SMART Recovery Abstinence & Relapse Policy

Abstinence Policy
Abstinence For the purpose of volunteering for SROL, abstinence means the following:

1. Alcohol and Other Drugs: If the volunteer's problem behavior involved alcohol and/or other drugs, then abstinence means they are not using any alcohol and/or other drugs. Exception: Medications prescribed by a physician.

2. Other behaviors (sex, gambling, overeating, etc.): Abstinence here means that the volunteer is refraining from the problem behavior. The person is also not using illegal drugs and not abusing alcohol.

Relapse Policy
A relapse occurs when someone resumes any substance use or returns to their problem behavior. Relapses are sometimes a part of recovery. They are nothing to be ashamed of. The volunteer's recovery comes first, before any other consideration. Any volunteer who has a relapse is to bring it to the attention of their Liaison. They may be asked to take a month off to assess what happened. The length of time-off would be determined by the liaison with the volunteer. If they wish, the volunteer may talk about the relapse openly as way to help themselves. This also models healthy behavior as to how to deal with relapses. Other volunteers are strongly encouraged to be supportive of the person who relapsed.

If the volunteer develops a major or ongoing relapse or series of relapses, they may be asked to resign. If there are other inappropriate behaviors that occur with the relapse, they may be asked to resign.

Volunteer relapses will all be addressed on a case-by-case basis by the liaison with the volunteer.

Please remember, this is not in any way intended to be punitive. Although it is certainly possible to be taken that way. This intended to do the following:

First and foremost, protect the volunteer. Time-off ensures that they have time to deal with the relapse itself and the thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and situations that led up to the relapse, and contributed to it.

Protect the participants by making sure that the volunteers are not impaired.

Protect SMART Recovery. SMART Recovery is a self-help group for people who chose abstinence. Not having a policy re. volunteer relapses could be damaging to SMART's credibility.

Click here for a list of available Volunteer Positions