The SMART Recovery USA 2021-2022 Strategic Plan


Download a printable PDF of the SMART Recovery USA 2021-2022 Strategic Plan


SMART Recovery is a fresh approach to addiction recovery. Our 4-Point Program® was created for people seeking a self-empowering and science-based option for overcoming addictive problems. What has emerged is an accessible method of recovery, one grounded in science and strengthened by more than a quarter-century of practical experience.

Far too many people feel powerless over their lives and carry a sense of futility, a dread of staying trapped within an addiction pattern and locked into their circumstances. Our program is designed to empower them with the skills they need to overcome their addictions and transform their lives.

SMART stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training. This is more than an acronym: it is a transformative method of moving from addiction and self-harm to a life of positive self-regard and willingness to change.

In our mutual support meetings, offered online and in-person, participants learn how to develop and implement their own recovery plan to create a more balanced, purposeful, fulfilling, and meaningful life. They are empowered through the use of our 4-Point Program:

  1. Build and maintain motivation;
  2. Cope with urges;
  3. Manage thoughts, feelings, and behaviors;
  4. Live a balanced life.

SMART Recovery works. Whether an individual has chosen recovery as their path or been mandated to attend a recovery program, SMART provides a path to Life Beyond Addiction.


We are proud to be part of the changes our participants have made in their lives using our self- empowering tools and attending SMART Recovery meetings. But, in the United States, where only one in ten potential participants actively seeks recovery from addiction, there is much more work to do. With your help, we can close the gap between those who need recovery and those who benefit from our support.

SMART Recovery is leading the future of recovery. Here’s how:

  • The power of choice. No single solution will work for everyone, and the availability of multiple options for recovery support makes a critical difference in successful outcomes. SMART is the leading self- empowering program for additional recovery support.
  • SMART Recovery works for any addictive or negative behavior. In a SMART meeting, participants with various behaviors come together to model and learn new skills for recovery and master their own integrity and willingness to change.
  • Our meetings are non-judgmental and stigma-free. SMART views addiction as a behavior that can be corrected, not a condition that defines a person’s identity. We discourage the use of labels such as “addict” or “alcoholic.” Research has shown that labels undermine motivation for many people.
  • We don’t support the idea of “rock bottom”. We want to help people before their addiction has grown so severe that it is life-threatening. SMART Recovery for Family & Friends offers support for those with a loved one struggling with addiction. At SMART meetings, participants learn skills for coping with the anger, frustration, and anxiety that many experience. They also learn skills for improving communication, developing compassionate boundaries, and other ways to support their loved ones toward recovery.
  • SMART welcomes medication-assisted treatment (MAT). SMART recognizes that prescribed medication can be critical for a person’s recovery. For those with opioid addiction, medicines such as methadone and buprenorphine protect people from fatal overdoses while they recover.
  • Our tools teach lasting change. With SMART tools and support at meetings, people discover the flaws in their addictive choices and behaviors, develop their authenticity, and learn to lead a life that reinforces purpose, integrity, and balance to support long-term recovery.SMART is focused on creating a better future. Our goal is to help our participants build lives with new behaviors that transcend addiction. Life Beyond Addiction is our highest goal.

2021-2022 Strategic Plan: Executive Summary

As much as SMART has grown over more than a quarter-century, we are just getting started. We saw steady growth in the early days and a surge over the past decade to thousands of meetings serving millions of people, but SMART meetings are still not available in many areas. We are consistently developing new ways to reach those who may benefit from SMART and updating our tools and materials as science evolves.

So that we may continue offering support to those living with addictive behaviors, we must:


1. Grow and strengthen our volunteer base:

SMART Recovery USA reaches our community through our volunteer-led meetings. Our public meetings are free and open to anyone who wants to attend. By training our volunteers in the science of recovery and meeting facilitation, we can offer consistently effective, welcoming, stigma-free meetings no matter where or how people attend them. We are committed to recruiting, training, and supporting our volunteers to run effective meetings, energize our community, and maintain their enthusiasm and dedication to making a difference. By expanding and evolving our recruiting and training options, we empower our volunteers to make long-lasting differences in the lives of everyone who attends our meetings.

2. Develop our organizational culture, structure, and leadership:

As we empower our participants to transform their lives, we have not overlooked the opportunity to do the same for ourselves as an organization. Our rapid growth in recent years has brought us to a tipping point. Here we find it imperative to reevaluate our culture, structure, and leadership to ensure we are properly aligned for growth while maintaining the integrity of our community values. With this comes the need to secure and bolster our team of employees and volunteers who can better support our growing recovery community. It comes with the responsibility to ensure we are an increasingly diverse, inclusive, and equitable organization, better reflecting the populations we serve. And, it includes the need to improve our technology to more effectively meet the needs of our staff, volunteers and larger SMART Recovery community.

3. Strengthen our financial resources:

As with any organization, our ability to support our goals depends on our ability to fund them. We provide open, public SMART Recovery meetings for no charge to anyone who chooses to attend. In addition, we offer extensive training for our volunteers and others who want to learn how SMART works. Finally, we are consistently updating our instructional materials to reflect the current state of the science and experience of recovery. We must therefore work to ensure our financial future.

While many of our revenue streams are self-sustaining, there is so much more we can do with an increased budget. We must seek funding from grassroots groups, grants, and major giving from individuals and foundations. We must also create a plan to increase donor opportunities and a fund-development culture within our organization and our community.

SMART Recovery USA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, with a platinum rating from the GuideStar® Directory of Charities and Nonprofit Organizations. While our mutual-support groups are provided free to all participants, they are not free to operate. This places a significant financial burden of providing SMART meetings, training facilitators, providing recovery handbooks and facilitator manuals in multiple languages and offering in-person, phone, and online meetings. We also incur expenses simply operating the day-to-day functions of a nationwide organization staffed with professionals who support more than two thousand volunteers.

4. Raise awareness, use, and support for SMART Recovery USA:

SMART Recovery’s meetings and tools are effective only when they are available to those who need them. We will reach our goals only through continued outreach to our community, the general public, government, and healthcare providers. The more people who know about, use, and support SMART, the more people can find relief and empower themselves to lead more fulfilling lives.

Interested in Helping Us?

We need your help to put these plans into action! Please contact us with your thoughts and/or ideas.

Our Principles

  • Self-Management - People can manage their own behaviour.
  • Mutual Aid - People learn best from each other.
  • Choice - People choose their own goals, skills and tools.
  • Person Centred - People with lived experience are central in guiding what we do.
  • Evidence Led - All our programs are based on scientific evidence and we encourage their on-going evaluation.

History of
SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery was established in 1994 in the USA to meet the increasing demand of health professionals and their patients for a secular and science-based alternative to the widespread 12-Step addiction recovery program.

Such was its popularity that SMART Recovery grew from 42 group meetings at the beginning to more than 2000 in North America alone today and now proliferating worldwide in 23 countries and counting.

Since 1994
23+ countries
2,500+ groups globally

Get Started Right Now!

If you’re feeling the negative effects of addiction, why wait to make changes? Get started with SMART Recovery by watching our instructional videos and slides, and find how quickly you can Discover the Power of Choice!

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Important Decisions for Court-Mandated Attendance

First Amendment Court Cases
A compilation of court cases related to mandated support-group attendance and First Amendment issues regarding religious freedom.