When Loretta Billingsley found SMART Recovery, she says she wasn’t fully committed to addressing her troublesome alcohol use, but wanted to understand more about it. Perhaps her long career as an editor in the media industry led to her practice of breaking down issues with a keen eye for component parts. In this case, Loretta says she was drawn in initially by the behavioral science part of SMART, and saw how that related to her circumstances. Soon after learning more, Loretta was all in as a participant. Then she chose to dive in even deeper.
Loretta says she realized early on that she wanted to give back to SMART. She decided to take the training to be facilitator and start a meeting, but not of the general variety, “I made the decision to make it a women’s meeting. It was important to me; I saw the need for it.” Further, she saw a women’s meeting as important for SMART itself as part of an organizational evolution to greater inclusiveness.
Loretta is most gratified by watching women grow in their recovery by implementing the practices of SMART, otherwise known as tools. She says she sees women starting to listen to their “inner ally,” rather than their “inner critic.” This is accomplished together as the connection between participants gets stronger, “Not only are you sharing possibly what has made your recovery relevant—you learn from people who are growing in their own recovery.”
The bottom line for Loretta, who is now a SMART Regional Coordinator in Georgia, is that we are all on a recovery journey of learning, growing and healing. She says a women’s meeting offers a very safe space for participants to be vulnerable and support each other. And that makes all her effort more than worth it.
Help Us Reach More Women in Recovery
As demonstrated in Loretta’s story, the multiplying effect of one person deciding to help others is significant. Loretta benefitted from SMART and decided to apply her energy and time to offer SMART’s science-based and self-empowering principles and practices to a community of women. In doing so, she has made it possible for SMART to reach more individuals who are asking for support.
Your year-end gift will be put to work immediately. SMART will be able to help Loretta and the women in her meeting find the peer support they need to overcome addiction, and embrace Life Beyond Addiction.
- Loretta Billingsley’s Facilitator Spotlight video
- Loretta Billingsley’s podcast – Finding the Woman Connection
- Loretta Billingsley’s blog – The Stages of Me
- Find Loretta Billingsley’s online meeting
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