Getting SMART About Recovery in the Outer Banks

By on February 27, 2023

Submitted by Katy Haslar

There’s a new program available to the Outer Banks recovery community called SMART Recovery. While it has many similarities to the familiar community support groups, such as AA and NA, what sets this program apart is that it offers those struggling with addiction the freedom and independence to choose and build their own path to recovery through evidence-based tools and group discussions.

SMART, which stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training, may be new to the Outer Banks, but it was founded in 1994 and is still growing in the United States and worldwide. SMART is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping individuals gain independence from addiction of all kinds, including substances or activities.

Through both online and in-person meetings, SMART offers many ideas and techniques to help recovering folks change their lives from one that is self-destructive and unhappy to one that is constructive and satisfying. Their efforts are based on scientific knowledge. The SMART program, including community support groups, can be used as an alternative to, or along with, 12-step programs. The programs do not contradict each other, but SMART uses a secular (non-faith based) format. However, use of a higher power or any other faith-based belief system is not discouraged—it’s just not a requirement for the program.

In SMART, the participants work on building and maintaining motivation, coping with urges, managing thoughts, feelings and behaviors, and living a balanced life. They focus on the present and what they want for their future rather than the past. It is an abstinence-oriented program.

Being in recovery is individual—it means different things to different people, so they encourage members to define what recovery is for themselves. They offer support for individuals in any and all phases of their recovery process, including those working with medically assisted treatment.

The Outer Banks meeting is 60-75 minutes in length and is facilitated by husband-and-wife team Scott and Katy Haslar, who are both in recovery and have 30 years of combined experience in several recovery programs and support groups. SMART facilitators are peers in recovery, not therapists or authorities. They simply guide the meeting.

Local Meeting Info:
  • WHEN: Monday evenings at 6-7:15pm
  • WHERE: The Studio in Nags Head, 3022 S Croatan Hwy, Unit 22
  • Meeting details: This meeting is free to the public. Donations are welcome and all money collected goes directly to the SMART central office in Ohio to fund materials and trainings.

For more information on the organization, visit (

(Katy Haslar is a Public Health Education Specialist and Certified Peer Support Specialist with Dare County Health & Human Services, Recovery & Overdose Support Services.)








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