Being SMART about recovery


SMART Recovery stands for ‘Self-Management and Recovery Training’.  It is a mutual support meeting where, through open discussion, participants can help each other and themselves with recovery from any type of addictive behaviour. SMART Recovery believes if an individual has chosen to maintain their addictive behaviour there is a possibility they can choose to stop it. 

SMART Recovery uses self-empowering skills to help participants build and maintain motivation; cope with urges; manage thoughts, feelings and behaviours and to live a balanced and healthy life.

SMART Recovery helps participants decide whether they have a problem, builds up their motivation to change and offers a set of proven tools and techniques to support recovery. This is the SMART Recovery 4-point programme:

  • Building and maintaining motivation
  • Coping with urges
  • Managing thoughts, feelings and behaviours
  • Living a balanced life

Meetings happen once a week in the Prisoner Development Unit within HMP Maghaberry. It starts with reading out of the opening statement, to focus and centre participants on the meeting to follow.  A check-in is completed and part of the reason for this check-in is as an ‘ice-breaker’, to give each participant the opportunity to begin contributing and hear what others are bringing to the meeting.  An agenda is set and the group decides on what to discuss as long as it is on the topic of addictive behaviour and falls within the scope of the 4-Point SMART programme.  All meetings are facilitated by Start360 staff trained in SMART Recovery.  

A discussion then takes place and a key feature of this is the use of tools which will aid recovery.  Facilitators will introduce the tools and explain what they are by applying them to real issues that have arisen in the meeting.  A check-out at the end provides closure to the discussion part of the meeting, identifies any critical issues that still need addressing and helps the meeting finish on a constructive note.