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SMART Recovery’s 25 in 25 – Volunteer Recognition Program

Celebrating 25 Outstanding SMART Recovery Volunteers in our 25th Anniversary Year

The heart of SMART’s Silver Anniversary celebration in 2019 is the story of an extraordinary community of volunteers who have built a world-wide organization devoted to supporting individuals recovering from addiction, as well as their family members and friends. These volunteers include addiction scientists and treatment professionals who designed a self-empowering 4-Point Program®. They joined people with the experience of recovery and trained them to lead mutual support group meetings.

Together they have created and refined a peer–professional mutual support group model that combines the best science for treating addiction with the lived experience of recovering from addiction: the world’s largest and only community of its kind with more than 3,000 group meetings in 23 countries. Each year, participants in these groups help each other recover at more than 150,000 meetings, in-person and online, led by volunteers trained how to use the SMART program.

Throughout SMART’s Silver Anniversary year and into the future, we will honor volunteers representing many types of individual service.


Our 25 in 25 Spotlight Volunteers

We are pleased to recognize the following 25 in 25 volunteers who have made significant contributions to SMART Recovery since its beginning. Please check back often, as more volunteers will be added to this list.

Do you know of someone deserving? Click here to nominate them for special recognition.

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William M. Abbott, M.D.

Bill Abbott’s service to SMART Recovery illustrates the multiple ways that a volunteer can contribute – as a facilitator, educator, advocate, and promoter. A former surgeon and M.D. affiliated with the Harvard Medical School, Bill and founding president Joe Gerstein, M.D. introduced SMART meetings into hospitals throughout Massachusetts, including virtually all the leading ones.

Read more about Bill’s contributions to SMART Recovery.

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Dr. F. Michler Bishop

Dr. F. Michler Bishop is one of the founders of SMART Recovery. He became involved in the precursor to SMART Recovery, a program called Rational Recovery, around 1990, when Jack Trimpey asked him and a group of fellow REBT and CBT addiction psychologists to help launch a new, alternative self-help program. After a brief period of minor impact, the group dissolved but quickly reformed under the current umbrella of SMART Recovery, where key tenets of the program, such as the 4-Points and their supporting tools for behavior change, were delineated by Dr. Bishop.

Read about Dr. Bishop’s immense contributions in the early days of SMART.

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Dr. Richard Bozian

Dr. Richard Bozian recently celebrated his 100th birthday. As he enters his second century of life, this SMART Recovery superhero has many successes to reflect on.  He came to SMART Recovery in 1994 and quickly immersed himself in a variety of volunteer opportunities. “He knows everybody. Dick has a great deal of knowledge about the program, and he makes people want to come back.”  In 2015, Dr. Bozian received the Joe Gerstein Special Award for Exemplary Service to SMART Recovery. Dr. Bozian’s insights have provided clarity and purpose for those in recovery and those helping them along the way.

Read about Dr. Bozian’s rich history with SMART Recovery.

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Alexander A. Cardé

Alexander A. Cardé, Regional Coordinator for New Jersey, is one of those volunteers who employs all of his talents to make a difference. Whether he’s facilitating a face-to-face meeting, lending his IT skills to an online tool, moderating management calls for facilitators and trainees, or taking photographs to capture SMART Recovery events, Cardé inspires others with his overall enthusiasm and his passion for the program and its many tools for recovery.

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Hugh Delaney

Hugh Delaney’s impact in Baltimore and the mid-Atlantic region has been substantial and ongoing. In late 2016 Hugh initiated the BmoreSMART project to start SMART meetings in lower socio-economic areas of Baltimore. He trained more than 100 professional counselors and peer recovery specialists as SMART meeting Facilitators and, in 2017 alone, BmoreSMART launched 14 meetings.

Read more about Hugh’s impact on SMART Recovery in his region and to the overall organization.

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Anne DeMarzo

Because of research done for herself and her family, Anne DeMarzo found SMART Recovery. Over time she began facilitating Family & Friends meetings and wanted to help get the word about SMART to more people. She worked to obtain a grant to fund the purchase of 320 handbooks and 25 facilitator training scholarships to help grow SMART’s Family & Friends program in the Staten Island area. And, she has helped SMART grow a partnership with Tackling Youth Substance Abuse (TYSA), a group of people and organizations united to decrease substance abuse among the youth of Staten Island. 

Read more about Anne DeMarzo’s impact on the SMART Family & Friends program.

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Barry Grant

Barry Grant’s personal success with the InsideOut program inspired his purpose as an “instrument of transformation.” In his work as a counselor for over 15 years, Barry works to help inmates find the same success he experienced. Barry is a gifted motivational speaker whose speeches illustrate how he has used his journey to help others, and how he views SMART as an important piece of that journey.

Read more about Barry’s significant contributions to SMART Recovery and its InsideOut program.

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Lorie H. (Hammer)

Lorie H. (aka “Hammer” in SROL) has been instrumental in sharing the SMART Recovery 4-Point Program® with groups of addiction treatment professionals across the country through live training sessions. As part of this effort, Lorie was instrumental in developing our InsideOut curriculum, which is taught as one of our On-Site Training options.

Click here to read more about the commitment, contributions and laughs that Lorie H. has brought to SMART Recovery.

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Doug Hanshaw

Doug Hanshaw facilitated mutual aid meetings for addictive behavior before SMART Recovery was even established. Doug has continued this passion for helping those struggling with addiction throughout his career and in many meaningful volunteer roles with SMART.

Click here to read more about the deep commitment that Doug has shown to SMART Recovery and the addiction space as a whole.

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Jerianne Klein

Jerianne Klein tried “tough love” approaches to deal with her loved one’s substance abuse issues. Support groups and one-on-one sessions left her feeling directionless. Searching for a family-focused option that would instill hope, Jerianne discovered SMART Recovery. “I held onto every word,” she says.

Click to read more about how Jerianne’s journey lead to new paths for recovery.

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David Koss

As regional coordinator of the Greater Washington Area of SMART Recovery, which includes Delaware, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., Koss has been instrumental in facilitating face-to-face meetings, coordinating a successful Regional Conference, promoting the organization through marketing and outreach activities, and communicating with members of Congress and their staffs, with the goal of bringing about greater awareness of SMART Recovery’s work in addressing the addiction crisis.

Click here to read about David’s extensive efforts to further the SMART Recovery mission in the D.C. area and around the nation.

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Kathy Lang

For over six years, Kathy Lang has been an online SMART facilitator for Family & Friends.  In a former career, Kathy was a social worker.  It wasn’t until coping with a family member’s addictionthat she realized the information and help available to family and friends through SMART Recovery.   


Click here to read more about Kathy’s journey to SMART Recovery.

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Gayeane “Sam” Lester

Whether she is facilitating online or face-to-face meetings or training other volunteers to employ empathy and patience with participants, Gayeane “Sam” Lester embodies the SMART Recovery mission. With humility and insight, she uses her own experiences with addiction and recovery to help guide others. Lester’s willingness to assist with the launch of the Get SMART FAST Training Program was a major reason for the success of this SMART Recovery Tool. While Lester continues to help others, she is always quick to realize the many ways that being a SMART Recovery volunteer positively affects her own life.

Click here to read more about Sam’s meaningful in-person and online efforts to grow SMART Recovery’s impact.

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Charles Novak

Charles Novak, MS, MLADC, learned about rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) while in prison. The approach to overcoming addiction made sense to him, but when his five-year sentence ended, Novak discovered there wasn’t a similar treatment readily available. “There only seemed to be 12-step programs,” he recalls. While studying to be an addictions counselor, he learned more about SMART Recovery. And it really clicked.

Click to read more about how Charles is sharing SMART Recovery in his community. 

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Shelly Parr

To find an avenue for overcoming alcohol misuse, Shelly Parr recalls she “Googled ‘nonreligious alcohol help’ and SMART was the first thing that popped up — thank goodness.”  That was more than six years ago. Since then, Shelly has embraced the power of choice afforded her by SMART Recovery. “I got my old life back and a whole lot of new life,” she enthuses.

Click to read more about Shelly’s ways to keep connected with the SMART community.  

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Maggie Reilly

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.”

Click to read more about Maggie’s effort to helping SMART Recovery expand in her community.

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Claire Johnson Saenz

As a lawyer and the wife of a clinical psychologist, Claire Johnson Saenz had observed that behavioral change is a deeply personal process and believed that addiction recovery support programs should reflect and embrace that reality. As a tireless volunteer for SMART Recovery, Saenz has served on boards and offered her legal expertise, extolling the many benefits of the SMART Recovery program.

Click to read more about Claire’s tremendous efforts to advance SMART Recovery USA, UK, and International through her contributions.

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Karen Saunders

“I struggled with alcohol 24/7. It was in my blood,” Karen says. In her 50’s she decided enough was enough, but traditional programs would not do for this self-proclaimed numbers person. Then she found SMART Recovery. “The stats, facts, and science resonated with me. I realized I’m not powerless. I have the power within me.” 
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Siddalls - SMART RecoveryCharles and Richard Siddall

Carol and Richard Siddall work together to support SMART in numerous ways: running local meetings, representing SMART at local recovery events, speaking to local groups about SMART, and encouraging new volunteers to start new meetings, including the first SMART meeting in South Korea. They lend a hand as needed to organize local volunteers for outreach projects in Washington, D.C., and locally, and assisted in launching IT upgrades in the SMART Online Community.
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Charles True

Perhaps Charles True’s biggest contribution to SMART has come in his connection to InsideOut®, SMART’s program for correctional settings. Charles and Ron Lott, another star volunteer in the Houston-area, worked diligently to introduce InsideOut into the state prison system and, because of their success, have recently been granted full access to Texas prison facilities.
The two recently also recently modified the original SMART Recovery InsideOut® program, and coauthored and released Successful Life Skills, a meeting-ready format to help volunteers more confidently facilitate meeting discussions in a correctional environment.
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Jonathan von Breton (JVB)

Jonathan has helped SMART Recovery achieve many milestones over the years, but perhaps the most impactful to our organization was helping to create and maintain the SMART Recovery Online (SROL) Community. His education and work experience made him the ideal candidate to serve in the volunteer role of Professional Advisor for the fledgling SROL Community when it started 20 years ago.

Read more about JVB’s experience with SMART Recovery.

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David Weidman

David Weidman is fond of a quote by past SMART Recovery president Dr. Tom Horvath: “There are as many paths to recovery as there are people trying to recover.”  For Weidman, a nontheist who wanted to conquer his OxyContin addiction on his own terms, the path to recovery led directly to SMART. 
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Michael Werner

Michael Werner’s roots go back to the Rational Recovery days, but he recently started meetings in several major North Carolina hospitals and rehabilitation centers. He quickly became a spokesperson for the program by supporting a burgeoning meeting network in Chicago and became a teacher, facilitator, and mentor of new recruits. Despite a serious chronic medical problem, he never slowed down advocating for SMART.