SMART Recovery and the LGBTQ+ Community

Founded on the principles of self-empowerment, peer support, and evidence-based practices, SMART Recovery has emerged as a vital resource in combating substance use disorders among LGBTQ+ individuals. To truly grasp the significance of SMART Recovery in the LGBTQ+ community, it’s essential to understand the roots of this movement and the reasons behind the heightened rates of substance use within this demographic.

SMART Recovery was established in the early 1990s as an alternative to traditional 12-step programs. Its inception was rooted in the idea that addiction treatment should be flexible, incorporating various therapeutic approaches and scientific methods to cater to diverse needs. Instead of relying on a higher power, SMART Recovery emphasizes self-reliance and cognitive-behavioral strategies to promote lasting recovery.

For the LGBTQ+ community, SMART Recovery offered something more than just a standard support system. Historically marginalized, LGBTQ+ individuals often face unique challenges that contribute to higher rates of substance use. Discrimination, societal stigma, rejection, and the struggle for acceptance can lead to higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression within this community. Consequently, many individuals turn to substances as a coping mechanism.

The LGBTQ+ community also battles higher rates of mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, which can significantly intersect with substance use. In the face of these challenges, SMART Recovery’s evidence-based practices and emphasis on self-empowerment became a beacon of hope.

One crucial aspect of SMART Recovery that resonates deeply with the LGBTQ+ community is its non-judgmental and inclusive approach. In SMART meetings, individuals are encouraged to share their experiences without fear of discrimination or bias. This open and accepting environment provides a safe space for LGBTQ+ individuals to address their substance use issues without the fear of stigma.

Moreover, SMART Recovery’s emphasis on self-management techniques aligns well with the LGBTQ+ community’s ethos of self-empowerment and autonomy. The tools and skills offered by SMART Recovery are not only instrumental in tackling substance use but also in fostering personal growth and resilience, crucial aspects for a community that often grapples with societal pressures and discrimination.

SMART Recovery does not require a belief in a higher power, and SMART recovery meetings do not typically take place in churches. For those in the LGBTQ+ Community who have experienced rejection from faith communities they grew up in, this can be an important aspect of SMART Recovery.

As the LGBTQ+ community continues to navigate societal challenges and strives for equality and acceptance, SMART Recovery stands as a testament to resilience and empowerment. Its adaptability, evidence-based approach, and commitment to inclusivity have made it an indispensable ally in the journey toward sobriety and overall well-being for many within the LGBTQ+ community.

If you live in Delaware and are interested in participating in a SMART Recovery Group, send a quick email to and let us know.