[Note: updated FAQ’s appear below original post]
The recently announced closure of the SMART Recovery OnLine platform (SROL) has caused some concern in the community, which is understandable. At the time that it was developed, SROL was a community ahead of its time, allowing individuals to come together with one another online as they worked to overcome problematic behaviors. It has served as an important source of support for many over the past decades.
The technology underlying the SROL platform is out of date and unsupported by vendors. Social media and interactive technologies have advanced while SROL has not. The world has moved on to hosted technology solutions that are maintained as a service for multiple organizations rather than costly homegrown software like SROL that is built and maintained for one organization. The decision to gradually close the platform in a controlled manner over the course of six weeks was determined to be a more responsible decision than allowing the platform to just fail at some point in the future.
The most important thing is that all SROL meetings have the opportunity to be be migrated to either National or Local online meetings in the SMARTfinder meeting management system, depending on the preferences of the meeting facilitators. That work is already underway with our Meetings and Volunteers Team. There are certain requirements for National meetings, including a requirement that the meetings stay focused on SMART Recovery rather than other topics. Best practices for National meetings have been refined over the last several months, and support will be provided to all facilitators to help them get their meetings transitioned effectively.
Those who use the message boards and chat in SROL are encouraged to explore other platforms to stay connected. Active SMART Recovery communities exist on Reddit, Facebook, and other platforms. Individuals could also choose to start their own communities with others they’ve become connected with through SROL. Please note that SMART Recovery cannot be responsible for what takes place in third-party spaces, but we do expect that they NOT be used in a way that impairs the confidentiality of any SMART Recovery meetings.
We understand that changes like this can be hard. However, it’s important to keep innovating as an organization so that we can continue meeting the needs of future generations of individuals looking to build balanced lives free of problematic behaviors.
Q: Does the closing of SROL mean that there will be no more online meetings?
A: Not at all! In fact, we have over 500 online meetings available on SMARTfinder waiting to provide support and connection. The only meetings impacted by this change are the 42 that required SROL registration to participate, and those meetings can transition to SMARTfinder if they want to.
Q: Will the SMART Recovery website and its resources still exist?
A: Absolutely! The valuable resources available on the website, including our Toolbox, will remain available after June 30th.
Q: How will this change impact my local meeting?
A: With the closure of SROL, more participants may now discover local meetings through SMARTfinder. As a result, you may witness an increase in attendance. Hopefully, this will provide a fresh source of support and connection for your local recovery community.
Q: How will participants build community without SROL?
A: Building a community of self-empowerment remains at the core of SMART Recovery. Central to that community has always been our meetings, both in-person and online. Volunteers and participants may choose to explore SMART-inspired communities of connection on other platforms to reinforce what they learn in meetings. Such communities exist on reddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/SMARTRecovery/) , Facebook, and Discord, to name a few options.
Q. As a local volunteer, how can I help?
A: As we work to transition our SROL meetings to SMARTfinder, we need additional co-facilitators. The role of co-facilitator in a national meeting is to provide support to both the facilitator and the participants, not to lead the meeting. If you are interested in helping out or just want to learn more, please fill out this form.