Like many committed SMART Recovery volunteers, Maggie Reilly was moved by a personal situation. Her husband had been struggling in recovery, and Maggie didn’t feel she was getting the necessary skills for her own success. After searching for alternatives to traditional, Maggie discovered an online SMART Recovery Family and Friends meeting. “It’s about life skills and not just recovery,” she says of the program, which helped her to create appropriate boundaries in her personal and professional worlds. “SMART is science-based, and it gives us concrete tools to learn.”
Now Maggie helps to spread the word in western New York about SMART and the Family and Friends program. As a facilitator, she shares the tools that have been so beneficial to her during her husband’s recovery. Satisfaction comes from seeing the light bulb moment when attendees realize they are not alone and that there are skills they can successfully employ.
Maggie describes western New York as “a very 12-step area,” which made it challenging to find a welcoming place to host SMART Recovery meetings. After holding educational presentations with other SMART volunteers in the region, Maggie not only found a location, but also found families eager for the program. “I’ve talked to hundreds of people, and most didn’t know about SMART,” Maggie says. She and her husband realized that “the tools are what distinguishes us from other programs.”
Maggie found that once people learned about the foundation of SMART programs, they were eager to try them.
Maggie hopes to expand SMART’s reach in the region. Three years ago, she began to co-facilitate meetings on the campus of Rochester Institute of Technology. “We get about six people at a meeting,” she says. “We’ve built up the program at RIT, and our goal is to get more students involved.”
“I would like to get more facilitators together,” she says about her long-term goals. “I wish I had more time to commit to this.” Even with limited time, Maggie has succeeded in helping herself and others through SMART Recovery and, specifically, through the Family and Friends program.
We thank Maggie for her continued time and dedication to SMART Recovery.