Saturday, 22 April 2017

Get Involved! Help Us Grow!

Training Scholarships Available

Volunteer Training Scholarships

As we are now into our third decade, more and more people are “discovering the power of choice” and are eager to benefit from SMART’s approach to overcoming addiction.

This is great news!

We currently have an incredible team of hard-working volunteers who are providing over 2,000 face-to-face meetings around the world PLUS a menu of online services including daily meetings, a 24/7 chat room, and message board forums. But as you may already know, the demand for SMART’s services continues to grow at a rapid pace.

We set aside the month of April each year to celebrate our amazing volunteers and the work they do and to encourage others to help us start even more meetings to meet the growing demand.

Here’s How You Can Help!

Volunteer: Share in the rewarding experience of volunteering by joining our dedicated team of trained volunteers. [ More Information ]

Scholarships for training are available

All SMART facilitators and online volunteers are required to become thoroughly familiar with the SMART 4-Point Program by participating in our Distance Training Program. Volunteer training scholarships are available during April to cover the cost of the training for those who need financial assistance.

Volunteer Training


Support the Volunteer Scholarship Program

During the month of April, you can help someone become a trained volunteer by making a gift to the Volunteer Training Scholarship Fund. Donations of any amount are helpful and welcome — and thanks to generous matching challenges this year, you can double your impact!


We’ve already received a record number of new volunteer applications this month, far more than we anticipated! Your gift to the Training Scholarship Fund makes it possible for us to provide the training to ready our new volunteers to start new meetings, Thank you for your generous support!

Support Volunteer Training

Partner with us

The rewards of helping others make a difference in their lives are many and long lasting. We invite you to partner with us to grow SMART, either as a volunteer, a donor, or both. You’ll be glad you did! [ More Information ]

Together, we can make more meetings available to those wishing to make positive changes in their lives, and the lives of their loved ones.

Thank you for your support during Volunteer Month.

Handout for Local Facilitators

Local Facilitators

Please provide these flyers (click on the image) to interested parties in your meetings.

Your qualified participants can apply for Volunteer Month Training Scholarships!



Friday, 21 April 2017

Doctors Appeal to Treat Drug Abuse as a ‘Chronic Disease’

In the United States alone, drug abuse overdose kills tens of thousands of Americans each year. Doctors appeal to the authorities to handle the epidemic as a medical emergency. According to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 91 people died every day because of opioid overdose. In 2015, 52,000 died because of a […]

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Thursday, 20 April 2017

Drug Addiction: What Really Happens Inside Your Body?

A sense of euphoria is achieved in people who continuously abuse drugs. When over stimulation of neurotransmitters is heightened, the person craves to experience the same effect over and over again. This resulting repetitive behavior is what eventually develops into drug addiction. Substance abuse affects the brain functions through interrupting its communication system, primarily because […]

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Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Living In Fear With Drug Addict? You May Need To Read This Right Now

“I’m worried that if I leave him, no one will be there to take care of him,” “I feel scared that he’ll/she’ll be abandoned by her parents and friends,” “Where will he live if I turn him away?” and “I don’t think I’ll be able to raise our children all alone”- are these statements running […]

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Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Mindfulness: How to do it

Part two of a three part series
By Bill Abbott, MD

If you paid careful and mindful attention to Part One of this series on Mindful Awareness enough to want to try it, you might be asking, “How do I do it?”

Practice, practice, practice

Mindful Awareness among other things is a practice in the fullest definition of that word. It is an intention that needs to be acted upon repeatedly, that is not just “one and done” – all fixed. As with any other learned behavior or skill, the more you do this, the more the benefits will grow and accrue.

Repetition means near daily practice and it matters less as to the duration of each practice as it does to the frequency of them; better five minutes a day for a week, than 35 minutes on only one day.

Of course, since Mindful Awareness can be many different things as noted in Part One, there are several aspects to these practices; basic – informal versus formal practices.

Informal practice

Informal practices are many and are all based on the single premise of remembering to pay attention, albeit even briefly, to the present experience many times a day. Many people use reminders or cues over the course of the day to bring them into present awareness. For example, every time you look at your wristwatch, just pause and pay attention to what is happening right then; not what you are doing at this moment but rather being present there while you are doing it. Try it and you will know what I mean; it is quite a different experience.

Formal practice  

Formal practices are many and varied.  They are considered formal because you are setting aside a given amount of time specifically for this purpose. Most of these practices would be considered under the general term of “meditation”. Thus, it is important to emphasize that not all meditation is mindful, and further, Mindfulness Meditation is practiced in many ways, as already noted.

Mindful Awareness formal practices are most often done while sitting, but can also be done while standing, walking, or lying down. Some practices are sort of in between the formal and informal, such as my favorites, washing my hands, and driving.

But for purposes of brevity here, let’s consider the most common; sitting. Now you can go full tilt here with this by sitting in the lotus position on a specific special cushion of buckwheat husks, but no need – a chair works fine. The position is most important; that is comfortable, erect, and balanced; often described as “dignified”, if possible, with minimal or no support in the back. But most important, whatever you choose needs to be okay for being there for more than just a few minutes.

From here it gets more detailed and it’s important to keep this posting brief.  To repeat, it is not so much the length of the sitting but how often you do it. My pledge to myself is to meditate every day without any commitment to how long I do it. That works for many.

Start with breath awareness

For starters, most teachers including me, begin with breath awareness. This is focused attention to the simple sensations of the breath wherever you feel it most prominently. My spot is the nose; yours might be the chest or belly. But the point is to keep your attention to just that; each breath in each present moment. When the mind wanders, which it will do, just note it and come back to the breath. No worries here; that’s just what normal minds do.

It can go on from there, but at least that’s a start. You can  find many excellent guided practices online. I often recommend those by psychologist Tara Brach. I’ve attended her classes and here’s a link: There are many others, of course.

In conclusion, no matter what, this is something you can choose to try knowing. It has been helpful to many others – me included.

Next time, in Part Three, we will address the question as to “Why you might want to do it”. That will be  a review of the solid science which supports this practice for those with addiction.


Bill Abbott is a long time SMART volunteer. He can often be found in SMART meetings in the Boston area and in our online community.




True Blue State: A Case of Depression

Millions of American suffers from clinical depression or major depressive disorder. Clinical depression remains as the most prevalent mental disorder in the country. Proved as a severe mood disorder it greatly affects daily normal routine such as eating, sleeping and working. However, feeling blue is different from depression. Depression varies in seriousness from mild, brief […]

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Monday, 17 April 2017

Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol Dependence: Brain Disease versus Drug Abuse

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Decline in Accidental Pediatric Opioid Poisoning Seen But Still a Problem

Over the past few years, experts noticed a drop in accidental or intentionally ingesting prescribed painkillers. However, even with the decrease of reported poisoning, the problem is yet to be solved, as it still poses a great threat to children. An average of 32 calls a day Recent studies published in Pediatrics on Monday stated […]

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Friday, 14 April 2017

Consequences of Prescription Drug Abuse

Ramifications Of Prescription Drug Abuse Prescription drug abuse is on the rise in the United States. More than 15 million people in the US abuse prescription drugs, more than all other drug abusers put together. Part of the reason that prescription drug abuse is so prevalent is that most people who become addicted started taking […]

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Thursday, 13 April 2017

What Kind of Medications Are Used in Detox?

According to an estimate by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2012, more than 9% of people over the age of 12 abused drugs in the previous month, but only 2.3 million of 21.6 million people who needed treatment actually received it. For many people struggling with drug addiction, detox is the […]

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Tuesday, 11 April 2017

The Most Famous Celebrities That Have Died From Drugs

Celebrities are notorious for “living on the edge”. Unfortunately, the pressure to live a wild and crazy lifestyle often means the end of the road for celebrities. From celebs that died from alcohol or drugs, we have lost many greatly talented people. And while many young, bright flames burn out because of drugs, just as […]

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Is It Safe To Detox At Home?

Can You Detox At Home? And Should You? Hint… The Answer is Possibly and (No)  Drugs and alcohol cause tragic consequences for people who become addicted to them. They take a toll on family relationships, promising careers, and self-esteem. Alcoholics and addicts are often to surprise to find that when they want to quit, they […]

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Mindfulness: What is it?

By Bill Abbott, MD

I’ve heard much talk lately about Mindfulness with many questions about how useful it might be, so it seems timely to write about it here.

First Mindfulness or Mindful Awareness as I like to call it, is not new, in fact, it is over 2500-years-old. It’s part of the teachings of a man in India named Siddhartha Gautama who is also known as the historical Buddha.

However, in the last century the philosophy and psychology of the Buddhist idea have been transferred here into the West to become a pragmatic secular approach to managing the many stresses of modern life – with outcomes or benefits obtained; reported by thousands of people who learned it and tried it.

Although cognitive psychology has predominated psychotherapy for all sorts of mental challenges in the past two decades, it has become increasingly apparent that Mindful Awareness is a possible different path to mental wellness in a new effective psychology. What can be said at this point is that the approach affords us the chance to self-manage emotions, including those with addiction, now not only in one way, but two. Furthermore, there are numerous scientific studies, evidence if you will, that support the idea that this approach is useful for such things as stress, anxiety, depression, and yes, for addiction.

If this has caught your attention – good. It certainly has mine, and I have found its practice for the past five years significantly transformative in my own recovery. So, you ask, what is it?

Mindful Awareness is easy to describe but more difficult to grasp and practice. However, a simple definition might be:

Mindful Awareness is paying attention to what is happening in the present experience; allowing what is here to be present without judgment. This is acceptance of the here and now.

It is hopefully experienced in a kind way, but also with the realization that most ideas and feelings are transient and temporary – passing through, moment by moment like watching a cloud pass by in the sky.

Mindful Awareness is:

1. A philosophy and psychology that leads to well-being

2. A state of mind

3, A way of life

4. A practice

It has been shown that we humans spend greater than 50% of our wakened lifetime in a mindless state, that is, living on autopilot; reliving the past or anticipating the future. Becoming more mindful allows us to participate in the rationality and reality of the present experience no matter how it is being perceived; that is, being there without being so caught up in it in such a way that it becomes difficult to manage. Thus, Mindful Awareness can be a calming antidote to the emotional burden so many with addiction carry, as complicated and varied as it is. As stated earlier, Mindful Awareness is a self-empowering strategy that is scientifically supported to help those suffering from any form of addiction.

If you are significantly and sufficiently interested, stay tuned for the next blog where we will be considering the question “How do I do this?”

Bill Abbott is a long time SMART volunteer. He can often be found in the Boston area and in our online community.



Monday, 10 April 2017

How To Perform An Intervention For Drug Addicts

Nobody wants to stand by and just watch someone destroy their own life through drug addiction. Unfortunately, too many find themselves in this very scenario when they discover a loved one is dependent on a life-altering substance. Only an addict can decide when the time is right for detox treatment, but family members can help […]

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Friday, 7 April 2017

What Do I Need To Know About Detox Going In?

What You Need To Know About Detox Detoxing from a substance is something that thousands of Americans choose to do each year. It’s a brave decision to make a better way of life for yourself. Many alcoholics and addicts go into treatment not knowing quite what to expect. They may perceive treatment as something entirely […]

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Thursday, 6 April 2017

What Is It Like Going Through Ayahuasca Rehab And Detox?

Ayahuasca is a term that many people are not yet familiar with. It’s a substance used by shamans in the Amazon Basin and it is now being used by people in the modern United States to achieve a certain kind of high. If you or someone yo love suffers from this kind of addiction, it’s […]

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Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Can You Die From Alcohol Withdrawal-Detox?

Can Alcohol Detox Kill You? While many people are at least somewhat familiar with the dangers and difficulty of withdrawing from heroin and cocaine, the truth is alcohol detox and withdrawal can also be dangerous. Alcohol withdrawal can lead to a range of symptoms that may begin as early as two hours after the last […]

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Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Paying it Forward by Training New SMART Volunteers

Why we give to support SMART Recovery Training
By Julie Flood and Peter Heide,  Albany Lutheran Church, Wisconsin

Our decision to begin a SMART Recovery group meeting was based on our local demand for those who are seeking self-directed change. Facilitating SMART Recovery meetings has been a great opportunity for us to reach out to our rural communities that do not have the same substance abuse/addiction resources offered in urban areas. After one year of group consistency and success we wanted to give the group an incentive to pay forward the benefits they’ve gained through SMART. In November of 2016 the Council agreed to pay the training fee for those wanting to facilitate SMART Recovery meetings in our southern Wisconsin, under-served communities/counties.

Why SMART has been so helpful in our community: The greatest obstacles with change and self-acceptance are unwanted self-judgments, and we all have them. The mind’s ability to generate such judgments is very powerful — but not impossible  to change.

We recognize that with helpful thought patterns in place, crisis becomes less overwhelming, and it’s far easier to let go of resistance, tune in to your passions and inner resources, and move forward with a recovery and self-management plan that inhibits unhealthy thinking. It’s not realistic to expect individuals to rid themselves of all unhelpful self-judgments and be completely free from the suffering they cause….but that doesn’t mean we’re powerless.

We at Albany Lutheran Church want to be able to provide realistic resources that help individuals understand you CAN alter the quality of unhelpful self-judgments, learn from them, and either let them go or transform them so that they no longer block you from a sense of well-being, a feeling of spaciousness, and openness to new possibilities, self-love and self-acceptance. Most often, when you let go of your unwholesome self-judgments, you discover aspects of yourself that inspire and vitalize you. You start to realize that you can live more authentically and richly.

How it works: Human beings are fallible, imperfect and un-ratable. I do not believe we were ever expected to be flawless. When individuals learn to be conscious of who they are, what they feel, and what they are doing, they begin to realize that they have control. Then they can exercise their control and change their behavior.

Why we support SMART: We support the SMART Recovery program because it encourages self-acceptance for all ages. Once self-acceptance is defined and stability is gained the process of change can begin. SMART encourages alternative behaviors to solve the problems that serve to reinforce bad choices. Individuals can learn to make good choices.

About the authors:  Julie Flood has been facilitating SMART Recovery meetings since November, 2015. She serves as Council President, and Peter Heide is the pastor of Albany Lutheran Church.

April is Volunteer Month: SMART is a “volunteer organization” and our success is a direct result of the enthusiastic efforts of our trained (and passionate) volunteers who do a terrific job “delivering” self-empowering recovery support meetings around the country.

Want to see a meeting in your community?  You can start one! During Volunteer Month we have scholarships available to offset the cost of our extensive training program.  Learn how you can take part in our training, or how to help others with a gift to our Training Scholarship Fund. [ More Info ]





Monday, 3 April 2017

8 Signs Of Alcoholism. How To Tell If You Are An Alcoholic.

No one wants to admit they are an alcoholic. Many people aren’t aware they have a problem until their lives fall apart. If you’re worried about whether or not your drinking has become a problem, there are some warning signs to look for. 1. Hiding Your Drinking Alcoholics tend to hide how much they are […]

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Can You Get Addicted to Opiates?

Prescription drug addiction and death due to overdose has become an epidemic in the United States. Painkillers that doctors prescribed are usually opiate based medications. Opiates are prescribed to patients who have injured themselves or are recovering from surgery. These drugs are very useful in helping patients with acute or chronic pain, but can be […]

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