A new self-help recovery program that is the first of its kind in Southwest Florida is being introduced by Southwest Florida Addiction Services for individuals with addictive disorders of all types.
SMART Recovery is the name of the program, which is an acronym for "Self-Management and Recovery Training." Program participants meet each Friday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the SWFAS Outpatient Treatment and Detoxification Center, 3763 Evans Ave., in Fort Myers. There is no charge to participate, although donations will be accepted.
The mutual self-help group helps people recover from all sorts of addiction and addictive behaviors and is not limited to substances such as alcohol and drugs. Those with addictions to gambling, food, the Internet, sexual behaviors and work also are welcome.
Program Facilitator Webster Lyons said SMART Recovery groups exist in England, China and Poland, but this is the first group to be started in Southwest Florida. Lyons underwent five weeks of training to be recognized as a facilitator.
"SMART Recovery is the leading self-empowering addiction recovery support group. Out participants learn tools for recovery based on the latest scientific research and participate in a world-wide community which includes free, self-empowering, science-based mutual help groups," he said.
The SMART Recovery four-point program offers tools and techniques for each point:
1) Enhancing and Maintaining Motivation;
2) Coping With Urges;
3) Managing Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviors; and
4) Living a Balanced Life.
Lyons said the program is unlike traditional approaches to addiction recovery. "It's all about focusing on the addictive behavior itself. Once you discover the underlying issues in your life that are leading to the addictive behavior, then there is no reason to turn to drugs, alcohol, food, gambling or any other activity," he said.
SMART Recovery is a recognized resource for addiction recovery by the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Center for Health Care Evaluation, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
Registration is not required. Those interested in participating can simply come to the meetings on Fridays. For more information about SMART Recovery, visit www.smartrecovery.org.