Young People, Age-Old Problems

Guest blog by Lorie Hammerstrom, SMART Recovery Lead Onsite Trainer

Substance misuse is not a new problem. Neither is being trapped in a cycle of a negative behavior(s) that have to be addressed in order to live a balanced and healthy life. Teens and young adults are no exception when it comes to battling addiction to substances or compulsive behaviors.  

SMART provides teens and young adults the self-empowering, no shame, no blame support they need and deserve. The stigma around addiction and the fear of being judged as powerless and labeled as an addict, alcoholic, etc., often prevents young adults from seeking help. 

Similarly, teens and young adults can feel overwhelmed at the thought of having to attend a recovery support group for “the rest of their life.” The fact that SMART supports participants attending only as long as it’s helpful is attractive. This means they can recover.   

The modern solution that has resonated with teens and young adults is SMART’s peer-support program. It uses a self-empowering approach to addiction recovery with a focus on what it means to people in recovery. Life experiences, points of reference, and ways of relating to others can be significantly different than in a situation where interaction takes place with others who may be 5, 10, even 20 years older. 

We’ve found that the approach that includes similar perspectives and our 4-Point Program® resonate with young adults by providing a relevant context. The 4-Point Program includes tools and exercises that help participants to: 

  1. Build and Maintain Motivation
  2. Cope with Urges
  3. Manage Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors
  4. Live a Balanced Life

Change can be difficult but is not impossible. In order to make changes a person needs motivation.  SMART Recovery tools and exercises can help focus and motivate. SMART’s tools also help to navigate through urges and build coping skills to avoid relapse.  

People often use drugs and alcohol to mask their feelings of low self-worth, negative thoughts, and unhelpful emotions. SMART Recovery helps teens and young people to change their self-talk and learn better ways of dealing with upsets. A balanced life is a life that makes one happy and fulfilled.  SMART Recovery teaches teens and young adults to set goals and find balance in life, clarifying goals and how to reach them.   

Other key points of the SMART Recovery program appeal to teens and young adults as well, including: 

  • Religion-neutral 
  • Tools for all stages of recovery  
  • Topic-based meetings, which encourage discussion with peers 
  • Run by qualified SMART facilitators  
  • You can learn to maintain your sobriety by figuring out what’s important to you, setting goals, and finding healthy interests.  

If you are part of an organization that helps teens and young adults dealing with addiction in an educational or support setting, such as a high school, university, or recovery community organization, SMART will work with you to create a plan that meets your needs. Training options for SMART Meeting Facilitators include your choice of onsite group training (in-person or Zoom) or a convenient self-study online training option for individuals.  

Click here for information about in-person/group training.  

Click here to register for individual training

Let’s work together to benefit young lives! 


SMART Recovery welcomes comments on our blog posts—we enjoy hearing from you! In the interest of maintaining a respectful and safe community atmosphere, we ask that you adhere to the following guidelines when making or responding to others’ comments, regardless of your point of view. Thank you.

  • Be kind in tone and intent.
  • Be respectful in how you respond to opinions that are different than your own.
  • Be brief and limit your comment to a maximum of 500 words.
  • Be careful not to mention specific drug names.
  • Be succinct in your descriptions, graphic details are not necessary.
  • Be focused on the content of the blog post itself.

If you are interested in addiction recovery support, we encourage you to visit the SMART Recovery website.


If you or someone you love is in great distress and considering self-harm, please call 911 for immediate help, or reach out to The National Suicide Prevention Hotline @800-273-8255,

We look forward to you joining the conversation!

*SMART Recovery reserves the right to not publish comments we consider outside our guidelines.*

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