Approach & Tools

SMART Recovery’s principals and practices are based on research and clinical experience. Our approach evolves as the science of recovery evolves. SMART Recovery techniques revolve around how to change self-defeating thinking, emotions, and actions and to work towards long-term goals and improve one’s quality of life without relying on addictive behaviors. We do this through a combination of evidence-based techniques from a type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) called Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) and other areas.

Our focus is on self-empowerment and self-reliance. We encourage individuals to recover and live satisfying lives based on their own values and for their own reasons.

At most SMART meetings, a tool or technique will be discussed and participants are encouraged to practice or act on them after the meeting. Worksheets for many of these tools and techniques can be found on the national SMART website.

For more information about SMART Recovery’s approach and tools, you may wish to read some articles and essays provided on SMART’s national website.

SMART Recovery may use some terminology and acronyms that can be unfamiliar at first. To learn more about these terms, please visit the SMART Recovery Dictionary.


“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein