As a family member or friend of someone with an addiction you might feel frightened and isolated, but many others have walked this way before and working together and supporting each other can make a huge difference.
All SMART Family & Friends meetings are run by trained facilitators and follow a standard structure. They are usually held weekly and last for 90 minutes. New participants are welcome to just observe if they are not yet comfortable discussing their own issues or contributing to the meeting.
Rather than focusing on the Loved One, the meeting invites participants to spend time concentrating on themselves and their goals.
There is no fee to attend a SMART Family & Friends Meeting, though some may ‘pass the hat’ to collect donations (to cover room hire and material etc).
SMART Family & Friends meetings use a standard structure and are either 60 or 90 minutes long.
Optional pre-meeting – 30 minutes
Welcome and opening statement – 5 minutes
Check-in – 5 to 20 minutes
Setting the meeting agenda – 5 minutes
The group discussion – 45 to 60 minutes
Check-out – 5 to 15 minutes
Concluding comments – 1 to 2 minutes
Optional post-meeting social time
Our meetings are a safe place to meet with others who have similar concerns and experiences to yours, talk about the challenges you face and to learn new skills. To keep meetings effective and safe, we ask participants to keep in mind these ‘guidelines’.
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 addicted individual, even if the behaviour has a negative impact on us or other people. The focus of SMART Family & Friends is on us and our lives, rather than our Loved Ones.
This meeting is for us - not our Loved One.
The focus of the meeting is on your life, rather than your LO. We are not here to dissect or directly change their behaviour. Instead we will focus on how we cope, how we respond to their behaviour and how we might live more fulfilled lives.
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 avoid sharing information that might be harmful to us. We will not identify people as meeting attendees if we meet them outside the group.
We avoid side conversations and stay focused on the group.
We will allow one person at a time to speak and avoid ‘talking over’ each other. We are encouraged to ask questions and share ideas, which we describe as ‘cross talk’, but will avoid lengthy and negative stories. There is no obligation to contribute and we are free to just listen and observe if we prefer.
We do not label others or use offensive language or behaviour.
We will try and be respectful of others, even people not in the room who may have done bad things. We will not use labels such as addict, alcoholic, druggie and so on in our meetings. Threats, intimidation and violent behaviour are all grounds to be barred from the meeting.
We use the SMART Recovery F&F Programme.
While we are welcome to mention other paths and approaches at meetings, we keep the focus on the SMART Recovery F & F approach. We will not bash other groups or approaches to recovery, sell treatments, recruit clients or promote other groups.
We seek professional help where SMART Recovery F&F is not appropriate.
The programme is not designed to help with serious mental health problems and cannot protect you from domestic violence. We agree that if we have problems the group or tolls cannot help with, we will seek professional help.
Find a Meeting
Find a Meeting
At the top of most of our web pages, you will notice a ‘Find a Meeting’ search bar. Typing your postcode, city or town in here will bring you to a map, and a list of your nearest meetings. You can filter for a Family & Friends meeting by searching for a meeting and filtering the results to Family and Friends meetings.
If there are no meetings in your area or for some reason you would find it difficult to access a local meeting, you may wish to attend one of our online meetings.