Addiction recovery options

You probably know that there are many in the community who struggle with substance abuse issues. Our Fresno LGBT Community Center hosts weekly meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous on Tuesdays at 7:00 PM and Crystal Meth Anonymous on Sundays at 6:00 PM for those who are interested.

If you’re interested in exploring another option—one that is secular and makes inclusion of LGBT (and all minority) people a priority—check out SMART Recovery, the resource I chose when I decided it was time to stop drinking.

SMART Recovery’s Four Point Program offers specific tools and techniques for each of the four points of the program:

  • Building and maintaining motivation
  • Coping with urges
  • Managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
  • Living a balanced life

The program is based on Albert Ellis’s pioneering form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), called Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT).

The meetings are typically very positive and interactive. Unlike AA/NA meetings, SMART encourages cross-talk, and the focus is always on helping people cope with current issues.

SMART differs from AA in two important ways. First, it is secular. Religious beliefs are not a part of the program. Whether you want to keep your faith personal, you have a faith other than Christianity, or have no faith at all, rest assured you are welcome and will not be told you cannot succeed. Second, SMART does not teach in individual powerlessness. On the contrary, SMART’s focus is on empowerment of the individual.

Studies on the efficacy of self-help groups indicate that a support group should match one’s view of life closely for best results. If you are the kind of person who believes that a higher power can and should alleviate your addiction issues, you’ll probably do better at AA/NA. If you believe it is your responsibility to take control of your problem, you’d probably be better off at SMART or one of the other secular self-help groups.

Currently there are two weekly SMART Recovery meetings held in Fresno.

Tuesday 8:00-9:00 PM

Kaiser Permanente Hospital

The Sierra Conference Room 3rd Floor

David Roberts

(559) 213-0098

[email protected]

Wednesday 8:00 PM

4785 First St., Fresno 93726

Sonora room at Kaiser

Thom Maslowski

(559) 281-7558

[email protected]

I have just finished training to become a facilitator as well and will be starting a new meeting in a more central location soon. Meetings are free but small donations are requested.

SMART Recovery also has a great online presence, including information, chat rooms, message boards, online meetings, etc. You can read more about the organization or participate online at

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