SMART Recovery Family & Friends program will begin in Kelowna on July 5 at 2 p.m.

SMART Recovery launches program for family and friends of addicts

Research shows family and friends are in a powerful position to help their loved one find recovery

By Gary Patterson

Fentanyl, crack, prescriptions, alcohol, pot, gambling, porn, eating, smoking: Addictions run rampant in our society today.

Most therapists and support groups work very hard to try to help those afflicted, but what about all the people around them?

Most people know that SMART Recovery, the second largest addiction recovery organization in the world, is alive and well in Kelowna, however, many people are not yet aware that SMART also has a program for people who are living with the effects of someone else’s addictive behaviours.

Community Reinforcement And Family Training (CRAFT) provides families with a hopeful, positive and more effective alternative for addressing substance use problems. This approach teaches families how to optimize their impact while avoiding confrontation or detachment.

We’ve combined SMART’s cognitive tools with the strategies of CRAFT to create a program for Family & Friends that is grounded in science. The SMART Recovery Family & Friends program was created to provide skills, training and support for those experiencing life with a loved one who is suffering from addiction.

Modern research shows that there is an alternative to tough love, detachment, and ‘rock bottom’ that is dramatically more effective than these harsh approaches. Research also shows that family and friends are in a uniquely powerful position to use this approach to help their loved one find recovery.

Recent statistics show that when it comes to the effectiveness of methods used to get someone into treatment, success rates for the top three methods are: Al-Anon – 20 per cent, Intervention – 30 per cent initially, however with this method relapse often occurs during, or shortly after treatment.

With CRAFT there is a 64 per cent success rate and in another study it went as high as 73 per cent.

We’ve learned a lot in the last several decades.

I cannot express how pleased I am to announce that a SMART Recovery Family & Friends program will begin in Kelowna on July 5. There are currently three regular SMART Recovery meetings in the immediate area, all at 7 p.m.

Monday, Westbank Lions Community Centre, Tuesday, 1456 St Paul St., and Thursday, 168 Asher Rd.

The new SMART Recovery Family & Friends meetings will be held at 430 Royal Avenue on Wednesdays at 2 p.m.. These meetings are scheduled to last 90 minutes and are open to everyone.

These meetings are free, and as SMART Recovery is a registered non-profit organization with donations accepted. With over 2,000 meetings worldwide and growing SMART Recovery is operated almost entirely by volunteers, with the exception of four paid employees in Mentor, Ohio.

This program led to this volunteer being honestly sober for the first time in decades.

Gary Patterson is a SMART Recovery Facilitator.