As a social worker, Kathy Lang had experience helping people through difficult situations, but she had no training in addiction. When her son became addicted to opioids following a surgery, Kathy was thrust into the position of trying to help her son while also holding her family together.
Several unsuccessful attempts at recovery had left the family despondent, until her son announced that he was at last ready to get the help he so desperately needed. As the story so often goes, however, it would be a painful journey for the family to ultimately discover the benefits of SMART Recovery.
While in recovery, Kathy’s son introduced his family to SMART Recovery. Impressed, Kathy decided to become a SMART Recovery volunteer. She was most interested in letting families understand that they shouldn’t wait until a loved one hits their rock bottom before getting assistance to cope with the confusion and hurt parents and other loved ones often experience.
Today, Kathy is a leader in the Family & Friends program. “Here at SMART for Family & Friends, [families] discover that their behaviors and the loved one’s addictive behavior have something in common,” she notes. “Both minimize discomfort but only for the moment.
” The choice to move away from this behavior and toward “the more rewarding path of recovery” is theirs.
Kathy facilitates weekly online meetings and assists in the development of training for Family & Friends volunteers. In addition, she has written extensively about the Family & Friends program for the SMART Recovery blog and newsletter and has given presentations in her community. In her talks, Kathy often focuses on the toxic atmosphere that can arise in a family struggling with addiction. She points to the tools that Family & Friends provides, tools that give loved ones hope and a guide for strength and empowerment. “So many people are struggling to find help,” she said. “Something we have learned is that it’s critical to provide that help early… before relationships with loved ones have been poisoned by fear, anger, pain and suffering.”
We thank Kathy for her continued dedication to SMART Recovery
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.