As SMART Recovery meeting facilitator Jeffry Muhleman sees it, the journey to a full-blown substance use disorder is never intentional. “The crazy thing is that when you take your first drink or first hit, nobody tries anything and says, wow, that’s so good I’m going to become addicted to that.”
For Jeffry, it began in 2008 at a New Year’s Eve party where he tried crystal meth for the first time. From there he tumbled down a twelve-year rabbit hole of substance use, bad choices, and legal trouble. Once he found SMART, his journey turned in a whole new direction.
Jeffry attended a variety of meetings and found that some resonated with his experiences more than others. Then he got to thinking, “Being an out gay man, I realized that there was really a need in the recovery community for meetings that are appropriate [for individuals who identify as LGBTQIA+].” Motivated by the value he found in SMART, he decided to become a facilitator and start a meeting specifically for members of the LGBTQIA+ community. But that didn’t mean he wanted to change the way SMART Recovery works.
Jeffry believes that SMART Recovery can work for anyone regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. That said, he also supports the availability of population-specific meetings. “The reason SMART offers meetings for the LGBTQIA+ community (and other groups) is to provide a forum where common experience and unique understanding inform the conversation.”
Jeffry notes that humans are inherently familial and social, and sharing recovery with those who can closely identify with one’s experience is very beneficial. He also points to the value of therapies that increase a person’s self-awareness and mindfulness, along with the use of SMART tools.
It all comes together in a supportive way for individuals, no matter their perspective or experience. Jeffry says every SMART meeting he’s attended has been safe, and the sheer variety of meetings creates a successful recovery pathway that is available to all.
As seen in Jeffry’s story, when one person decides to help another by giving of their time and energy, it makes a large impact. Jeffry took what he learned from participating in support group meetings and started his own meeting serving the LGBTQIA+ community. His contribution has made it possible for SMART to reach more individuals who are asking for support.
Your year-end financial contribution will be put to work immediately to make additional efforts like this possible. Like Jeffry, you will help more individuals embrace Life Beyond Addiction.
- Jeffry Muhleman Facilitator Spotlight video
- Jeffry Muhleman’s Guest Blog – Being in the LGBTQIA+ Community and Seeking Recovery
- SMART LGBTQIA+ Information
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