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PostWar on Drugs and a Family Story (Miles Seeley, USA, 04/27/12 4:00 pm)
My partner and I founded an outpatient addiction clinic in the 1980s, both of us recovering alcoholics. We based treatment plans on AA, but added our own touches like biofeedback and meditation. It was a free clinic, although we encouraged clients to contribute what they could. We started on a wing and a prayer and a borrowed $10,000, in a windowless basement room. We hired a secretary and began by going before the Town Council, the Country Commissioners, and the State Health people. We presented the facts (as they were known) about the costs, financial and social, of addiction. We were never rejected, although initial grants were quite small. We worked with the courts and the police (mandating that offenders attend our group meetings or stay in jail), and the hospital (which provided detox when needed) and a psychologist who helped with testing and recommendations.
It's a long story, but in short we just persisted against many obstacles. The program grew, the governmental bodies all gave more support every year, and we were able to hire counselors and were accredited by the State. I left a fairly robust organization in 1990, when I moved out of the state, and it has enlarged ever since and is well regarded in the region.
Stories like Brian Blodgett's (26 April) are fairly common. The failure rate for initial treatment patients is pretty high, and repeat clients are a sizable percentage of clients. But every successful outcome (like Brian's son) has enormous impact on families that have, with the addict, struggled for years.
Follow-ups showed that we had a positive outcome more often than any other treatment program in the state, and why that is would be another long story to relate, but I am pleased with how my colleagues and employees persisted and continue to provide vital services. As JE said, it's tough problem. I wish Brian's family all the best, and I assure them it is worth the fight. I have been sober for 27 years.
JE comments: My thanks to Miles Seeley for this heartfelt and honest note. Congratulations, Miles, on 27 years of sobriety!