Get “SMART” – Help for those in the community struggling with addictive behaviour

Help for those in the Fort St. James community struggling with addictive behaviour.

Starting December 4, more people can get help with their addictive behavioral issues.

This is the date of the first Sunday meeting for the SMART Recovery Program.

Self Management and Recovery Training is a world-wide organization run largely by volunteers.

There are about 700 meetings around the world, and there are daily online meetings and special forums to help people deal with addictive behaviours.

Whether it is drinking, illicit drugs, violence, or sexually maladjusted behaviour  many behaviours can be considered “addictive.”

Unlike Alcoholics Anonymous, this program does not include a religious aspect, but it also does not oppose the Alcoholics Anonymous approach either.

The program does not take a position on whether or not addiction is a disease and avoids labels, according to David Colterjohn, one of the local area volunteers who will be facilitating the program.

Colterjohn himself used the SMART program to help manage his own drinking urges after a hard year, and now he’s hoping the program can be brought here to help more people.

“SMART” is an “evidence-based” recovery approach based on research on cognitive behaviour originally done and published in 1955 by a Dr. Ellis, but now evolved further, according to Colterjohn.

“One of the fundamental ideas behind SMART is that thoughts lead to behaviours and have emotional consequences,” said Colter-John.

By adjusting how a person is thinking about a behaviour they can then alter their own emotional and behavioural responses to problems they are having.

“It about learning self-control,” said Colterjohn.

According to him, many of people’s less functional behaviours are learned and so they can usually be unlearned and a more functional coping behaviour can then be substituted.

The idea to bring the in-person meetings here was a result of some inter-agency brainstorming, according to Colterjohn.

A number of organizations within the community brought forward ideas to offer more support locally for those struggling with addictions.

“It is a community effort to try and give this a shot next year,” said Colterjohn.

For more information on the SMART Recovery program itself or to check out an online group, go to:

Men and women are invited to attend the free meeting on December 4 at 2 p.m. at the Nak’azdli Alternate Justice Centre.