SMART program tackles addiction in Cowichan Valley

Looking for help dealing with your addictive behaviours?

Looking for help dealing with your addictive behaviours?

A free self-help program for those who have chosen or are considering abstinence from addictive behaviours, whether they are substance abuse or addictive activities, is now being offered in the Cowichan Valley.

The program is called SMART, an acronym for self management and recovery training.

SMART is a nation-wide, non-profit network of abstinence-based self-help groups that use cognitive-behavioural methods of behavioural change.

Dave Street, who facilitates the SMART program in the Cowichan Valley, said the program is a recognized alternative to the traditional 12-step programs, and was brought to the valley in March at the request of Duncan Mental Health and Addiction Services.

“SMART is not spiritual healing and is very different from the traditional 12-step approaches,” said Street, a retired high school principal and counsellor who trained in the SMART approach.

“Instead of labelling people as having a disease, being powerless, in denial or in need of lifelong meeting attendance, SMART recovery emphasizes self responsibility, self motivation and self discipline as the primary means of stopping one’s troublesome substance use.”

Street said it’s about retraining one’s self to cope with problems and enjoy life without using substances.

The Cowichan Valley group meets every Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the New Life Baptist Church on Tzouhalem Road. Anyone interested is welcome to drop by.