SMART Recovery is a group approach to recovery that began in 1994. It is similar to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other 12-step groups in that it is a non-profit organization that supports abstinence and offers free (donation requested) meetings. Such groups are called mutual help, self-help, or support groups. The approach to recovery that SMART Recovery offers, however, is rather different than a 12-step approach. Ideally anyone seeking addiction recovery is informed about the existence of SMART Recovery, along with other non-12-step mutual help groups including Women for Sobriety, LifeRing Secular Recovery, Secular Organizations for Recovery, Moderation Management and HAMS. It is important that everyone seeking recovery realizes that choices in recovery approach are available.
In 2013 there were approximately 500 meetings that took place in the U.S. and about 500 international meetings. When the U.S. reaches 5,000 meetings, SMART Recovery will be comparably available to 12-step meetings. A new era of choice in recovery will emerge at that time.
When Practical Recovery clients attend a mutual help group, it is typically SMART Recovery. SMART Recovery holds daily face-to-face meetings in San Diego, and an international website that is active 24/7. Some clients elect to attend 12-step groups, or some combination of groups. Even though the 12-step approach and SMART Recovery have fundamental differences, some clients state that they benefit from both. The typical report is that 12-step provides fellowship and SMART Recovery provides the tools for recovery.
Practical Recovery is a significant supporter of SMART Recovery. Dr. Horvath has been a volunteer for SMART Recovery for over 20 years. He has served as its president for most of the years since it began operating under the name SMART Recovery in 1994. At that time SMART Recovery ended its affiliation with Rational Recovery. Dr. Horvath is also the San Diego Volunteer Advisor, and facilitates 2-3 meetings per month. Other Practical Recovery staff also volunteer to facilitate meetings.