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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Self-Help Network, Inc., d.b.a. SMART Recovery

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Human Service Organizations, Human Services, Mental Health, Substance Abuse Dependency, Prevention & Treatment

Mission:  

To offer no-fee, self-empowering, science-based, face-to-face and online support groups for abstaining from any substance or activity addiction.


Target demographics: anyone looking for help with addiction and addictive behaviors.

Direct beneficiaries per year: the attendees of over 2,000 free weekly meetings.

Geographic areas served: in the United States and many countries around the world.

Programs: over 2,000 weekly meeting and SMART Recovery publications available via the SMART Recovery bookstore.

Community Stories

37 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SMART Recovery was instrumental in my recovery from alcohol. I am so grateful to this program. Now, 26 months alcohol free, I volunteer to facilitate online meetings and Face To Face meetings. My online volunteer name is RebornMe.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Sometimes recovery is a matter of life and death. As a Concerned Significant Other of someone struggling with SUD, I needed to respond to my loved one in a way that kept him close and made sobriety more attractive than substance use. Learning SMART taught me self-care, positive communication and boundary setting, which have been key in addressing this complex medical condition. With practice, we are now in a collaborative relationship that is seeing more and more success. I appreciated SMART Recovery so much I became a facilitator in order to bring these evidence-based solutions to others, as well as, reinforce my own positive responses. My loved one is now building a live he is proud of and our family is closer than ever. I am truly grateful to the founders of SMART Recovery, who knew people needed options. I am thankful to the central office staff, the many volunteers and all the participants who teach us to do better with this complex issue.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When we discovered our loved one was addicted to opiates, we couldn’t believe it. No way could that happen in our beautiful family. Naturally, our loved one’s attempt to finance and manage such a compulsion was beyond our family’s usual pragmatic approach to a problem. Fortunately, we were referred to a premier addiction therapy group in NYC that counseled families as well. It was there we learned CRAFT, or Community Reinforcement and Family Training, a science-backed non-confrontational nonjudgmental approach. CRAFT teaches concerned significant others how to help their loved one feel listened to, empowered and supported. Repeated studies show CRAFT is far more successful than 12-step programs or traditional interventions to motivate a person with an addiction to seek help. SMART Recovery includes CRAFT in their Family & Friends program.

When I was ready to end family therapy, I asked my therapist when they might bring their practice to my suburban community. Her response came in the form of a suggestion, “Why don’t you become a SMART Recovery facilitator?” Because of the success our family enjoyed, I knew my CRAFT experience could help others, so I signed up for the distance training. For two years now I have been helping families learn more helpful ways to respond to their loved one. It has been astonishing to watch SMART Family & Friends participants employ compassion, let go of fears for the sake of improving their relationship with their suffering loved one and become their greatest ally.

SMART Recovery has been helping people gain independence from addictive behavior for nearly 25 years. Rapidly growing solution-oriented meetings, whether online or face-to-face, are self-empowering and always FREE. www.smartrecovery.org is a rich website with forums, podcasts, videos, articles, tools and a 24-hour chat room.

SMART Recovery offers distance training for both regular and family & friends facilitators. Best of all, the SMART Recovery program goes beyond participant driven altruism with an international advisory board that includes addiction professionals who advance the program in pace with current addiction science.

The science is here! Old thinking of powerless and defective character is falling away. SMART Recovery’s “Power Of Choice” is gaining its rightful place in addiction recovery and I am beyond grateful to be a beneficiary of this exemplary science-based program.

Kerstyn Van S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I had struggled with my addiction for over a decade, and for the last couple years of it I knew I had wanted to change, I was tired of the constant struggle. For the first couple years I could get some clean time in here and there, a few weeks up to a few months but I was the living definition of 'dry drunk'. I was miserable, unhappy and couldn't understand why I was even bothering with sobriety, and I always went back. Once I found SMART and became a regular participant everything changed. It was literally almost as if a switch was hit. I was meeting other like minded people and building a network of support, I finally had the tools to help me get past the hurdles I had been struggling with for so long. Once I took the facilitators training and start facillitating and getting more Involved, my life only continued to get better. I truly belonged some where, and it was to a group of individuals who truly empowered one another to be the best versions of themselves. SMART recovery saved my life, it gave my son his mother back, and my family their daughter and sister back. I tell every person I meet in my journey about SMART, and every person I tell about it, loves the concept and is so excited to hear that a program like this exists. No words can even begin to explain my gratitude for this program!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Over a year ago I decided to quit drinking and found it quite difficult. After a month of working on my own, I sought out some help and found SMART Recovery. Their 4-Point program seemed to cover all the bases, and their empowering, science-based approach was deeply appealing. A year later, I can attest to the efficacy of the program and the value of the organization. It is run almost entirely by volunteers -- mostly non-professionals -- who undergo training in the organization's principles, tools and methods. SMART's mutual self help approach can work whatever the addictive behavior one is trying to change. SMART empowers individuals to free themselves from addictive behaviors and regain a rewarding life. Does it work? It certainly did for me and countless others.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

SMART Recovery is an amazing organization that focuses on the specific needs of individuals rather than treating everyone the same. Its science-first approach has helped innumerable individuals to recovery from addictive behaviors.

Wendell S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started with SMART Recovery in the Fall of 2015 when I was dealing with my own substance dependencies. The organization has changed my life by providing evidence based cognitive solutions that helped me through the hardest part of my recovery.

I have since .taken the facilitator training and currently facilitate a meeting in Lenexa Kansas.
Wendell

Rob F.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I recognized and accepted my sex-related addiction in March 2015 (2 1/2 years ago), I started looking for resources to help in my recovery. I knew that in addition to a good therapist, I would need at least one good group. For various reasons, the 12-step approach didn't appeal to me, so I looked for alternatives, and ended up finding SMART Recovery.

From the website (http://www.smartrecovery.org/), I learned that SMART emphasizes personal choice and empowerment, and uses a rational thought-based approach toward recovery, backed by scientific research and updating as new research and discoveries are made. On the site I also found a lot of information about the organization, detailed information about the program (including "how-to" pages), and an amazing amount of reading material about addiction and recovery in general.

For a science-minded person like me, who'd always thought he was very logical and rational but was mystified and frustrated at how illogical, irrational, and powerless this addiction had made me, it seemed like a great fit. The only catch was that even though the site talked about addiction in general, the materials seemed to focus an awful lot on substance addiction (primarily drinking). Would I fit in?

More importantly, would I be welcome? At the time, I had a tremendous amount of shame - more than most people with addictions because mine was ... you know ... SEX!

I walked into that first meeting very tentatively, but resolved to stay. The facilitators recognized that I was new and made me feel very welcome, as did the people I sat next to. At the start of the meeting, there was a "check-in" - people saying their name, why they were there, and a little bit about what was going on with them at the time. My turn came, and I looked down at the table, with a knot in my gut, and said "Hi, I'm Rob. I'm a sex addict. This is my first meeting." and talked a bit about how I'd come to be there ...

From around the table came a chorus of "Welcomes" and "We're glad you found us"s and so on. The facilitator said "Thank you for sharing - if it's OK, we'd like to come back to you after check-in and hear more about your story."

I've been going back to that meeting, 1 or 2 times per week, ever since.

I have learned that I am not an addict - I *have* an addiction.

I have learned to use numerous tools (thought/writing exercises) to help me motivate myself to change, to deal with challenging urges, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and to live a balanced life. I use these tools every day, not only in relation to my addiction, but in other areas of my life.

I have learned to stop using self-defeating and self-limiting language and instead use language that reinforces my power of choice in my life.

I have learned to notice when I am thinking in irrational ways and how to challenge that thinking and turn it into rational thoughts.

I have learned how to safely be vulnerable.

I have learned how to get back up when I fall.

I have found a community of people who are genuine, honest, and caring, and made some very good friends.

I have stayed sober/clean/unusing/whatever term you want.

I'm not going to say that SMART Recovery did this for me or to me, because that's not the case. *I* did this. But I did it in large part *because* of SMART Recovery, because of what I learned through SMART Recovery.

One final note. SMART Recovery meetings are facilitated by volunteers, not medical professionals. Many facilitators are people people like myself who have gone through recovery. I have such respect for this organization and gratitude for what it has helped me to do that this summer I decided to take the online training class to become a facilitator. I am proud to have done so and to be able to give something back to this incredible organization.

Disclosure: The form I'm filling out asks me to choose a role. I chose "Client Served" because almost all of my time involved with SMART Recovery has been as a client; I have only been a facilitator (i.e. volunteer) for about a month.

Client Served

Rating: 5

SMART changed my life - rather than simply helped me move away from unhelpful behaviour, it gave me tools and fresh eyes to look at the influences I was CHOOSING to have in my life.
I developed the skills to respond more helpfully and have higher discomfort and frustration tolerance.
A wonderful place filled with highly supportive individuals, wonderful tools, techniques and mindsets.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

SMART Recovery offers highly-trained volunteers who facilitate robust peer recovery groups. It seems to be a very well-structured organization. It is dedicated to recovery from addictive behavior and rigorous about using scientific- and evidence-based programming. It gives a great "bang" for the "buck," which is simply a request for donations. The founder and the Board of Directors are passionate about altruism and quality control. Free recovery tools and podcasts are offered on line. There seems to be total transparency about the organization's goals and methods. Members seems to be engaged and seem to have fun while recovering from some very serious addictive behaviors.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

SMART Recovery provided me with a viable, science-based method for the help I needed. I was so happy with them, I became a volunteer. They're extremely supportive of the people they help and their volunteers.

Dennis S R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been involved with Smart Recovery since June 2016, first as a garden variety member
and now an online volunteer. This program has changed my thinking and approach to
ridding myself of unwanted behaviors in an extraordinary way. A wonderful non-profit
organization dedicated to helping people make choices in their life.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This non-profit is leading the way in modern substance use self help groups. They are inclusive, knowledgable and are poised to overtake 12 step programs during our lifetime with the proper support.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This is a dedicated group of individuals providing a viable self-help resource for people who are attempting to overcome self-defeating behaviors including alcohol, drugs, gambling, spending, sex, etc.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I personally gravitated to SMART as an alternative to AA given that I'm not very religious. What I found was remarkable. It was my first exposure to a recovery program and I was thoroughly pleased to find that it was based in scientific fact. With a foundation in cognitive behavioral therapy, SMART taught me to reframe the way I think and perceive my reality and it has enabled me to be continuously sober for more than 3 years going.

I encourage anyone seeking a modern recovery plan to check out SMART.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

3 1/2 years ago we had 1 facilitator and 2 meetings a week in our little town. Perhaps we had 6 or 7 participants per meeting. I believe that because of our very helpful facilitator who has since gone a sabbatical, we have 8 facilitators 7 meetings a week and 1 meeting every 2 nd week. For a three months period we administered 873 participant with 247 new attendees. Such is our trust in Smart Recovery a non profit organization, all facilitators are volunteers, and many of our participants give up an addicted lifestyle for an abstinent lifestyle.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have seen the SMART program have a tremendous impact on its participants. Its message of empowerment and choice, and its tools to help people make better choices can have a profound positive effect. I have seen it work with me and with many others.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After years of attempting recovery with multiple other pathways, I found SMART and it changed my life. Today I give back and as a Facilitator.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I can honestly tell you that every person volunteering or working for this organization is absolutely amazing.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I can't imagine a group of people who are more dedicated or passionate about what they do, No approach to addiction recovery works for everyone, but individuals who resonate with the SMART Recovery approach will find a more-than-sufficient collection of ideas, meetings and publications, and a community ready to help them learn.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It is not an exaggeration to say that SMART Recovery saved my sanity.

I quit drinking in 1998 and for the first several years following my decision to abstain, I attended another support group whose philosophy is that the power to recover comes from God or a higher power. I struggled greatly in this group because I do not believe this philosophy to be accurate, but attempts to be honest within the group were met with pronunciations that such thoughts were evidence that I was "still sick".

When--after nearly ten years in the other group--I found SMART Recovery, it was like coming home. I literally cried to realize that a group existed that actually fit my way of thinking instead of constantly criticizing it as "sick". SMART's philosophy is that individuals do have the power to recover, and it provides social support and tools to assist in that process. How I wish I had known of, and had access to, SMART Recovery when I first decided to quit! It is my sincere belief that all who are considering the possibility of abstaining from an addictive behavior should know that SMART (as well as all other alternatives) exists and have ready access to it. I just celebrated 19 years of abstinence from alcohol and thanks to SMART, I feel better than I ever have in my life. I run a meeting in my community and it gives me tremendous pleasure to pay it forward.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SMART Recovery is a scientifically-driven organization which includes practical tools and a supportive community to help people recover from addictive behavior. A life-saver for those whose plan of recovery rests in secular solutions, while being welcoming of those whose plan does not. True inclusiveness is the hallmark of this humanistic organization--to say nothing of it's efficacy-- which is substantial. In many ways, SMART recovery can claim partial responsibility for my own personal well-being and sense of purpose (not to mention improved health and interpersonal relationships--not a small feat.) Thank you SMART Recovery! I hope you continue to help people with addictions for generations to come!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began my recovery using Smart recovery as my rock. I am currently 19 months sober and started the first meetings in my area all going strong.

2 Coffee P.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Take all those recovery statistics you read and hear about and throw them in the trash!

If your tired of labels. If your tired of recovery programs that narrow their recovery. If your just flat out tired of being on the recovery circuit, and ready to find a program that you can actually graduate from. Then SMART is the one.

How many of us have spent years, decades on the recovery circuit going form meeting to meeting only to find that our success is based on supernatural forces? How many of us have been to meetings where we were not allowed to talk about medication and alternative methods of recovery? How many of us have been asked to leave when we expressed our viewpoints on recovery? SMART Recovery is a program that is constantly evolving as science evolves. Smart does not bash other programs or methods of recovery. SMART is constantly looking for the next best set of tools. Members that share what works for them are not looked at as problem members but as volunteers to a community of members committed to success!

We have seen Elitism ruin the growth of recovery programs. We have seen politics, internal strife, conflict and confrontation that leave new volunteers walking on egg shells. SMART has a fantastic training program that trains volunteers not only how to help other members on their recovery journey but also how to resolve issues between volunteers and leadership to keep the SMART volunteer base strong!

What is the strongest attributes of SMART vs. other programs? The structure of SMART. The newest member can attend meetings where the founder of the program not only shows up, but is approachable and addresses members concerns in a meaningful way. The leadership of SMART is strong, and constantly improving the SMART program.

At SMART Recovery I have learned through Smarts Tools and Skills to Empower myself with the Power of Change. I make my own statistics of Success.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

SMART Recovery brings mutual support to all attempting to end their addictive behavior with a science based program that can be used by both religious and non-religious persons. Whether the issue be with substance such as alcohol or behavior such as gambling, SMART Recovery tools and group encouragement to use them can make an important difference.

Denny D.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

after 40 yrs of addictive behavior and using I found myself in a jail cell detoxing from heroin with out any medical help. after my release from jail i started to work on changing my life .. SMART RECOVER showed me how to change my life. My clean date 6/19/06. I am now a certified SMART meeting facilitator. and am on the 24/7chat daily. this works,

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a SMART Recovery Facilitator I feel incredibly trained and supported by the SMART Recovery Headquarters! Their leadership, support and administrative organization far exceeds my expectations. Their materials are excellent and well organized. The SMART Recovery book is full of evidence based tools that go deep and cover a vast range of troublesome behaviors. LOVE the ways in which SMART Recovery seeks to lift all labels as well as all negative assumptions regarding addiction! So thankful for all the work they do to support those of us at the local meeting level. THANKS SMART Recovery! You are truly a high quality non-profit!!

1 Brett14

Board Member

Rating: 5

Fantastic organisation truly volunteer powered and committed to serving people in addiction recovery.

1 Karen396

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After suffering through years of AA getting very boring--Had a Slip back in 2013 and was doing Group Therapy and the Therapist knew I had problems with the religious aspect of AA so told me about SMART. Now after being with SMART for near up to 3 Years now; they have really helped me to understand what was going on. I have found out how to Change My thinking and apply the Tools and Exercises to Fit into My New Lifestyle.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After years of AA meetings (where I never felt I belonged), I found SMART Recovery to be a breath of fresh air! Sensible, practical, logical, secular and best of all--EMPOWERING! I highly recommend anyone who is looking for an addiction support group to try SMART.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

SMART helped me quit drinking and smoking. SMART has extended my life. SMART has made my quality of life better. I say these things without hyperbole.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked with so many people who love SMART recovery! It is such a wonderful alternative to the traditional unproved 12 step options! And the message of taking control of your life instead of being helpless is so empowering!

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was in trouble with alcohol and searching for pragmatic assistance and advice, accessible online (which was important, given my geographically isolated location). SMART provided a welcoming, non-judgmental entree into a set of scientifically-based mental tools and techniques, along with community support. This support, along with the practical, rational-thinking tools and techniques, empowered me to get and stay sober for 4 years to date. I also used the same resources to quit smoking (3 years ago), and to shed excess weight (36 pounds) and keep it off. I am so appreciative of this organization and the resources that it provides (free of charge), that I now donate monthly, by automatic payment.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

After years of trying on my own, and trying AA, SMART helped me get sober. Their methods help keep me from drinking every day.
Whether online or in person, SMART meetings are logic-based, and level-headed. SMART puts control of my sobriety in my hands, and I am thankful every day that I found them.
I cannot recommend the program enough.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SMART Recovery offers a modern, science-based approach for recovery from addiction or for other positive lifestyle changes. They provide free peer-support meetings that are based on a comprehensive program that addresses: Motivation, Urges, Managing Emotions and Lifestyle Balance. It is truly a positive, self-empowering approach to behavior change.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After years of trying and failing in other self help systems I discovered SMART in 2012. I'm now almost a year 100% clean sober and HAPPY! (not always the same thing) and have trained as a SMART facilitator and just launched a new SMART mtg. myself in Black Mt. NC.

7 Jonathan v.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This charity helps thousands of people overcome addictions with a science based self-help program. All self-help meetings are free. They have a website, message board, chat room, and on-line meetings. Again, those are all free.

SMART Recovery has been the guiding force of my recovery since 1994.