Frequently Asked Questions

There is no need to sign up in advance. Just show up! Feel free to participate as much or as little as you are comfortable with.

Yes. No one is ever required to speak or give their name at SMART Recovery meetings.

All of our meetings are free. We do collect donations at the end of the meeting, all of which go to support the non-profit organization at the national and local level. Over 90% of the money we collect stays right here in San Diego County. Donations are requested but are not required.

The meeting schedule is kept up to date on our website, so there is no need to confirm. You may want to refresh the web page just to be sure you have the most up-to-date information.

The meetings on this website are the only meetings that we are currently running in San Diego County.

We are always looking to start more meetings, and we welcome volunteers.

If you have an idea of a facility or facilitators that could host a meeting, please let us know!

Unless it’s noted in the meeting’s description, ALL San Diego SMART Recovery meetings are free and open to anyone, including:

  • individuals seeking to change any type of or combination of addictive behaviors
  • individuals who are not sure if they need help changing their behavior
  • individuals who are court-mandated to attend meetings (we can provide verification of attendance)
  • individuals who want to support their loved ones (family members or friends) or to learn about SMART Recovery so that they can encourage others to attend
  • students and anyone else interested in learning about SMART Recovery and mutual-help programs.

Newcomers are welcome in all meetings. It would be helpful to say during the check-in that you are a beginner or first-timer, so that the facilitator and other group members are aware. You are always welcome to ask questions about SMART Recovery before, during, and after meetings. All participants benefit from discussing the basics of SMART.

There are a number of different types of meetings but discussion meetings are most common.

In a discussion meeting, we usually do a check-in at the beginning of the meeting during which you may introduce yourself if you would like, and explain why you’re there. After check-in we typically set an agenda for the discussion period based on the needs of the group at that time. During the discussion period we teach SMART Recovery coping skills and discuss how to apply them in specific situations.

For details on the different types of meetings see our Meeting Information page.

Our meetings are anonymous. There is no requirement to give your name or your reason for attending. It’s OK to “pass” (remain silent) during initial check-in or at any other point in the meeting. There are no sign-in sheets.

We don’t issue certificates, but we offer verification for meetings, unless otherwise noted. If a legal agency, treatment program, etc. has given you an attendance verification form, bring that with you to in-person meetings; our meeting leaders will be glad to sign it for you. If you don’t already have an attendance form, you can print out a copy of our own meeting attendance form.

Almost all virtual meeting facilitators will provide email verification of attendance. Each meeting listing indicates whether verification is offered.

It certainly is. All of the meetings in San Diego are open to all.

SMART Recovery also has specific resources particularly for friends and family of those struggling with addictive behaviors. You can find them on our Family & Friends page. Family and Friends meetings can be found on our calendar.

All you need to do is show up!

However, in order to get the greatest benefit from the self-empowering approach used in our meetings, it can be helpful to learn more about SMART Recovery outside of meetings.

We have basic information about SMART Recovery here on this site, and our national website offers many helpful resources.

In addition to studying the national website, for more in depth information we also highly recommend purchasing the SMART Recovery Handbook. It is often available at our in-person meetings ($12), and you can also purchase it online here or on Amazon.

We welcome volunteers!

For general volunteer information use the Volunteer link for a form to let us know of your interest.

To become a SMART Recovery San Diego facilitator, check out the Become a Facilitator page and, when you’re ready, fill out the Get Started Facilitating form.

Please call the San Diego County Crisis and Access line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 888-724-7240.

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