25 in 25 Volunteer Spotlight – Karen

“I struggled with alcohol 24/7. It was in my blood,” Karen says. In her 50’s she decided enough was enough, but traditional programs would not do for this self-proclaimed numbers person. Then she found SMART Recovery. “The stats, facts, and science resonated with me. I realized I’m not powerless. I have the power within me.” 

Karen was introduced to SMART Recovery in 2014 while participating in an inpatient program in the San Diego area. She found the SMART approach and the local SMART community to be an ideal resource for supporting her recovery.  

SMART’s tools and its goal to help individuals live healthier, more balanced lives without addiction is what keeps Karen active and interested in SMART Recovery.  She has taken on many volunteer roles over the years with SMART Recovery San Diego, which is a very active regional group. She is currently the Outreach and Promotions Committee Chair, responsible for promoting SMART Recovery to individuals and organizations in the area. She coordinates  SMART’s participation in recovery-related events throughout the year to introduce more people to SMART Recovery. “We put out a bowl of Smarties–get it?” she says. “We give out brochures, explain SMART’s self-empowering approach to recovery, and answer questions.” 

She  believes in the value of the social aspect of SMART as a great way of attracting and keeping participants and volunteers engaged. “We have game nights. We go bowling. We go to Padres games. We make recovery a social experience,” Karen  says. “Anyone can participate.” 

For Karen, it’s about more than sharing her passion for SMART Recovery. The San Diego group has become a close-knit community she can rely on. “We don’t talk politics or anything like that. There’s zero judgment,” she says. “We congratulate and try to educate.” 

An active person, Karen volunteers at a number of organizations around San Diego in an effort to give back. She finds her work with SMART Recovery San Diego to be particularly personal and rewarding.

“Addiction doesn’t discriminate,” she says. “I got sober. I was fortunate. And I want to give back to people until I can no longer do it.” 

Thank you, Karen for your dedicated involvement in the
SMART community.

About the 25 in 25 Volunteer Recognition Program 

SMART Recovery celebrates its 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 thousands of group meetings around the world. Each year, participants in these groups help each other recover in-person and online and online meetings led by volunteers trained how to use the SMART program. 

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

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