25 in 25 Volunteer Spotlight: Hugh Delaney

Throughout SMART’s 25th Anniversary year, culminating in our National Conference September 20–22 in Itasca, Illinois, we will honor volunteers representing many types of individual service.


Hugh Delaney’s impact in Baltimore and the mid-Atlantic region has been substantial and ongoing.

Hugh Delaney is an individual in long-term recovery and has not had a drink since 2007. He achieved recovery by completing the Kolmac Outpatient Recovery Center treatment program (in the Columbia, Maryland area) and by participating in SMART Recovery meetings.

“Hugh is a public champion of recovery,” said Bill Greer, current SMART Recovery Board President. “In his extensive volunteer efforts, he has served as one of SMART’s most effective advocates and educators in countless presentations to college and graduate school classes on addiction, community agencies considering adding a SMART-oriented approach to their services, treatment professionals, and in SMART meetings themselves.”

Hugh’s impact on the mid-Atlantic region, and Baltimore specifically, has been substantial and ongoing. Since becoming a SMART volunteer in 2007, he has:

  • Facilitated more than 400 SMART meetings
  • Served as SMART’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator from 2010-2013launching meetings and recruiting and mentoring new facilitators
  • Delivered presentations on SMART in 2013 and 2017 at the Tuerk Conference on Addiction Treatment, sponsored by the Maryland chapter of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD)
  • Shared his expertise as a facilitator and innovative growth initiatives at the SMART national conference in 2011, 2014 and 2017

In late 2016 Hugh initiated the BmoreSMART project to start numerous SMART meetings in lower socio-economic areas of Baltimore, where opioid addiction has had a devastating impact long predating the current epidemic. He trained more than 100 professional counselors and peer recovery specialists as SMART meeting Facilitators with funding from the Behavioral Health Systems of Baltimore and Howard County Mental Health Authority. In 2017 alone, BmoreSMART launched 14 meetings.

In addition, Hugh helped introduce SMART Recovery’s very first face-to-face Family & Friends meetings. The initial one was held in Columbia, MD, in 2011, under Hugh’s direction. There are now more than 100 Family & Friends meetings worldwide. These meetings, based on CRAFT (Community Reinforcement And Family Training, developed by Robert Meyers, Ph.D.), emphasize 1) how family members can care for themselves despite having an addicted family member, and 2) how to help the addicted family member seek treatment in a positive, nonjudgmental way.

“Serving as president of SMART for 20 years, I have observed the efforts of hundreds of volunteers,” said founding president Joe Gerstein, MD. “Hugh’s efforts, initiative, creativity, persistence and successes have only rarely been matched.”

Outside of SMART Recovery, Hugh attained two college degrees related to addiction recovery, and he has supported the national effort to reduce the stigma surrounding behavioral health issues and to promote healing as SMART’s representative to SAMHSA’s National Recovery Month Planning Partners group.

Recognizing his extensive outreach and educational efforts, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence–Maryland honored Hugh with its Unsung Hero award in 2012.

“After the foundation was laid, attending SMART Recovery meetings helped me by adding the brick and mortar to my recovery house,” said Hugh. “Eventually the time came to have an open house and share with others what I had learned in the SMART program. Becoming a meeting facilitator was my way of giving back and helping others build their recovery house. I am so appreciative of the founders and many other volunteers who have built and continue to support SMART so that I can proudly offer my sober mansion to everyone.”

Hugh, we thank you for your tremendous contributions to SMART Recovery and larger the field of addiction recovery. We are honored and humbled to have you as part of our team!

About the 25 in 25 Volunteer Recognition Program

The heart of SMART’s 25th  Anniversary celebration in 2019 is the story of an extraordinary community of volunteers who have built a worldwide organization devoted to supporting individuals recovering from addiction and their family members and friends. These volunteers include addiction scientists and treatment professionals who designed a self-empowering 4-Point Program® and joined people with the experience of recovery and trained them to lead mutual support group meetings.

Together they have created and refined a peer-professional mutual-support group model that combines the best science for treating addiction with the lived experience of recovering from addiction – the world’s largest and only community of this kind with more than 3,000 group meetings in 23 countries. Each year, participants in these groups help each other recover at more than 150,000 meetings, in-person and online, led by volunteers trained how to use the SMART program.

Throughout SMART’s 25th  Anniversary year, culminating in our National Conference September 20–22 in Itasca, Illinois, we will honor volunteers representing many types of individual service.

Click here to nominate a deserving individual.

Click here to learn more about the program and to see all who have been recognized.

About SMART Recovery

Founded in 1994, SMART (Self-Management and Recovery Training) uses science-based techniques that have proven to be effective in helping people recover from addiction problems involving any substance or behavior, including such things as alcohol, drugs, gambling, over-eating, shopping and internet use.

Each week, many thousands of people discuss recovery progress and challenges at more than 3,000 in-person meetings each week in 23 countries, daily online meetings and 24/7/365 internet message board forums and chat rooms.

Participants use SMART to assume responsibility for their own recovery and become empowered using its 4-Point Program®: building motivation; coping with urges; managing thoughts, feelings and behaviors; and living a balanced life.

For more information, please visit www.smartrecovery.org.

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