SMART Conference 2017 “Rising Strong”

Join us September 22-24 in Ft. Lauderdale
by Bill Greer, SMART Board Member

We are looking forward to seeing you in sunny Florida at #SMARTcon2017 as we celebrate National Recovery Month.

Under the theme Rising Strong, the 2017 SMART Recovery Annual Conference features numerous training and learning opportunities for SMART meeting facilitators, recovery professionals and others dedicated to helping people overcome addictions.

The theme recognizes SMART’s exponential growth to more than 2,400 weekly meetings in over 20 countries – up from less than 700 as recently as 2011.


The event will take place September 22-24 at the GALLERYone DoubleTree Suites hotel in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

The program highlights:

  • Results from the NIH-funded Peer Alternatives (PAL) study. Did you take part in the PAL Study comparing the “Effects of Involvement in SMART Recovery, Women for Sobriety, LifeRing and 12-Step Groups on Substance Use Outcomes Over Time?” The results of the study will be presented publicly for the first time by PAL research team leader Sarah Zemore, Ph.D., of the Alcohol Research Group.Be the first to know: Dr. Zemore’s presentation will include not only her published paper, but she will also be reporting important additional data which has not yet been published.
  • Valuable guidance for facilitators – “Guerrilla Tactics for the Hostile, Difficult, Disengaged, and Over-Engaged Participant- Part 2” – by Psychologist David Saenz, Ph.D., Ed.M., a popular speaker at SMART conferences.
  • “Growing SMART in Urban Areas,” based on the pioneering Baltimore initiative BMore SMART led by Hugh Delaney, a former regional coordinator and long-time SMART advocate.
  • “CheckUp & Choices,” an interactive web app to help people achieve and maintain abstinence based on SMART’s 4-Point Program®. Research funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has proven its effectiveness. Project Director and Clinical Psychologist William Campbell IV, Ph.D., will present ongoing work on this and other web apps to help people overcome addictions.
  • Breakout sessions – Using SMART for addiction professionals; Introducing meetings in correctional facilities and drug courts; and Growing the SMART organization.
  • Inspiration: insight into SMART’s recent growth surge in Canada – nearing 200 meetings – by Prince Edward Island Facilitator Colleen Van Westerneng, who helped bring SMART to Canada’s smallest province, will be sharing her inspirational story of how SMART benefited her personally.
  • Presentations on the Science Behind Mindfulness in Addiction Recovery by Bill Abbott, M.D. FACS, a Professor Emeritus of Harvard Medical School, and a long-time SMART facilitator and professional advisor in New England; and on Secular Conversions in Recovery by SMART President Joe Gerstein, M.D., FACP and retired Harvard Medical School Assistant Professor.
  • Secular conversions are dramatic, life-changing, ecstatic events that result in an abrupt shift in recovery mode and induce a situation in which people no longer suffer from urges. The presentation will include some fascinating case reports and comparisons with religious conversion, temporal lobe epileptic seizures, LSD trips and “Peak Experiences” of Abraham Maslow.

The Joseph Gerstein Award for Exemplary Service by a SMART volunteer will be presented at the luncheon on Saturday, September 23.

Registration for the conference and Hotel Information is available on our website.

We look forward to seeing you in Florida!


Friday: Come early for an afternoon Waterway Cruise; evening showing of ‘Generation Found’ Documentary

Friday afternoon will feature your choice of a short cruise or fun on the beach. The Carrie B Cruise of Fort Lauderdale’s intracoastal waterways and Port Everglades is available on Friday afternoon (tickets: $30). Trip Advisor gives this cruise a five-star rating. Or enjoy the beautiful beaches and tour the Hugh Taylor Birch State Park with extensive trails and a lagoon. Water taxis are available to transport you around the area.

Friday evening will feature a casual dinner followed by the award-winning documentary “Generation Found” by Greg Williams, focusing on drug-free high schools, which are becoming a solution to addiction problems among teenagers.


Sunday: Special Conference Workshop on Motivational Interviewing

SMARTcon2017 attendees can sharpen their Motivational Interviewing skills at an optional workshop 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 24, led by Lori Eickleberry, Ph.D., ABPP, Board Certified in Behavioral and Cognitive Psychology, and Founder of three clinics, including the Motivational Institute for Behavioral Health, LLC. There is a $50 fee for this workshop.

“Dr. Lori” has conducted numerous presentations, workshops and professional trainings in Motivational Interviewing for government and private institutions and is a certified member of the international Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT).

All participants will receive a certificate indicating completion of six hours of MI Training by a MINT-authorized trainer.  Certificates for six hours of CEUs will be available at no extra cost for those who qualify including all Florida-Licensed Psychologists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Licensed Mental Health Counselors. For Florida professionals, Dr. Eickleberry will provide the names to the CE Broker who reports credits to the state. She is an approved Continuing Education Provider by the Florida Board of Psychology and the Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling (CE broker #50-19004).

Registration for the conference and Hotel Information is available on our website.

We look forward to seeing you in Florida!

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