These are the guidelines or ‘ground rules’ for SMART Recovery meetings. These do not tell you what to think or believe – just what we expect of each within the meeting itself. Sticking to these guidelines will keep the meetings effective and safe. The Facilitator will try and keep the meeting to these principles, but it is important to remember that everyone in the meeting should do their bit to keep the meeting on track.
1. We take responsibility for our own decisions and behaviour and allow others to be responsible for theirs.
We see addictive behaviour as the responsibility of the individual, even if the behaviour has a negative impact on others. We are welcome to attend meetings regardless of whether we are currently engaged in addictive behaviour or not as long as we are not disruptive.
2. We respect confidentiality.
We agree to not tell anyone outside the group about who attended or what was discussed at this meeting and may be barred from the meeting if we do so. We will however avoid sharing information that might be harmful to us. We will not identify people as meeting attendees if we meet them outside the group.
3. We avoid side conversations and stay focused on the group.
We are encouraged to ask questions and share ideas about what has helped us, which we describe as ‘cross talk’, but will avoid lengthy ‘war stories’. There is no obligation to contribute and I am free to just listen and observe if I prefer.
4. We do not label others or use offensive language or behaviour.
We will not use labels such as ‘addict’, ‘alcoholic’, ‘druggie’ and so on in our meetings. Threats, intimidation, violent behaviour, and possession of weapons are all grounds to be barred from the meeting.
5. We keep the focus on how to abstain.
The choice of recovery goal is entirely my own, but the focus of this group will remain on life long abstinence. Whether I use prescribed medication is between myself and my doctor and not for the judgement of others in the meeting.
6. We use the SMART Recovery programme.
SMART Recovery has been developed in collaboration between people in recovery and a team of professionals. The programme is informed by the best research available, reviewed by an international panel of experts and then tested out in hundreds of meetings around the world. While I am welcome to mention other paths and approaches at meetings, we keep the focus on the SMART Recovery approach. I will not bash other groups or approaches to recovery, nor attempt to sell treatments, recruit clients or promote other groups.
7. We seek professional help where SMART Recovery is not appropriate.
I recognise that not everyone can recover from addictive behaviour through SMART Recovery alone, and many people will need professional help even if they attend SMART Recovery meetings at the same time. The programme is not designed to help with serious mental health problems other than addictive behaviours, nor for crisis situations.