Sheboygan County has a network of amazing nonprofits and citizen groups offering priceless services.

Many of these organizations and groups gathered together at the Resource Fair on April 30 in order to introduce themselves to the community. It was a success. Many people walked away with new information and lists of resources that they didn’t know existed.

Among the booths and displays was information on a new peer support group being offered in Sheboygan — SMART Recovery. SMART Recovery — Self-management and Recovery Training — is a selfempowering addiction recovery support group. It is not a 12-step group, like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, but is based on scientific knowledge and the theories involved in cognitive behavioral change.

SMART Recovery uses a four-point program to help people recover from all types of addiction and addictive behaviors, including drug abuse, drug addiction, substance abuse, alcohol abuse, prescription drug abuse and heroin addiction. The fourpoint program offers specific tools and techniques for each of the program points — building and maintaining motivation; coping with urges; managing thoughts, feelings and behaviors; living a balanced life.

Participants are given a workbook to use each week, which helps them learn the tools and techniques such as a change plan worksheet, cost/ benefit analysis — decision making — worksheet, tips for coping with urges, identifying emotional upsets leading to use, create a hierarchy of values and — possibly the most important — learning unconditional self-acceptance.

Through online multimedia training, volunteer facilitators learn the SMART Recovery approach and the four-point program. They lead discussions, guide participants through their workbooks, and encourage people to participate in role-plays and rehearse responses to risky environments. The facilitators’ most important role is to teach self-empowerment and selfreliance plus provide encouragement to individuals who are working on recovery and living satisfying lives.

The face-to-face support groups typically last 90 minutes to two hours and they are specialized for different audiences. There are four different groups — adults with addictions, teens struggling with use and abuse issues, family and friends of loved ones who are suffering with addiction and in a jailsetting for offenders with abuse issues. In addition to the inperson groups, SMART Recovery offers daily online meetings, online message board and 24/7 chat rooms at All online resources are monitored by trained facilitators to ensure proper content and use.

Current groups in Sheboygan include I Love My Addict: SMART Recovery for Family & Friends of Loved Ones, which meets Sunday at 6 p.m. at St. John UCC, 1248 Lincoln Ave.; and SMART Recovery for Adults, which will meet 6-7:30 p.m. starting May 29 at the 1907 Club, 2908 N. 21st St.

Contact Cindy at for more information.

We need more groups. We need groups for teens. We need groups in the jail. We need more trained facilitators. Financial support to complete the training is available for the next two months.

Mary Adele is the coordinator of the Drug Free Community Grant