Member Spotlight: SMART Recovery Calgary

SMART Recovery

 (November 2017)

Interviewer: Agnes Odera, CommunityWise – Practicum Student.

Interviewee: Scott McKenzie, SMART Recovery – Director of Operations.

1.What is the name of your organization?

The name of our organization is SMART Recovery. SMART stands for Self-Management-And- Recovery-Training.  We are a self-help program that was established for ending addictive behaviours through abstinence based on science, reason, and humanistic values. We are an international non-profit organization run by both professionals and well trained volunteers.

2. Can you summarize what your organization’s main objectives are? What is your mission/vision/value(s) that your organization abides by?

Our main objective at SMART Recovery is to provide support and a scientific alternative for people who are seeking independence from alcohol, drugs, gambling, and other forms of substance abuse and addictive behaviours.

Our Program is Based on:

  1. Choice
  2. Personal Responsibility
  3. Proven Principles of Change
  4. Unconditional Self-Acceptance
  5. Science, Reason, and Humanist Values

Our 4-Point Program:

  1. Enhance and maintain motivation to abstain
  2. Cope with urges
  3. Manage thoughts, feelings, and behaviour
  4. Balance momentary and enduring satisfactions

3. How has your organization changed over time?

Our program has grown from one meeting a week with 4 to 5 participants to 7 meetings a week with 10 to 40 participants in attendance. Over the years, SMART has expanded to Airdrie, Red Dear, Edmonton, as well as other cities across Canada and we will continue to expand.

4. What is it like working/volunteering at  SMART Recovery, What is a typical day?

SMART is a free self-help program that holds 7 meetings per week. As noted earlier, we are a science based self-help program. Thus, two of the programs that we run are based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT). We are a non-confrontational ran program and our participants come from all walks of life.

Our weekly meetings are held at CommunityWise Resource Centre on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays (7:00 pm to 8:30 pm) as well as Saturdays (10:00 am to 11:30)

5). What are some challenges working/volunteering at SMART Recovery?

It is always a challenge to maintain a strong core of trained volunteer facilitators and finding suitable meeting locations to hold meetings. Due to the number of participants, we are always in need of volunteers.

 6). Are there any new projects you are working on at the moment?

SMART has recently introduced The Family and Friends Support Program, which helps families and friends who are affected by the addictions of loved ones. Though this program is fairly new, it attracts over 20 participants per meeting.

7). Is your organization hosting any events coming up soon that folks might be interested in?

SMART holds various presentations at Alberta Health Services Facilities. We are often present at the Renfrew Recovery Centre and the Landers Treatment center, in Claresholm, Alberta. We also have regular presentations at the University of Calgary and have been a part of Recovery Day Calgary.

8). Where can folks go for more information about your organization?

For more information on SMART Recovery and Tools for Recovery go to: or

For lists of local meetings: www.smartrecovery/meetungsdb/view/

For online meetings:

Locations and Contacts:

  • CommunityWise Resource Centre
  •         223-12th Avenue SW, Calgary, AB
  • Wellness Centre at South Health Campus
  •        4448 Front Street SE, Calgary, AB
  • For more information, contact Curtis at 403-619-4210

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