Getting help with addiction the SMART Way

At some point in our lives most of us have probably tried to make healthy changes to our lifestyle, and the beginning of a new year often inspires people to give up bad habits. But changing a habit can be hard. 

University can be an exciting time of discovering new hobbies and interests, being away from the normal routine can sometimes lead to developing habits and behaviours that, over time, start to have a more negative impact on life. These can include substances like alcohol or drugs or behaviours like gambling, online shopping, gaming, screen time or porn addiction.

If this is something you’re going through, there’s no need to struggle on your own, we’re here to help you with SMART Recovery.

About SMART Recovery

The University’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Service at UoB is offering the first SMART Recovery programme on campus in the UK.

SMART stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training and is a group programme for anyone who is struggling with addiction, whether that’s substance misuse or behavioural addiction. It’s a practical and science-based group that aims to teach participants key skills in cutting down, stopping, and making changes in their lives to build a healthier routine. It focuses on four specific areas:

  1. Building and maintaining motivation
  2. Tools to cope with urges
  3. Managing Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviours
  4. Building a healthier lifestyle.

Unlike some other recovery or addiction groups, SMART Recovery doesn’t depend upon any spiritual or religious viewpoint. However, members are welcome to engage with other services or mutual-aid groups which they find helpful.

What to expect at a SMART Recovery Group

We know that attending group sessions can feel daunting but at a SMART group session, you will find people who will understand and have experience dealing with these difficulties. The focus of these sessions is on the addictive behaviour and not on the substance itself – nobody will be judged.

Programmes are run by a core team of trained facilitators every Wednesday from 1:30 – 3:00pm in the Beale Room, Aston Webb. The first session of 2023 will take place on Wednesday 1 February - there’s no need to book, just turn up.

Each group session begins with a check-in and a chance for members to feedback how things have been for them – if you’re new and not yet comfortable with opening up or contributing to the meeting then you are welcome to just observe.

Facilitators and members then work together to explore and discuss tools and ideas that might be helpful over the following week. Members are welcome to attend the SMART group every week or just as and when they want to until they feel they no longer require any support. There’s no need to book or sign up for a specific set of sessions.

Getting help with addiction and recovery

For more details about SMART Recovery, check out the SMART Recovery website. More information on UoB’s student SMART Recovery Group sessions can be found on the Your Wellbeing Student Intranet page.

If you’re a student already in recovery and looking for a community of like-minded individuals, then do check out our Better Than Well programme. Better Than Well is a community of recovering students on campus at UoB who support each other in shaping and maintaining an abstinence-based life in higher education through peer support, mutual aid, “sober social” activities and recovery focused groups and meetings.

With so many ways in which we can all find our lives affected by addiction, we hope that any students who may be struggling with any aspect of addictive or problematic behaviour will find the innovative support at UoB helps them make positive changes.


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