CUMBERLAND — Coping with the chaos of loving someone who is living with addictions can be a lonely and devastating reality.  Healing Allegany and AHEC West are sponsoring a new local support group – SMART Recovery Family & Friends — to help friends and family of those suffering from addiction.  This group will meet weekly to help people find connection with others who understand what they are experiencing and develop coping strategies to better care for themselves.

Although the group will eventually meet in-person, due to COVID-19 initial support-group meetings will occur online, beginning in July.

SMART Recovery is an international non-profit organization that provides assistance to individuals seeking abstinence from addiction. SMART stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training. The SMART approach is secular and science-based, using cognitive behavioral therapy and non-confrontational motivational methods.  The Family & Friends component utilizes the tools of SMART Recovery and evidence-based CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training) to provide support to families.

Created through a grant from the federal Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP), the multi-agency Healing Allegany consortium was formed to identify gaps in prevention, treatment, and recovery services available to Allegany County residents. While conducting focus groups to assess local resources, the consortium discovered there were limited resources to support family and friends of those impacted by addictions.

Addiction is a family disease that affects everyone close to the person who has a substance use disorder. Loved ones also play an important role in addiction recovery, but supporting someone with an addiction is difficult. It can be emotionally taxing and family members don’t always have the resources or energy to provide this crucial support. SMART Recovery Family & Friends is there to help.

For more information about the SMART Recovery program, and to register for upcoming support-group sessions, contact AHEC West Program Coordinator Jen Thomas at or SMART Recovery specialist Sue Folk at

Friends and Family Flyer (1)