Giving people the tools to take control of addictive behaviours is the foundation of a free community program being delivered in Newcastle.
SMART Recovery Australia and Mission Australia want to spread the word that help is available for people struggling with addiction, such as dependence on alcohol, drugs or gambling.
Lee Sanders is Mission Australia Newcastle’s SMART Recovery facilitator and said the program had been running in Newcastle for the past year and gave individuals practical tools to support them in recovery.
“SMART Recovery is about any addiction, the groups are varied,” Mr Sanders said.
SMART Recovery “focuses on evidence-based practices”, putting the emphasis on people’s thinking and behaviour and offering practical solutions for “here and now”.
“We look at not so much the substance so much as the behaviour and the beliefs behind the behaviour … the whole foundation of cognitive behaviour therapy is if you have different thoughts you have different outcomes,” Mr Sanders said.
The program runs weekly at Mission Australia’s Newcastle West facility with people able to just turn up and attend the group indefinitely.
“I’ve had some really good, positive outcomes with clients,” Mr Sanders said.
“I think with SMART recovery it’s good because it gives them practical tools that they can use and that’s what cognitive behaviour therapy is really about … it’s about leaving with a plan.”
Knowing where to seek help for addictive behaviours as well as the cost of some programs can prove “a huge barrier”.
“Having programs that are available like SMART recovery and the various anonymous groups support the community and are necessary,” Mr Sanders said.
“There are some great services available that people can access and get tools to support their lives and meet people who are struggling with the same things.
“It’s just so necessary to have something available to people who can access services where it’s not going to cost them anything.”
The SMART Recovery group meets at Mission Australia Newcastle (1/239 King Street) Mondays at 11am. More information: 02 4033 4941 or smartrecoveryaustralia.com.au.