New Douglas County recovery program provides an alternative

SMART Recovery focuses on science and self-empowerment, not faith.

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From left, local small business owners Jolene Timmers and Raya Horst help Harbor House Crisis Shelters executive director Chelsea Branley and program coordinator Brittany Gauthier haul boxes and baskets of needed supplies out of Superior Salon Suites at 1705 Tower Ave. on Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram

A new support group for those in recovery kicks off Jan. 6 in Superior.

Reclaim Recovery, a non-faith-based group, is grounded in the Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) Recovery program, which focuses on four main points:

  • Building and maintaining motivation.

  • Coping with urges.

  • Managing thoughts, feelings and behaviors.

  • Living a balanced life.

Brittany Gauthier, program coordinator for Harbor House Crisis Shelters, said the meetings offer an alternative for those who are uncomfortable attending a faith-based program.
“Not everybody’s recovery’s the same. Everybody recovers differently, so it would be nice for people to have the option to figure out something that works for them,” Gauthier said.

This will be the first SMART Recovery program in Douglas County, she said. SMART Recovery helps people find the power to change within themselves, based on science and self-empowerment. Participants can gain tools for everyday life and find peer support.



“You can’t recover from any kind of addiction by yourself. The opposite of addiction is human connection. It’s very important to have a support system when you’re sober and getting sober or wanting to get sober,” Gauthier said.
Gauthier will lead the group along with Chelsea Branley, Harbor House executive director. They plan to hold topic-based discussions weekly. Anybody age 18 and older is welcome to attend.

“It’s not 12 steps, so if you just got sober today, come. If you’ve been sober for 65 years, you can come,” Branley said.

People struggling with addiction of any type, from drugs and alcohol to gambling and eating disorders are welcome, as are their family members.

Both Branley and Gauthier said they’ve gotten positive feedback from community members about the new SMART Recovery group.

“I’m really excited about it. Essentia’s excited about it. Other community members are excited about it. People are just excited about it,” Branley said.

Meetings will be held from 5:30-7 p.m. every Thursday at North Country Independent Living, 2911 Tower Ave., Suite 9. That puts the weekly gatherings in a central location on a bus line for easy access.

“We were excited to land that location and very thankful that they helped us out with that,” Gauthier said.

The facilitators are hoping the kickoff of Reclaim Recovery will attract as many as 20 participants.


In-shelter option

Essentia Health this month provided a $15,000 grant to Harbor House to implement an additional in-house support group for those living at the shelter.

“Substance use and recovery continue to be a key issue and priority within the Douglas County community. Harbor House Crisis Shelter is a great resource for people seeking support during challenging times and this SMART Recovery program will help those looking to live healthy, substance-free lives,” said Amanda Cassidy, community health specialist with Essentia Health

The grant, Branley said, was appreciated.

“We’re seeing people in our shelters needing recovery services that they may not have access to,” she said.

Visit the SMART Recovery website, , for more information on the program.

Related Topics: NONPROFITS
Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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