Using Goal Setting to Break the Cycle of Addiction

Break the Cycle of Addiction - Freedom From Addiction

Research has found that an individual is more likely to be motivated and successful in their recovery efforts by setting goals. Setting specific and realistic goals helps increase chances of success in any undertaking. One such way to do that is by using the SMART criteria. SMART is an acronym that stands for:

  • S – Specific
  • M – Measurable
  • A – Achievable
  • R – Relevant
  • T – Time Sensitive

SMART Recovery

The SMART Recovery program (Self-Management and Recovery Training) is a four point self-help program to help those struggling with substance use disorder. It is the most popular alternative to the 12-step programs and aims to teach practical skills for living a substance-free balanced and healthy life.

SMART aims to be a self-empowering program that helps people manage their cravings and urges by focusing on underlying thoughts and feelings. The four points can be worked on in any order and include:

  1. Point 1 – Building and Maintaining Motivation
  2. Point 2 – Coping with Urges
  3. Point 3 – Managing Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors
  4. Point 4 – Living a Balanced Life

According to their website, some of the benefits of the Smart Recovery approach include:

  • Learning self-empowerment and self-reliance
  • Being encouraged to recover and live a satisfying life.
  • Learning tools and techniques for self-directed change.
  • Being a part of an educational and open community.
  • Learning appropriate use of prescribed medications and psychological treatments.

Making SMART Choices

Making smart choices is essential to recovery. While using drugs or alcohol, most individuals do not make rational and well thought-out decisions and choices. When sober, we are more likely to make good decisions for ourselves and our recovery.

There are many potential treatment options for substance abuse disorder and adjuncts to treatment. Each person’s needs will differ and will be individually based. While having more choices is a positive thing, it is up to the individual to pick what fits and works best for them, while keeping in mind that none of these self-help groups are a replacement for psychotherapy, especially for those with more severe substance abuse issues.

If you or someone you know is experiencing addiction, developing an adequate treatment plan is essential to achieve recovery. A free service like Freedom From Addiction can be of help to explore the different treatment options available. For 24/7 assistance, call 1.855.RECOVER or 1.855.732.6837.


Dr. Rachel Needle has specialized training in the area of substance use disorders. She is a professional consultant to substance abuse facilities and assists them in expanding and enhancing clinical programming. Dr. Needle also does expert training on the topic of substance abuse, mental illness, and sexual health for staff members at residential and outpatient facilities that specialize in alcohol and substance use disorders. 

| Facebook: Dr. Rachel Twitter: @DrRachelNeedle

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