When Cynthia Moore realized that she had to either deal with her destructive cocaine addiction or lose her successful business, she decided to get help. That was in 1984, when SMART Recovery didn’t yet exist. However, one of the foundations of SMART did exist: Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT). Through a series of encounters with a string of progressive female physicians, Cynthia was connected to an REBT specialist who had worked directly with psychologist Albert Ellis, the creator of REBT.

Cynthia was told it would be difficult to make changes, but she embraced the work, thinking she had nothing to lose. It was difficult to address the significant trauma in her background, but she was fortunate to have incredibly skilled help. “Trauma work can be a life-transforming experience,” she says. “However, you have to be prepared for the emotional challenges.” Eventually Cynthia stopped misusing cocaine and got on with her life. She now believes that although achieving recovery alone is possible, it is very difficult to do.

Fast forward more than 30 years, and Cynthia faced another crisis. Her son was misusing alcohol and other substances, getting into legal trouble, and living on the streets. Her family was at a loss but heard about an Indigenous program in the southwest U.S. for young people in trouble that included parents. After a clumsy family intervention and a huge scene at the airport that involved customs authorities, the family made it to Arizona.

It was in this program that Cynthia first heard about Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT), which provides support for families, while teaching behavioral and motivational strategies for interacting with loved ones. Eventually it was CRAFT that led her to SMART Recovery.

Although her son had setbacks after he returned to Toronto, Cynthia was intrigued and impressed by SMART’s principles and practices. In 2012, she decided to train in SMART facilitation and to start the first meeting in Toronto. She also earned certification from the Ellis Institute and took courses with Bill Miller on Motivational Interviewing, and she is now a CRAFT Family Counselor. Cynthia continues to help run both 4-Point and Family & Friends SMART meetings in Toronto. She has been the Regional Coordinator in Ontario for over 12 years, building partnerships and mentoring others in the community.

Cynthia’s motivation to work in the recovery field is rooted in empathy for others. The most effective aspect of SMART, she feels, is that it is inclusive and nonjudgmental. “My work is about helping others so that they don’t have to go through what my family went through. When people are ready to make the changes necessary, SMART Recovery can guide them to a life beyond addiction. It’s really about community spirit, genuine peer support, and providing a safe space for people to start the healing process.”

 

 

 

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