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Too Much Drinking After Divorce? Learn about Smart Recovery with Christi Alicea | Ep 40

Have you heard of SMART recovery? What distinguishes SMART recovery from the usual 12-step program? How does SMART recovery prioritize recovery for the individual and the loved ones? In this podcast episode, Dr. Susan Orenstein speaks about Drinking Too Much After Divorce: Learn about SMART Recovery with Christi Alicea.


Christi Alicea is the Assistant Executive Director at SMART Recovery USA. SMART Recovery is a global community of people and families working together to resolve addictive problems.

Prior to joining SMART Recovery, Alicea served as the Mental Health Ombudsman for NAMI Lake County (OH) and participated in several community coalitions, including having served on Lake County Family and Children First Council for 12 years. She has completed an unusually high number of professional training courses—17 in all—including Family-to-Family Facilitation, NAMI Basics, Medical Complications of Addictive Diseases, Mental Health First Aid, Trauma response Team Training, and many more.

Visit the Smart Recovery Website. Connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Connect with Christi on Facebook and LinkedIn.



  • Components of SMART recovery
  • Four points of SMART recovery
  • Distinguishing aspects of SMART recovery

Components of SMART recovery

First of all we are abstinence-oriented. What that means is that we welcome anyone to attend our meetings. (Christi Alicea)

  • No matter which stage of recovery someone is in, whether they are abstaining from their addiction as best they can but still dabbling, or have stopped, they are all welcome to join the meetings.
  • Every person gets a chance to talk at the meetings and is given space.
  • Nobody is told what to do to be welcomed; the group welcomes them where they are at in their journey.

The program at SMART recovery is based on:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Motivational interviewing
  • RMBT: rational motivation behavioral therapy

Four points of SMART recovery

1 – Enhancing and maintaining motivation to change

2 – Coping with urges

3 – Problem-solving: managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors

4 – Lifestyle balance

Distinguishing aspects of SMART recovery

Someone does not attend SMART meetings for a lifetime. They only come for as long as it is beneficial to them and their well-being.

[SMART recovery] does not have a religious component to [its] support. We feel that it doesn’t matter what your take on religion is … it does not matter because it’s just not part of our program. (Christi Alicea)

People do not have to label themselves as being something to be accepted into the program. It is not required for people to call themselves an “addict” to be welcomed in the group.

SMART is welcoming to people who choose to use medication assistance on their recovery journey, as long as the medication has been prescribed by a licensed practitioner.

If a participant has a slip-up and relapses, they are still welcome to go to SMART to address the situation. They are not required to start from the very beginning, and they are still provided support.

SMART Recovery also offers programs for the family and friends of the person going on recovery from their addiction. This program offers:

  • Self-care advice
  • Structures for the future
  • Communication and boundary-setting skills


About your host:

Susan Orenstein, Ph.D.

Dr. Susan Orenstein is a licensed psychologist and relationship expert  with over twenty years of experience. In 2005, she founded Orenstein Solutions, a private counseling practice in North Carolina that serves children, teens, adults and couples. 

She created the After the First Marriage Podcast to support individuals through the significant life transition of divorce. She whole-heartedly believes that “happily ever after” is an option for everyone, and is dedicated to helping divorcées regain the confidence to pursue a fulfilling future after the first marriage. 

Whether you listen to the podcast, join the Facebook community, or follow along on Twitter,  you’re in the right place!

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