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DAWS Peer Mentors at UK SMART Recovery conference


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In this blog post, DAWS Peer Mentor Simon recounts his experiences at the UK SMART Recovery conference – he learned a lot about different approaches to recovery and got to meet members of the recovery community from all over the country.

On 10 October, fellow Peer Mentor Kevin and I met at Euston station for an early morning train to Stoke-on-Trent for the biennial conference of UK SMART Recovery: Self-Management and Recovery Training.

UK SMART Recovery is a programme built around the principles of self-help and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Some people choose this approach as an alternative to (or to complement) the ‘twelve step’ approach.

We joined around 100 delegates from all over the country heard how UK SMART Recovery now runs an amazing 500 meetings a week, attended by some 5,000 people. This includes those with alcohol and substance issues, their family and friends, prisoners and service personnel.

As well as stories of personal journeys from individuals who now work as UK SMART Recovery facilitators, we heard from Michael Gilmore, who runs an executive coaching firm in New York. Michael gave a presentation on Flow, an effortless state of high mental acuity identified by a phonetically challenging gentleman called Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“chik-semi-hi”). He explained that this state, an equivalent to being ‘in the zone’ in sport, enables individuals to achieve high levels of imagination, productivity, and – according to Mr. Gilmore – can occur spontaneously or be induced with training.

Marcantonio Spada, Professor of Addictive Behaviours and Mental Health at London South Bank University, spoke to us about how worrying during childhood can persist in adulthood. She described how sometimes an individual can perversely begin to see the process of worrying as necessary to prevent bad outcomes. This pattern can sometimes present itself to those with drug or alcohol needs.

There were other workshops to attend, which tackled various aspects of recovery and both the promotion and protection of the national brand in establishing new UK SMART Recovery meetings.

Many attendees, like us, were new to UK SMART Recovery but were made to feel really welcome; the senior members of the UK organisation making themselves freely available and generating a strong sense of inclusivity.

– Simon (DAWS Peer Mentor)

We’re so proud that our DAWS Peer Mentors facilitate UK SMART Recovery meetings in our hubs across the City of Westminster, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. You can find details on the website www.uksmartrecovery.org

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