A guest blog by Sam29
Where to begin? I cannot express enough gratitude for the opportunities that SMART Recovery has given me over the years. This most recent one is why I continue to connect with this community.
I was assigned to conduct an onsite Facilitator Training session at a meeting facility in Duncan City on southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Being a landed emigrant in Canada in 1958, this brought me back to my “homeland” which was more than fulfilling on its own. What I didn’t expect was the culture of the First Nation to fill me with such peace.
While there were a few Huli’tun Health Society employees, most of the trainees represented tribes of the First Nation – a predominantly indigenous people in Canada, south of the Arctic Circle. Over the two-day training I was privileged to experience insight, support, understanding, and a connection with a culture of loving people. The icing on the cake was that they and their Elders who attended the training found the same connection. All of what SMART offers is similar to what the Elders’ teachings are focused on. What they didn’t expect was how non-judgmental and supportive SMART is for all who are in need, whether it be because of addictive substances or behaviors. They also could see that this was a way to help their people.
Throughout the two days, the trainees and Elders participated in tool training, role playing, and all the lessons offered to teach them how to conduct a SMART Recovery meeting in their community, or use the concepts of SMART in their work as trained facilitators. What was so empowering for them was the ability to incorporate SMART for their own wellbeing. Most of the trainees represented/worked in a professional support system. They were absolutely stunned that they would be able to run meetings as facilitators (not as professionals), and that they were not responsible to “fix” anyone. They could remove their professional coats and just ensure the flow of a SMART Recovery Meeting. They could put their feet up!
At the end of the training I was asked to allow the Elders to conduct a gift giving ceremony. I accepted this as I had accepted moments throughout the training when the Elders asked permission to speak to their people. Their purpose was to support them in the decision they had made to incorporate SMART Recovery into their lives and to help those who were in dire need of change. Their people are suffering as they have over many years because of their disconnection to their country. This was brought on by insistence of segregation into reservations, residential schools, and overall separation of their heritage from the rest of Canada.
The ceremony at the end of the training was given by the Elders. Each trainee was given thanks through a beaded eagle feather made by the Chief/Elder’s nephew, who is now a trained facilitator for SMART Recovery. He and his wife painstakingly hand beaded each of the feathers. The gifts were a thank you to the group for taking the training, and to me for conducting the training and bringing SMART Recovery into their First Nation community. I also received a wood carving and handmade earrings.
I felt special, but I also felt something I did not expect. I felt as one with them, but most importantly, I felt at peace with the hope that the world would someday feel as one.
Interested in learning more about our Onsite Facilitator Training?
Have a group of 10 or more individuals in your organization who need to be trained in SMART Recovery’s unique approach? Through our Onsite Facilitator Training, training is completed on-site in just two days, providing attendees the ability to facilitate a SMART meeting and/or use the SMART tools and techniques with clients immediately following the training.