“GET SMART!”… About Recovery

Many of us remember the TV series “Get Smart” from the late sixties (or the movie remake in 2008, featuring actor Steve Carell). The series centers on bumbling secret agent Maxwell Smart, (Don Adams), also known as Agent 86 and his female partner, Agent 99 (Barbara Feldon).

Agents 86 and 99 work for "CONTROL," a secret U.S. government counter-intelligence agency. Maxwell Smart is, assigned by his "Chief" to foil the enemy, “KAOS,” an international organization of evil. The pair investigates and thwarts KAOS’ various threats to the world. Together, they “out smart” KAOS. In the end, Maxwell Smart never fails to save the day… usually, more often than not, with a lot of help from Agent 99.  

[Trivia challenge: “What do "CONTROL" and “KAOS” stand for?” … see the very bottom of this article]

Maxwell Smart used a lot of tricks and tools to beat the odds and “win.” There is a similarity here to another “SMART” program that supports individuals who want to “win.” To win in Recovery!

People who have chosen to abstain, or are considering abstinence from any type of addictive behaviors (substances or activities.) It’s called SMART Recovery (Self Management And Recovery Training). SMART Recovery is a recognized resource for substance abuse and addiction recovery by the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Center for Health Care Evaluation, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

What does SMART Recovery provide in the recovery tool box? First of all, SMART Recovery is a science-based approach to addiction recovery. The program teaches how to change self-defeating thinking and actions; and to work towards long-term satisfactions and quality of life.

Grounded primarily in the psychological tenets of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), SMART Recovery believes that how we “feel and act” is greatly influenced by how we “think.” So, by focusing on changing our maladaptive thinking, we can begin to experience self-empowerment in recovery and live satisfying lives.

SMART Recovery teaches tools and techniques for self-directed change. Its meetings are educational and include open discussions. SMART Recovery advocates the appropriate use of prescribed medications and psychological treatments.

What about other recovery programs? SMART Recovery believes that each individual finds his/her own path to recovery. For some, that way may include 12-step programs, like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), or other abstinence-based self-empowering groups such as Women for Sobriety and LifeRing Secular Recovery.

Although the SMART Recovery approach differs from each of these approaches in various ways, it does not necessarily exclude them. Some SMART Recovery participants choose to attend other programs and meetings in addition to a SMART Recovery meeting, as they construct their own paths to recovery.

SMART Recovery features a four-point program that helps people recover from all types of addictive behaviors, including: drug and alcohol abuse, drug addiction, gambling addiction, cocaine/opiate addiction, and addiction to other substances and activities.

The Four Points are:

  • Point #1: Enhancing and maintaining motivation to abstain
  • Point #2: Coping with urges
  • Point #3: Managing thoughts, feelings and behavior (problem-solving)
  • Point #4: Balancing momentary and enduring satisfactions (lifestyle balance)

The program offers specific tools and techniques for each of the Four Points. Participants are encouraged to learn how to use these SMART Recovery tools and to practice the techniques as they progress toward achieving lifestyle balance and leading a fulfilling and healthy life.

SMART Recovery sponsors face-to-face meetings around the world, and daily online meetings. In addition, SMART Recovery’s online message board and 24/7 chat room are excellent forums to learn about SMART Recovery and obtain addiction recovery support.

The “Get Smart” TV Series left us with many, now-famous, Maxwell Smart catchphrases. Two notorious ones: “Would you Believe…?” and; “Missed it by That Much!”   Anyone who is working or seeking recovery very much wants to “Believe” that lifestyle balance and fulfillment is possible. Don’t miss it “by that much!”

If you haven’t done so yet, check out SMART Recovery. You won’t be “Sorry about that,” Chief!

For more information:

Online: www.SmartRecovery.org

Link to meetings in the South Florida area: http://www.smartrecovery.org/meetings_db/view/

                                                                       or: smartrecoverysouthflorida.com

Link to Online meetings schedule: http://www.smartrecovery.org/meetings/olschedule.htm

General Info Flyer: http://www.smartrecovery.org/resources/generalinfoflyer.pdf

Trivia Challenge: Gotcha!   Ah, the number one myth in Get Smart history. The letters in CONTROL and KAOS do not stand for anything. KAOS and CONTROL were never written as acronyms (K.A.O.S.), as U.N.C.L.E. and S.P.E.C.T.R.E. were. The names were picked because chaos represents evil and the opposite of chaos is control.

Gary Sullivan introduced SMART Recovery to the Fort Lauderdale area in 2007.


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