issues are often seen, as well. Obsessing over your loved one's addiction can get in the way of your own well-being.

The SMART Family & Friends program offers tools and strategies that may be employed by those who are adversely affected by the addictive behaviors of someone close to them. The program is designed to assist participants in developing more effective coping strategies and find a greater sense of fulfillment in their own lives.

Rather than focusing on the loved one's addiction, the F&F program encourages participants to to concentrate on themselves and their own goals, exploring ways that participants can look after themselves better, even if their loved one is not yet in recovery.

A significant goal of the F&F program is to help you to become independent of your loved one's addiction, while simultaneously helping to establish a better relationship with your loved one, who may or may not yet be in recovery. A better understanding, a healthier attitude, and improved communication skills can put you in a position of being able to more effectively encourage your loved one to seek and maintain recovery.

Our mutual desire is that your loved one will take on the challenge of pursuing their own recovery, and that you will learn ways in which you can improve your own life, regardless.

Currently, SMART Recovery meetings are scheduled at the Pir2Peer Recovery Center, at 1009 Central Street in Millinocket, at 6:00 pm on Mondays. A SMART Family & Friends program has not yet been scheduled, but may be made available if the demand is there.