SMART Recovery International formed to support global use of science-based meetings to overcome addiction

A message from SMART Recovery International Chairperson, Nadene Lee.

Every week, tens of thousands of people attend SMART meetings in 23 countries across the world. They’re engaging in an evidence-based, four-point program that offers people the tools to create a life beyond addiction, within the framework of free weekly group meetings – either face-to-face or online.

In 2019 SMART Recovery reached two major milestones, entering its 25th year and holding more than 3000 meetings worldwide – a figure that has quintupled over just eight years.

As addiction has grown into a global epidemic, SMART Recovery International (SRI) has been formed to provide worldwide oversight and support to SMART Recovery operations in all of its member countries, as well as to create and implement a strategy to grow the program worldwide. An important part of SRI’s mission is to introduce SMART Recovery to people in many other countries who could benefit from its self-empowering program and meetings.

SMART Recovery’s evidence-based approach is informed by leading researchers who are affiliated with the organisation, and is endorsed by leading government health authorities worldwide, making it the only mutual support group of its kind.

The program, led in small groups by trained facilitators, is based on motivational interviewing and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), which have been proven to be effective in helping people overcome addiction. It includes numerous tools to help people cope with urges and to build new lives based on balance, purpose and connection with others.

SMART Recovery was founded in the US in 1994 and it has a significant presence there with 1800 meetings. It is also well established in the UK (530 meetings), Australia (300) and Canada (240). SMART group meetings are also held Iran, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam, and to date the SMART Recovery Handbook has been published in 13 languages: Arabic, Danish, English, Farsi, French, German, Mandarin Chinese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Vietnamese. There is also a culturally appropriate version for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia.

Additionally, SMART Recovery has a dedicated Family and Friends program for people affected by the addictive behaviours of significant others, while the Inside Out program is specially designed to provide assistance for inmates within correctional facilities across the globe.

Michael Bellamy