SMART Family & Friends Meeting Guidelines

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’.

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 addicted individual, even if the behaviour has a negative impact on us or other people.  The focus of SMART Family & Friends is on you and your life, rather than on the addicted other (your Loved One).

2. This meeting is for us – not our loved one.

The focus of this 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.

3. We respect confidentiality.

We agree not to 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.

4. 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.

5. We do not label others or use offensive language or behaviour.

We will try to 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, co-dependent, enabler and so on in our meetings. Threats, intimidation and violent behaviour are all grounds for being barred from the meeting.

6. 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.

7. 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. If I have problems the group or tools cannot help with, I will seek professional help.