David Weidman is fond of a quote by past SMART Recovery president Dr. Tom Horvath: “There are as many paths to recovery as there are people trying to recover.”
For Weidman, a nontheist who wanted to conquer his OxyContin addiction on his own terms, the path to recovery led directly to SMART. “I read that their social support groups do not necessarily require a lifelong commitment to meetings, but rather six to 18 months, and then you can live your own balanced life on your own self-empowered terms,” Weidman recalls. “Albert Ellis, the creator of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, and his teachings built on the Stoic philosophies and semantic science, provided me the architecture to begin building my personal version of recovery.”
He has never looked back. “I never relapsed,” he says happily. “I had three surgeries and took opioid painkillers and I was fine.”
His volunteer work with SMART Recovery developed slowly. As Weidman tells it, he went into his first meeting as a facilitator with SMART Recovery Greater Los Angeles “kicking and screaming. I said, ‘I don’t want to be responsible for other people.’ But I learned that’s not what this is about.” After that, his volunteer work took off.
Weidman’s exposure to SMART Recovery tools and groups fueled his interest in addiction recovery. Eventually, he left his job as a realtor and has flung himself into a variety of active roles within the SMART Recovery Greater Los Angeles region. He has served as regional coordinator for 10 years.
Weidman has chaired SMART’s and the Secular Coalition for America’s efforts to expand free, non-stigmatizing social support meetings for people using medication-assisted treatments such as Suboxone® and methadone. “These treatments are often frowned upon at 12-step groups,” he says, while noting that SMART Recovery supports the use of legally prescribed psychiatric and addiction medication and welcomes individuals who use them.
In all of his recovery-related work, Weidman savors making personal connections that help others to reach their goals. “What I enjoy most is facilitating face-to-face meetings and helping others change their behavior,” he says.
Thank you David for your sharing your personal journey with SMART.
About the 25 in 25 Volunteer Recognition Program
SMART Recovery celebrates its extraordinary community of volunteers who have built a worldwide organization devoted to supporting individuals recovering from addiction and their family members and friends. These volunteers include addiction scientists and treatment professionals who designed a self-empowering 4-Point Program® and joined people with the experience of recovery and trained them to lead mutual support group meetings.
Together they have created and refined a peer-professional mutual-support group model that combines the best science for treating addiction with the lived experience of recovering from addiction – the world’s largest and only community of this kind with thousands of group meetings around the world. Each year, participants in these groups help each other recover in-person and online and online meetings led by volunteers trained how to use the SMART program.