Read Our Newsletter

What’s New?

Meet and Greet SMART Recovery’s Executive Director
Pete Rubinas, SMART Recovery USA’s Executive Director, will be visiting San Diego at the end of June. We will have an informal event at 2:00 pm on Saturday, June 29th to provide an opportunity to meet him and for Pete to learn more about SMART in San Diego. Please join us at the SMART community center in Kearny Mesa.

Thanks to Our NAMI Volunteers
The NAMI Walk and Wellness Expo took place on April 27th at Liberty Station. This yearly event brings awareness to the importance of mental health for all and provides attendees with an opportunity to learn about the mental health and recovery resources available in San Diego county. Big thanks to the volunteers who came out to represent SMART at this important outreach event!

Annual Survey
During the month of June, SMART San Diego will be conducting its Annual Survey. You will be able to access the survey through the website’s homepage and calendar. Completing this 10-minute survey helps us allocate limited resources and serve the community better. Please make your voice heard through participating.

Getting to Know Our Volunteers

In each newsletter, we get to know one of our volunteers better through their own words. If you would like to participate and tell the community about you and your involvement with SMART Recovery, please email Megan. This month, we hear from Paul who hosts the very successful Open Mic Night at Akua Strong Alumni Center on second Saturdays. Our thanks to Paul for his contribution to the newsletter and for all he’s doing for SMART San Diego!

I discovered SMART Recovery around 2017 and immediately took a liking to it. I currently attend three meetings per week. The thing I love the most about SMART is its conversational aspect, which affords me the benefit of getting immediate feedback based on the lived experience of others.

In my free time, I enjoy surfing, hiking with my dog Finn, playing guitar/singing, going to the gym, and spending time with family. I recently started channeling my passion for music into “Open Mic Night” through The Phoenix (in partnership with SMART), which has been a huge success. Volunteering in this way is a major piece of my recovery journey, and I would encouage everyone to do the same in their own way.

5 Fun Facts about Paul:

  1. I started my very first open mic while I was doing inpatient treatment in 2019. The treatment center continued the tradition after I left.
  2. At the same treatment center, they would only take us to 12 step meetings, so I started and facilitated a SMART Recovery meeting in-house.
  3. I have fond childhood memories of traveling up and down Baja on surfing/fishing expeditions.
  4. As a child, I sang in my church choir and played piano, clarinet and violin before discovering my love for guitar.
  5. I wrote this song, “Broken Pieces,” which was inspired by the beauty found in recovering from addiction. Click here to check it out.

Recommended Reading

Each month Richard brings a book or article to our attention that connects with ideas we talk about in SMART meetings. If you’ve got recommendations, let Richard know. This month’s recommendation is Stress Resets:  How to Soothe Your Body and Mind in Minutes by Jennifer L. Taitz, PsyD (2024).

Clinical therapist Jennifer Taitz explains that stress “feels like a mismatch between our resources and the various demands we are dealing with.” Her new book – a self-described “recipe book for well-being” – contains a vast array of strategies to help us cope with all types of stress through seventy-five quick exercises, many of which can be completed in five minutes. She likens these brief activities to “tiny wheels on a hefty suitcase that lighten your load.”

Dr. Taitz’s exercises include those designed for dealing with immediate moments of intense stress, as well as others that can be used for handling stress over the long term. They generally involve ways to manage thoughts, feelings and behaviors and thus neatly align with Point 3 of SMART’s foundational 4-Point Program (her book does at times touch on elements of all four points, however).

Her suggestions include versions of most of the familiar SMART tools, along with others that may be new to some of us. Among these is the “STOP” exercise, which is an acronym that encourages us to Slow down, Take a step back, Observe and Proceed mindfully. Also of note are her multiple meditation and breathing exercises.

Like SMART, Dr. Taitz emphasizes our power of choice. Furthermore, she envisions stress as an opportunity for personal growth: “When you find yourself on the cusp of a vicious cycle – wanting to avoid, escape or act out due to stress, which will likely cause more stress – remember that you can choose to reset in small or big ways instead. When you do, you’ll initiate a virtuous cycle, where you increasingly choose to cope with strategies that reduce stress and amplify your self-worth.”

Other SMART Meetings in Southern California

While this newsletter focuses on the San Diego SMART community, we know that people travel and might be looking for a meeting while they are away from home. Happily, with online meetings, you can quite literally keep SMART in your back pocket. But if you are looking for an in-person meeting, here are some in our region. You can find details about these meetings, and SMART meetings in other areas, with the SMART Recovery app or on the national SMART Recovery website.

  • Monday 1pm in Oxnard (Young People) led by Javi
  • Monday 6pm in Palm Desert led by Diane, Laurence, Eric and Ross
  • Monday 7pm in Agoura Hills led by Ira
  • Tuesday 7pm in Agoura Hills led by Steven and Kathy
  • Tuesday 7pm in Los Angeles led by David and Jarrod
  • Wednesday 7:30am in Palm Springs led by William
  • Wednesday 4:30pm in El Centro led by Theresa and Susan
  • Wednesday 6pm in Colton led by Emily and Carl
  • Thursday 3pm in Cathedral City, LGBT+, Family & Friends led by William
  • Thursday 4:30pm in El Centro led by Theresa and Susan
  • Thursday 6:45pm in Brawley led by Susan
  • Friday 7pm in Temecula led by Dawn
  • Saturday 12pm in Simi Valley led by Mike and Ira


Get Involved

Come to the Community Development Meeting
All are welcome to attend this meeting on the second Saturday of every month from 9:30-11:30 on Zoom. The first half of the meeting covers administration and community planning. The second half is devoted to meeting management. You are free to attend only part of the meeting. If you’ve been thinking of becoming more involved, this is a great way to learn about what we’re working on and where help is most needed. If you have questions about the agenda of the upcoming meeting, contact Megan.

Call for Volunteers!
We need volunteers who want to become more involved in the SMART Recovery San Diego community. If you can give a few hours a month to help with social activities, fundraising, or community outreach, we can use your help! Contact to find out more.

Have You Ever Thought of Facilitating a Meeting?
We are looking for volunteers to start new meetings or serve as substitutes, particularly for in-person meetings. New meetings allow us to reach a broader community who might benefit from SMART. Our training program will pair you with a mentor to offer guidance and support while you prepare to facilitate a meeting of your own. Contact the facilitator training committee.

Find Us on Social Media

Following SMART Recovery San Diego on social media is an easy way to stay in touch and stay informed. We are on Facebook and Instagram.  We also have a Meetup group for our social activities, and a private Facebook group. Contact for more information.

Your Donation Counts

All donations go toward the costs of our Community Center in Kearny Mesa and our Zoom licenses; we have no paid positions. Please help with a monthly PayPal donation. Email with any questions about supporting SMART Recovery San Diego.

Donate with PayPal or Venmo: @SMARTRecoverySD (business account)

SMART Gets Social with The Phoenix

Sign up for Game Night at the community center on May 25th and fourth Saturdays.
Puppy Palooza is back at Dog Beach in Ocean Beach every other Saturday at 11, including June 1st.
Open Mic Night June 8th and second Saturdays, 6-8pm, at the Akua Alumni Center.
Join our Knitting Class at the community center, at 2pm June 15 and third Saturdays.

Thank you to our volunteers for hosting these events! Visit the SMART San Diego website to learn more about our social events or to contact us if you’d like to start a new activity.

To sign up for these and other sober social activities, visit The Phoenix website or download their app. The app and all Phoenix events are free for anyone “who is in recovery from substance use, anyone choosing a sober space, and for anyone who is a friend, family member, or ally of The Phoenix movement.” You can download the app through the Android or Apple store and sign up for any of their events.

If SMART has helped you or a loved one, consider supporting us with a recurring donation.

Get the Newsletter E-mailed to You!