SMART Recovery New Zealand, Odyssey

We’re excited to announce New Zealand has joined the SMART Recovery international community. The move came about after the SMART Recovery Board unanimously passed a motion to amend the SMART Recovery Australia License Agreement to include our neighbours across the Tasman Sea. SMART Recovery is now located in 15 countries worldwide.

In April this year, SMART Recovery National Program Coordinator Josette Freeman carried out SMART Recovery and Be SMART (Family & Friends) training for staff at Odyssey in Auckland.

Odyssey General Manager of Operations Jenny Boyle, Auckland, New Zealand
Odyssey General Manager of Operations, Jenny Boyle.

Since 1980, Odyssey has helped thousands of New Zealanders to overcome alcohol, drug and gambling addiction problems. A not-for-profit organisation with a collective of more than 140 specially-trained professionals, Odyssey run seven treatment centres and a variety of community programmes in the Auckland region and Whangarei.

We caught up with Odyssey General Manager of Operations Jenny Boyle to discuss how their new partnership with SMART Recovery came about and how the programme will integrate with their service.

How did Odyssey come across SMART Recovery?

One of my staff members had been in an organisation in the UK that delivered SMART Recovery and he had suggested Odyssey adopt this to offer more options for our clients. We wanted to offer an alternative to AA and NA. Following some research on the Internet, I found SMART Recovery Australia and Josette as a contact. We were very excited, as we also wanted to increase our community aftercare and pre-treatment options for Odyssey clients.

What do you like about the program and how do you plan on incorporating it into your service?

The most valuable aspect to the program is that it concentrates on the here and now and uses a realistic goal setting model. We also like the way peers are involved in the group.

What are the predominate issues / addictions facing clients in your geographic area?

We cover a large geographical area and have many clients who are involved in our Corrections and Justice services. The main issues for our clients are issues with alcohol, methamphetamine and cannabis. Other issues our clients face include mental health issues. Given that our clients are often transient this can be a problem for regular group attendance.


(L to R) Philip Grady – CEO of Odyssey, Josette Freeman – SMART Recovery Australia National Program Coordinator, Jenny Boyle – Odyssey General Manager of Operations, Patrick Johnston – Odyssey Operations Manager of CED Services.

How did you find SMART Recovery Facilitator Training and would you recommend it?

It was excellent. Our staff loved it. We are hoping to have Josette return in November.

How many meetings are you running?

We are running;

  • One SMART Recovery meeting weekly at our adult residential facility.
  • One SMART Recovery meeting weekly at our Community Hub (Te Tawharau).
  • Commencing Be SMART Family group next week at our Community Hub (Te Tawharau).

The meetings are closed to clients who are on our waiting list, receiving aftercare services, early leavers from residential, graduates from our programmes, Level 4 clients from our programmes and clients who are seen by our primary care AOD practitioner. We plan to open the meetings up once we are established and are meeting the needs of our own clients.

How are you finding the meetings so far?

To date we are still promoting the meetings and have found the pamphlets have helped (Odyssey and SMART Recovery Australia created co-branded brochures to promote their meetings). We have excellent feedback from clients in the residential service. The update for our community SMART Recovery meeting and Be SMART Family & Friends meeting has been a bit slow but we are managing to increase our numbers.

Do you have plans to expand the program further within your services?

Yes, we would like to train more staff and run youth related SMART groups. We would also like to increase the groups to other areas of the city. We are going to look at running the SMART recovery groups and family group in our co-existing programmes.

View Odyssey’s SMART Recovery Brochure

Download (PDF, 1.39MB)


Leave a Reply