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Gentoo’s Story

Member stories of addiction recoveryCelebrating 3.5 years as a non-drinker thanks to SMART Recovery

Hello, my name is Gentoo. I just celebrated 3.5 years as a non-drinker thanks to SMART Recovery, particularly SMART Recovery Online.

I drank heavily for decades. I developed physical addiction to alcohol, where if I didn’t drink for an hour or two, I got shakes, sweats, anxiety. Then, drinking almost took my life. I had a serious fall when drinking, and it resulted in a traumatic brain injury. In ICU I was given a 50-50 chance to live. This caused pain to my husband and family. Thankfully, I made it. But I had to learn to walk again. And I had destroyed my career.

I attended an outpatient treatment center for alcohol and drugs where we were expected to attend one “outside” recovery meeting per week. We were given the choice of attending 12-step or SMART Recovery. And that’s how I learned about SMART.

I didn’t want to go to AA because I could not imagine standing up in front of a group and saying “Hi, I’m (real name) and I’m an alcoholic”. Although I go to church, I didn’t get the concept that just turning over my life to a “higher power” and basically praying when I felt like drinking is the solution because I am “powerless”. I got myself into this, and I wanted concrete, practical, science-based, proven information about how I could get myself out – and for good, because another head trauma will almost certainly kill me. And so, I didn’t want someone like a “sponsor” telling me what to do, either.

SMART doesn’t tell you what to do; instead you are supported by great people in the same boat and pointed in the right direction.

I learned that I am the one who needs to do the work. I needed to read and learn and use the things I learned to quit drinking and stay quit.

SMART Recovery meetings are super-helpful. People share their personal experiences with the SMART tools and how they worked for them. The volunteer meeting Facilitators guide the discussion. What you take and use is your choice. That’s why SMART stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training. 3.5 years later, without a single drink, I recently became a Facilitator too. The training is very rigorous. And I deepen my commitment to my recovery by helping others the best I can.

The 24/7 support here online is fantastic. There’s always someone to talk with and share experiences or ask for support getting through a tough moment without giving in. Lots of meetings online every day. Tons of resources to read, learn and use for success! And good friendships if you’d like that.

SMART was exactly what I needed. I think these SMART principles sum it up, for me:

Successfully recovered people:

  1. Have a commitment to sobriety
  2. Make a change in lifestyle
  3. Prepare and plan for urges

Recovery takes the 3 P’s:

Please Donate Today!I wish everyone reading this the joy of recovery. It may not seem joyful at all when starting out, but I think you’ll agree one day – it is. You can recover your health, relationships, career, and more.