SMART Recovery International

An Introduction to Take On Addiction

Officially, meet Take On Addiction and two of the people that have been a major part of an extremely dedicated and committed team that has made it all happen – Kim and Ryan.

We are thrilled to be tackling a project that has been a long time in the works and is a very important addition to the SMART Recovery global journey. Take On Addiction is happening this April and involves SMART Recovery affiliates in Australia, USA, UK and Republic of Ireland. 

Kim proudly states that, “The fact that this campaign has been a collaboration between all of these countries has been really fantastic. Everyone has the same objectives in mind and are motivated to achieve the same goals. It’s really energising to feel the excitement behind the global team because it’s an important cause.” You must also keep in mind the time differences so just organising a team meeting has been a tricky hurdle in itself!

For Take On Addiction, we are challenging individuals, groups, and workplaces to take on a 30 day walk, run, cycle or do it your own way endeavour to raise awareness of SMART Recovery, smash the stigma surrounding addiction and raise funds to continue SMART Recovery’s important work providing our 4-Point Program® and helping people with addictive behaviours.

Kim and Ryan are no strangers to the SMART community but for those that want to know more – Kim McCreanor is the Executive Officer of SMART Recovery International and Ryan McGlaughlin is the Executive Director of SMART Recovery Australia. Both have some very interesting stories to tell but we will keep them for another day as we are here to talk about the multinational SMART Recovery story that is Take On Addiction and how this incredibly ambitious project came to fruition. 

“The campaign is about raising awareness of the significant importance and contribution that mutual aid groups such as SMART Recovery are to continuity of care, especially relapse prevention’, as Ryan so poignantly sums it up.

SMART Recovery is a global community of more than 2000 mutual-support groups in over 26 countries. Participants meet weekly to help each other overcome the life challenges caused by any addictive behaviours, including but not limited to alcohol, drugs, gambling, and smoking.

Kim shares that, “The most interesting conversations were about ‘Why are we choosing to use the word ‘addiction? Because we are against stigma and labelling…’” – The reason is because the words ‘addict’ and ‘addiction’ are part of social understanding and as Ryan says, “You can’t go back from a word that is understood in our community if you are trying to reduce stigma. We can’t yet completely wipe the word addiction from our vocabulary, we need to take people on this journey with us to reduce the stigma and adapt their understanding of the word.”

Kim also has her own take on the slogan, ‘Take on Addiction’, in that she believes “…you can take those three words as you want but you also have to ask ‘Why’? And start that personal journey.”

“We knew what the global campaign was going to look like but we needed the assistance of an external agency to make it happen,” says Kim. Enter Ezy Raise, whose Managing Director, Brett Macdonald, was the Founder of Dry July. Brett says of the Take On Addiction campaign, “This is the first global campaign of its kind to smash stigma, and raise funds and awareness for this public health crisis.”  

With the guidance of Brett and his Ezy Raise team, SMART was able to learn through their experience of raising funds but also engaging people and inviting them on the journey to then start the educational process.

The funds raised through Take On Addiction will help SMART Recovery continue our mission to make our services available to people across the world who choose freedom from addiction, using the power within themselves and support from a caring global community. In the words of Brett, who is very well versed in the space, “Sign up, get active, get healthy and support SMART Recovery this April to help people find life beyond addiction.”

To support that notion, Ryan states, “SMART is now generally known within the Alcohol and Other Drugs sector and yet not in the broader community.  We want that to change, as SMART plays a significant role in assisting people’s lives for the better … Throughout my life I’ve been around too many marginalised groups of people that have been stigmatised and that is a significant barrier for people seeking help and then leading productive and healthy lives.” 

We need your support now more than ever to help people find life beyond addiction and to quote, Kim, “We want SMART Recovery to be a household name and we need to challenge stigma.”

Please visit our website Take On Addiction for more information, to register yourself, a group or your workplace, or to support anyone that is already taking part. You can also assist by promoting the campaign to your professional and personal networks.