Below, we’ve addressed our most frequently asked questions (FAQs):

Do I need to sign up before I attend my first meeting?
There is no need to sign up in advance. Just show up!
I want to just observe a meeting and not necessarily participate (this includes students). Is that OK?
Yes. No one is ever required to speak or give their name at SMART Recovery meetings.
Is there any charge to participate in SMART Recovery?
All of our meetings are free. We do collect donations at the end of the meeting, all of which go to support the non-profit organization at the national and local level. Donations are requested but are not required.
Is the meeting schedule posted on the website up to date? Should I call to confirm that a meeting is running?
The meeting schedule is kept up to date on our website, so there is no need to confirm.
Are there any other SMART Recovery meetings in San Diego besides the ones on the current schedule?
The meetings on the website are the only meetings that we are currently running in San Diego County. We are always looking to start more meetings, and we welcome volunteers. If you have an idea of a facility or facilitators that could host a meeting, please let us know !
Are there “open meetings” and “closed meetings?" Which meetings may I attend?
ALL San Diego SMART Recovery meetings are free and open to everyone, including:

  • individuals in recovery from any type of or combination of addictive behaviors
  • individuals who are not sure if they need help with changing their behavior
  • individuals who are court-mandated to attend meetings (we can provide verification of attendance)
  • individuals who are there to support their loved ones (such as family members or friends) or to learn about SMART Recovery so that they can encourage others to attend
  • students or anyone else interested in learning about SMART Recovery and self-help programs
Are there meetings for beginners?
Newcomers and beginners are welcome at all of our meetings. There are no meetings specifically for beginners, but it could be helpful to say during the initial check-in that you are a beginner or first-timer, so that the facilitator and other group members are aware. You are always welcome to ask questions about SMART Recovery during meetings or before and after meetings.
What should I expect at my first meeting?
We always do a check-in at the beginning of the meeting during which you may introduce yourself if you would like, and explain why you’re there. After check-in we set an agenda for the discussion period based on the needs of the group at that time.  During the discussion period we teach SMART Recovery coping skills and discuss how to apply them to specific situations in recovery.
Are the meetings completely anonymous? Do I have sign in or give my name?
The meetings are anonymous. There is no requirement to give your name or your reason for attending. It’s OK to “pass” (remain silent) during initial check-in or at any other point in the meeting.  There are no sign in sheets.
I've been mandated to attend self-help meetings due to the consequences of my substance abuse, and I'd like try SMART Recovery. Can you provide me with some kind of certificate to prove that I'm participating in your program?
We don’t issue certificates per se, but we can verify each meeting that you attend. If a legal agency, treatment program, etc. has given you an attendance verification form, bring that with you when you go to our meetings; our meeting leaders will be glad to sign it for you. If you don’t already have an attendance form, you can print out a copy of our own meeting attendance form.
I am not personally struggling with addictive behaviors, but I would like to attend a meeting to support a loved one or to learn more about self-help groups. Is that OK?
It certainly is. All of the meetings in San Diego are open to all. SMART Recovery also has specific resources particularly for friends and family of those struggling with addictive behaviors: http://www.smartrecovery.org/resources/family.htm
How can I prepare for my first meeting?
All you need to do is show up!

However, in order to get the greatest benefit from the self-empowering approach used in our meetings, it can be helpful to learn, outside of meetings, more about SMART Recovery.

We have basic information about SMART Recovery here on this site, and our national website contains a vast amount of helpful resources.

In addition to studying the national website, for more in depth information we also highly recommend purchasing the SMART Recovery Handbook. It is often available at our meetings ($10), and you can also purchase it online here.

I’m interested in volunteering with SMART Recovery and/or starting a new meeting in the San Diego area. How do I get started?

We welcome volunteers! We provide thorough training to our volunteers, and volunteers are essential to the services that we provide. For more information about volunteering, feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

I am in crisis now and/or need treatment referrals. Who can I speak to right now?
Please call the San Diego County Crisis and Access line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 800-479-3339.
There are no meetings that are convenient to where I live and/or my schedule. How can I participate in SMART Recovery?
We try to provide as many groups as possible, but we are limited by the amount of trained facilitators available in the area. We welcome you to start a meeting. We will provide training and ongoing support! If our in-person meetings are not convenient, there are multiple options for participation, including online message boards, our local blog, and online voice and text chat meetings.
I have other questions about SMART Recovery.

Feel free to send us an email from the contact page. We are here to help! 

The SMART San Diego website is sponsored by Practical Recovery

Practical Recovery provides self-empowering (non-12-step) outpatient services in San Diego, including individual, family, and group therapy, and an innovative alternative to residential treatment.

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