SMART Recovery-Informed Addiction Interventions

Addiction Intervention Alternatives

If it were easy for someone addicted to drugs or alcohol to get treatment on their own and become sober, there would be no need for interventions.

However, because of the powerful nature of addiction, people become wrapped up like the prey of a spider, tightly bound in layers of silk and paralyzed to escape.

Like prey waiting for death, a person who has the compulsion to continually use or abuse alcohol and drugs risks the destruction of their life…if they don’t get help. Oftentimes, a person needs someone to come along and break those binding webs through an intervention.

“The family system is a more powerful force than the addiction itself and has great potential for overcoming or sustaining the alcoholism.”

Addiction Intervention Alternatives

When it becomes apparent that a loved one needs an intervention, he or she will often have reservations about entering rehab right after. An individual with a drug or alcohol problem resists going to treatment for many reasons.

One of the most commonly cited reasons is the individual’s preconceived negative impressions of what rehab is. Images of the traditional 12-step program and AA/NA have dominated many peoples’ visions of what recovery looks like.

Frankly, many people don’t subscribe to some of the fundamental principles exemplified in the AA program. Therefore, the whole idea of rehabilitation is tainted in their eyes and often rejected outright.

Family members and friends may struggle to get through to their loved one about drug and alcohol abuse. This is why it’s important to show them how different recovery can look than what they may have pictured. At this point, it can be beneficial to show them how treatment works in SMART Recovery® and the underlying principles of CRAFT, which we’ll get to in a moment.

SMART Recovery is a science-based program used at Elevate Addiction Services and treatment facilities around the country to successfully help people achieve sobriety through compassion and motivation.

Alternatives To 12-Step Interventions

Twelve-step approaches are not the only options available to someone looking for recovery. Elevate Addiction Services offers alternatives to AA with our non-religious treatment programs. We implement the SMART Recovery approach, a unique program that many people find works better for them than AA, NA or 12-step programs.

When the idea of a non-religious, scientifically-based program makes sense to someone struggling with addiction, then they can find hope in beating addiction and gain the motivation necessary to enter rehab.

How Do You Convince a Drug Addict to Go to Rehab?

Nagging, threatening and pleading rarely work. A more compassionate and effective approach is to do a non-religious-based drug and alcohol intervention using positive communication.

An individual caught in the web of addiction will likely have answers and reasons as to why they don’t want to go to rehab and why they don’t need it. This is the perfect time to introduce them to the alternative, SMART Recovery treatment, as an antidote to excuses.

Having this antidote will increase the likelihood of your loved one accepting treatment, and possibly even excite him or her about the promise of a relatable and beneficial recovery program.

This type of non-religious drug and alcohol intervention model is called CRAFT.


Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) is an addiction intervention alternative that is non-confrontational; instead, it is motivational. CRAFT has a success rate of getting people into rehab 3 times as often as traditional intervention methods.

Additionally, this motivational intervention approach leads to a lower percentage of relapse down the road.

Concerned significant others (such as family members, friends, spouses, etc.) learn how to motivate loved ones to change. They do this simply by rewarding sober activities and discouraging activities that involve drugs and alcohol.

What Is SMART Recovery®?

SMART stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training.

SMART Recovery is a nationwide, free program offering education on addiction and teaching empowering principles on overcoming addictions. The program teaches independence from any type of addiction and offers guidance and support groups.

The guiding premise of SMART Recovery encompasses teaching these four main points:

  1. Enhancing and maintaining motivation to abstain
  2. Coping with urges
  3. Managing thoughts, feelings and behaviors
  4. Balancing momentary and enduring satisfactions

Next Steps

Knowing there are alternatives to traditional 12-step programs can be eye-opening for the person addicted to drugs or alcohol. A science-based, empowering approach to recovery makes sense to many people who are struggling. It also offers hope at the perfect moment: intervention. Hope and motivation are powerful tools for recovery.

If you or a loved one is put off by the traditional 12-step programs out there, turn to Elevate Addiction Services in Northern California. We invite you to learn more about how we utilize SMART Recovery in our non-12-step rehab program and how we can help families with the intervention process before enrolling a loved one in the Elevate inpatient program.

This page does not provide medical advice

Written by Elevate Addiction Services | ©2020 Elevate Addiction Services | All Rights Reserved

Medically Reviewed by

Alok Krishna, MD

December 2, 2020

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