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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 addiction, that she realized the information and help available to family and friends through SMART Recovery.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.