In the United States Army, he was an E-4 Specialist with the 42 INF Div., serving in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. As a private person, Michael Hooper was a man struggling with alcohol abuse and depression. He didn’t know where to get help until he called the Veteran’s Crisis Hotline. From there Michael was introduced to SMART Recovery through the VA Hospital. He knew from the first meeting it was “going to be a life changer,” but it wasn’t until a four-month intensive, inpatient program, that Michael realized how valuable the SMART Recovery program was for his survival.
The program was effective for Michael because there was a direct sense of purpose and self-empowerment, which resonated with his military training. After completing the facilitator training, he felt compelled to pay it forward and started facilitating his own meetings to share SMART with more people in his Hackensack, New Jersey, community.
Now, in his new role as the State Outreach Director for Ohio, Michael will bring his authenticity, passion and lived experiences to new audiences that might otherwise never hear of SMART. He says, “having grown up in a minority neighborhood, the need for non-profit services in these communities is great. The individuals suffering in these communities deserve the same opportunities as everyone else.” He hopes to get more communities involved with meetings and available resources. Michael will also continue to expand outreach within the VAs, schools, and prison systems in Ohio. This is a “boots on the ground position,” he says, that will take him where he is needed because “outreach is here to help save lives.”
I had the pleasure of meeting Mike at the Hackensack SMART meeting. His facilitating skills and knowledge of SMART kept me coming back for more. He is very personable and caring individual.
I was so sorry to see him leave on his new journey but so very happy for Mike’s new journey, He is going to be GREAT at helping others discovering SMART!
Congrats and good luck Mike 🙂 xo
I too met Mike at the Hackensack, NJ meeting. What an addition to the SMART family. Ohio is fortunate to have him there!
I am so proud of you ???????? Michael! ????
Your Aunt Christine
I met Mike at the Hackensack meeting . Unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts I wasn’t able to attend too many of his meetings . I was reintroduced to him in April when SMART was all on Zoom due to the pandemic . Mike is an excellent facilitator. He doesn’t sugar coat anything . He is friendly , caring and wants to help anyone he can who needs help with management of their maladaptive behavior. All I can say is, I hope I have him as a friend for life !
Thank you for the positive comments about Mike. SMART is lucky to have him on our team.