New SMART recovery addiction program underway in Glenwood Springs | VailDaily.com

New SMART recovery addiction program underway in Glenwood Springs

Tatiana Flowers
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

A new addiction program called SMART Recovery is underway at Glenwood Springs Library, and the "four point program" focuses on building and maintaining motivation, coping with urges, managing thoughts and behaviors and living a balanced lifestyle, facilitators say.

Program leaders say they utilize a non-confrontational approach when helping people change addictive behaviors.

The acronym "SMART" stands for Self Management and Recovery Training, and program leaders say there's an emphasis on the "self" component.

Jim Coddington III leads SMART Recovery meetings at the Glenwood Springs Library and says the "self" aspect will help those struggling to recognize and understand their own role in their own recovery.

Meetings will be held the second and fourth Wednesday of each month from 7:30 until 8:45 p.m. The first meeting was held Wednesday.

"As common with people in recovery, not one size fits all," said Coddington, who leads the group at Glenwood's library.

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SMART Recovery launched in 1994 and Coddington said facilitators don't consider it a rival to Alcoholics Anonymous or any other recovery program.

Many people will use SMART Recovery in conjunction with Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, he said, or some don't feel a connection to those programs and would prefer something different, he added.

"This is just adding another powerful tool that people can use if they want to recover," he said; "a different type of recovery cuisine, if you will."

Research shows, people are more successful when they're allowed to choose their own recovery method, said Jim Brastaad, the training program manager for SMART Recovery USA.

"However, we believe the power to change addictive behaviors resides within each individual and does not depend upon adherence to any particular spiritual viewpoint," he said in an email.

As such, SMART Recovery respects a person's spiritual or religious beliefs, he said, but does not incorporate those factors into the program. That's what makes it different from programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, for example, Coddington added.

Coddington, who works as a recovery specialist for the 9th Judicial District's Recovery Court, said the experience has reinforced the need for more addiction programs in the area.

Recovery Court is an alternative sentencing program that provides individuals the opportunity to remain in the community while receiving support for addiction, he said.

"I have already gained a sense that there is a lot of interest from local outpatient programs, and word of mouth from professionals and clients that I work with," Coddington said.

"I think it's been needed in this location and many others for a substantial period of time." The nearest SMART Recovery meeting is in Longmont, he said, almost 190 miles away.

'Complex Behavior'

Coddington works locally as a clinician, mostly with men and women who are recovering from addiction.

He said a client who was dissatisfied with Alcoholics Anonymous first introduced him to SMART Recovery and he quickly became interested.

"In my experience in running sober living homes, I continually explore additional resources because it's such a complex behavior that we're dealing with," he said.

"And I'm the kind of person (where) if I hear about a program that's working, I'll explore that program and see what kind of benefits I think are valued in that program. I'll do my own assessment," he said.

Coddington, who's recovering from alcohol addiction, said he's able to provide an insider's perspective during meetings.

He said people experiencing addiction will sometimes isolate themselves or surround themselves with people who aren't supportive.

Someone new to recovery can experience a void when they give up their "behavior," which can cause urges, a point he addresses in meetings, he said.

"It's important to have other people who understand the insanity of what addiction looks like," he said.

"It may not make sense to other people," he added.

Coddington, almost 18 and a half years sober, said that after a while the recovery journey "evolves into more positive reasons to stay sober."

"The beauty he's seeing" is that as his clients heal and implement SMART Recovery's tools, they form more supportive bonds with their friends and families.

With time, recovery becomes contagious, he said.

He specifically mentions a group that's "thriving" under his leadership and he said the camaraderie and support they give to each other is something they didn't have before recovery.

"Deep down inside we are social beings," he said.

"So people do want people back in their lives. They may not be showing it, but they do," he said.

He reiterated this program isn't only for people struggling with addiction.

He said others who aren't experiencing addictive behaviors can utilize SMART Recovery's tools to lead a more balanced lifestyle.

"What person hasn't gotten an extra dessert or just laid on the couch," he asked.

"All of us do it to one degree or another. It's a matter of learning from that and building off successes," he said.