SMART Recovery Celebrates 25th Anniversary

by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D.

image of anniversary seal for celebration of smart recovery 25 yearsOften, a call to reflection upon past achievements might be interpreted as a prelude to a swan song.  When our favorite musicians release greatest hits albums we move from excitement to nostalgia. When filmmakers reboot and update original creations, we hear the silent reverberations of writer’s block echoing through the gaping idea void left in the wake of a once bright creative spark.  However, there are exceptions. Sometimes the creative spark becomes a long-burning fire. After decades of hard work on the part of many dedicated pioneers and volunteers, SMART Recovery celebrates its 25th Anniversary with the feeling of excitement for the future far outweighing nostalgia for the past.

SMART Recovery: A Note of Gratitude

Thanks to SMART Recovery, people who do not believe they are powerless and must surrender to God have a place in most major cities around the world to find support and acceptance in their efforts to change addictive behaviors.  For people who refuse to believe they are defective characterologically because substances helped them manage the lingering chaos of trauma, SMART is a place of refuge from the tempest of blaming, shaming, and fear-mongering for which addiction treatment is infamous.  As medication-assisted treatment expands the need for support groups that welcome and encourage evidence-based approaches will only continue to grow. SMART Recovery is the most widely available mutual-help group that supports and welcomes people on medication-assisted treatment.   

The future is bright for SMART.  To think what SMART will look like in 2044 at its 50th anniversary is a hopeful and enjoyable thought exercise.  It is also fun to reflect a bit on the first 25 years and the achievements that helped lift SMART to where it is today.  Thanks to SMART, I’ll rarely be stuck in traffic without disputing my irrational beliefs to calm my frustrations. Thanks to SMART, I will forever annoy those close to me by not-so-slyly dragging out simple decisions like where to eat by subjecting them to a thorough cost-benefit analysis.

Jokes aside, SMART is a major source of meaning and purpose in my life and in the lives of thousands of others.  To the many people involved in getting SMART to the tremendous milestone of 25 years I offer my sincere gratitude, I know the first quarter-century presented challenges beyond my ability to fully appreciate.  Even today, the amount of resistance to SMART’s self-empowering message continues to baffle, I can only imagine what it was like getting here. We do a lot of passing hats in SMART, but today, let us instead tip our hats to the efforts and sacrifices made by many to help SMART become the leader in self-empowering help for addictive behaviors.   

**For those interesting in viewing speeches from the SMART 25th Anniversary Conference, SMART will be live streaming events from the SMART youtube page.

Need help with addictive behavior? Give us a call. Practical Recovery is a non-12-step addiction treatment facility developed by SMART Recovery co-founder, Tom Horvath, PhD, ABPP.