Anyone who struggles with addictions of any kind can find help and support in Golden, thanks to the SMART Recovery program being offered at the Golden Family Center.
The session runs weekly, on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. in the group meeting room, at the top of the stairs on the left. The group is based off of science, and touches on topics each night that relate to what people are going through at the time. The facilitators work from handbooks to support each of the people that show up, and follow a guideline for working to resolve issues being faced.
“It’s not a therapy group, it’s not a support group, but it’s a science-based rational behaviour group to help with addictive behaviours,” said facilitator Ben Smith.
Addictive behaviours can include anything. Alcoholism, binge drinking, narcotics, sexual behaviours, food habits, or anything in between can be talked about in these sessions. Anyone who is seeking help with any behaviours is welcome to join the free drop in sessions.
“There’s skills offered each night to help gain control with any addictive behaviour you might be having,” Smith said. “Each one is self contained, lead by, or at least steered by, whoever attends the meeting that night.”
There are three facilitators who work at the Family Center that will help guide the meetings, and they may be looking for a co facilitator from the group.
Each session begins similarly: People come in, introduce themselves, and then they talk about what issues they have been facing. Where the evening heads from there is completely dependent on those attending.
“It’s just set by the group dynamic each night. We have a kind of standard run for each day. It’s a kind of welcoming message and check in for each of the people there, and then depending on what people have or what’s come up for them that week, that’s how we decide what our agenda is going to be for each evening,” Smith said.
One of the major differences to the SMART Recovery program, compared to others that sound similar, is that it is not abstinence based.
“There can be some feelings of guilt toward not having managed to be abstinent,” Smith said. “”But, we are not abstinence based, and we are based in harm reduction. Any time somebody slips, or they have an issue, then it’s looked on as being an opportunity for learning, rather than something to feel bad about.”
The program also does not incorporate any religious practices into the meetings, although anyone from any religion is welcome to attend and use the tools they learn to help with their addictive behaviours.
“Some of the things that attendees suggested we use as working, this would be open to somebody who maybe doesn’t feel like they’re an alcoholic, but who maybe has issues with binge drinking… Or might be aware of suspecting they have substance problems, things like cannabis overuse, rather than hardened people who are narcotics or drug addicts. Help with quitting smoking even, any addictive behaviours,” Smith said. “Any habitual behaviour, we’re offering step by step tools for a healthier life.”
For more information about the program itself, go to www.smartrecovery.org. To attend the meeting, feel free to show up at the Golden Family Center on Wednesday evenings. The program runs weekly from 6:30 to 8 p.m.