Addiction can afflict people in a variety of ways.
For some, it could be alcohol; for others, it could be drugs; for yet others, gambling.
To battle addiction, a few specialized support groups have popped up, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Gamblers Anonymous, each specializing in their particular vice.
What happens when people find themselves gripped in addiction, though, and find themselves without support because their specialized group is unavailable where they live?
Finding a real gap in addiction services around the Stettler area, Stettler Family and Community Services (FCSS) executive director Shelly Walker and FCSS community engagement coordinator Andrea Lee sought to close that gap.
In September of 2021 both ladies became certified to facilitate the SMART Recovery program, an internationally recognized addiction recovery program.
After certification, the women wasted no time in getting started with meetings starting weekly on Thursday evenings beginning on Oct. 7.
The SMART Recovery program focuses on four points: building and maintaining motivation, coping with urges, managing feelings and behaviors, and living a balanced life.
During the holiday season, and with COVID-19 case numbers climbing, the program wound down for the festive season and, unfortunately, the dawn of 2022 will see some changes for the program going forward.
Instead of being offered weekly, due to the high case numbers in the region, FCSS has opted to move the in-person sessions to once per month, while leaving one-on-one sessions with those struggling with addiction as an option.
Additionally, according to Lee, due to the international nature of the program, online sessions can be accessed “pretty much 24-hours a day.”
The next in-person addiction support meeting will be Jan. 13, 2022, at 7 p.m. in the FCSS office on Main Street, Stettler.
In addition to the SMART Recovery program, FCSS plans to launch a “Grief, Trauma, and Loss” group in the spring and and meanwhile are offering those support services in a one-on-one capacity as well.
Unfortunately, due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19 racing through the population, other in-person sessions organized by FCSS are in limbo at least until the full impact of the virus on the community becomes clear.