Smart approach to recovery in Levenmouth

Susan Innes from DAPL and Nikki Smith and Claire Brown from Restoration
Susan Innes from DAPL and Nikki Smith and Claire Brown from Restoration

A revolutionary new group treatment for those affected by drug and alcohol addiction is to start in Leven next month.

Smart Recovery sessions are to be run by DAPL (Drug and Alcohol Project Ltd) at its Leven premises, starting on March 5.

The peer-led group treatment was established in America in 1994, following on from the highly successful Rational Recovery programme, devised by Jack and Lois Trimpey in 1985.

Smart, which stands for ‘self management and recovery training’ aims to help people to develop the tools and skills the need to gain control over addictive behaviours.

But instead of being led by a counsellor, the sessions are all peer led, with participants given the chance to receive training to eventually lead their own groups.

Susan Innes, counsellor at DAPL - which is celebrating its 20th year of providing counselling and support in Levenmouth - is organising the new group with fellow staff counsellor Linda Gardener.

She said: “The aim of the peer-led meetings is to give people the chance to come along and be part of a group and support each other in their recovery, but also to give people who want to start their own meetings the opportunity to receive Smart training through coming to the groups.”

The new programme will be funded by the Alcohol and Drugs Partnership (ADP), through the Scottish Government, and has already seen huge success in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

“Although there is already a session running at Next Steps, that is a closed meeting for those in recovery only.

“Here, we will be running an open meeting, which is open to anyone - professionals, family members, people in recovery, anybody,” said Susan, who started training at DAPL in 2000, before becoming a qualified cognitive counsellor.

“I don’t think we have anything like this in Fife at the moment, where it will be peers helping peers, and encouraging someone with an addiction to bring along someone else and to help each other.”

She added: “At the meetings, people will be given the chance to learn cognitive behavioural skills and techniques to be able to help with triggers and to help stay in recovery.”

After the meetings begin next month, they will take place on a weekly basis, with no records kept and no commitment required from the participants.

“This group is open ended,” said Susan.

“It’s not time limited - sometimes, people might need to come along for a couple of sessions and other people, it can take quite a long time.

“They can come and go as much as they want.”

The first Smart Recovery meeting takes place at DAPL, 1-2 Parkdale Avenue, Leven on Wednesday, March 5, from 3.00 - 4.30 p.m.

Recovery in Fife

DAPL also offers free one-to-one counselling, support, information and advice to individuals and families who are affected by substance use and live within Fife.

Another recovery service in Fife, which will be working out of DAPL from March 11 is Restoration. Often, being in recovery means a whole-life change, with different friends and all-new past times. Restoration offers those in recovery the chance to meet new people and have days out and new experiences, like bowling, cinema trips, massage therapy, and arts and crafts. There are also outdoor activities like abseiling, canoeing and go karting.

For more, call Nikki Smith on 07501176234 or email

Those interested in recovery in Fife can also get involved with the user panel, Focus on Recovery.

Meetings take place every two months, and those attending are given the chance to share knowledge, information and ideas that support recovery which are then fed back to the Alcohol and Drugs Partnership to increase and improve the opportunities for recovery in the local area.

The next meeting takes place in High Valleyfield Community Centre on March5 at 11.00 a.m.