We all know that emergencies and changes of schedule happen. Whether a flat tire, a family emergency, or even a family member’s sporting event or school play – we are sometimes unfortunately and through no fault of our own called away from prior commitments and others who might be depending on us.

Facilitating a SMART Recovery meeting is no different. Life sometimes takes our facilitators away from their meetings, leaving participants who count on these meetings unable to get the help they need on that night or perhaps even that week.

How can you minimize the impact that life events have on your SMART Recovery meetings? Consider these four tips for keeping your meeting alive in your local community.

Need more help with your local meeting? Contact your Volunteer Outreach Coordinator, Melina Gilbert (mgilbert@smartrecovery.org) or your Regional Coordinator.


4 Tips for Keeping Your Meeting Alive

1. Find another facilitator in your area to team up with. Whether you are a new facilitator or have been facilitating for years, having someone to share the load is a good idea. If you need help locating a trained facilitator in your area, reach out to your Regional Coordinator or call the National Office.

2. Talk to a participant of your meeting that you think is a good fit and ask them to take the host training. Perhaps there is someone in your group who shows promise of being a future SMART facilitator. Preparing them to fill in for you is a great way to keep your meeting going if you need to miss a meeting. An easy way someone can start to become familiar with facilitating is by helping with the opening statement or another regular part of your meeting. If it seems like a good fit, encourage them to take the host or facilitator training. If cost is an issue, you could use part of your pass-the-hat donations or contact our training team (training@smartrecovery.org) to get information on scholarships.

3. Print and keep a copy of a meeting script or discussion topics at your meeting location. This approach is used at many meeting locations throughout the country. A script and/or discussion topics can be left in an envelope in a convenient spot that your regular participants know about and have access to. Using this approach can empower a regular participant to start or run your meeting as a simplified, helpful discussion meeting in your absence. Click here to download a meeting script.

4. Submit a meeting change request form or call the National Office if you need to cancel last minute. No matter how you choose to handle back-up for your meeting, please let us know if your meeting time will be changing this week. Doing this allows us to temporarily update our website and keep participants from driving to a meeting that won’t be happening.


The 4th Point of the SMART Recovery program is Lifestyle Balance. As a facilitator, we want you to practice this as much as you teach it! Using one or more of these suggestions can help in the event of an emergency and also when good things come up, such as a child’s dance recital or tickets to a play we want to see.

Remember: SMART Recovery, its National Office team, your Regional Coordinators, and the rest of the volunteer community are here to support you.

Contact Melina Gilbert, Volunteer Outreach Coordinator (mgilbert@smartrecovery.org) with any additional questions or needs.

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