Interview Catalog



Our freelance writers will interview your employees and important figures to create editorial content that best communicates your message. writer will contact the agency’s executive director to begin initial discussions about content for the magazine. editorial writer will contact your agency’s point person to set up and conduct interviews with the subjects of the articles.

One custom interview is included with your magazine. There is a fee for unlimited interviews.


Keeping your scheduled interview appointment is critical to completing your custom magazine.

Once approved, your magazine publication will be sent to print. editorial writer will submit article copy and content to your treatment center’s point person for approval. This is the ONLY time changes can be made to editorial


Colonial House Outpatient was developed in 2004 and was located on the same property as our inpatient program. In 2006 the Outpatient program moved to the York City area occupying a small building on Pershing Ave. Our growth soon had the program looking for a larger property in 2011. At that time we moved to our current location which is in the square of downtown York, Pennsylvania. Colonial House creates a stable, nurturing environment, which is conducive to, not only, allowing each client to develop healthy, productive, drug free lives, but also to assist them in acquiring the skills to achieve sobriety and maintain a chemical free lifestyle. In order to maintain a chemical free lifestyle, we believe in guiding our clients through each and every step to becoming clean and sober. Our clinical team at both locations are trained in the Trauma Recovery Empowerment Model and utilize Evidenced Based Practices. Our Night Technicians include Certified Recovery Specialists. We believe that this helps us to aid our clients in their recovery.

INTERVIEW STATS Interview Subject:

Christi Morrisson Inteview Agency: Colonial House Inc.

Everyone admitted to the Colonial House, Inc. Inpatient Program begins the enrollment process by speaking with one woman — Admissions Coordinator Kylie Bradley. Bradley works with a variety of agencies that refer clients to the Colonial House and she helps evaluate whether an individual would be a good fit. Bradley says each referral is different, but on an average day she’s able to evaluate between five and ten referrals. Bradley typically spends around 20 minutes reviewing all paperwork sent over about each client. She looks at an entire assessment of the individual, including their substance abuse history. Bradley says she’ll typically check and see if a client is looking for long-term rehabilitation, whether or not psychiatric services are needed or if funding is in place. Not all clients are accepted into the inpatient program. Bradley works with clients from the first phone call through to the inpatient program, and until they work with their counselor.The inpatient program lasts 90 days. While most of the clients referred to the Colonial House come from governmental agencies or other treatment centers, Director of Operations Christi Morrisson says clients are also able to refer themselves to the Colonial House. “We will actually bring people in off the streets without any funding, and assist them with obtaining clothing and the resources that they need in order to maintain sobriety,”Morrisson says. “It’s not about the money at this organization; it’s really about helping people get well.” Bradley says one of the more meaningful parts of her role is when she can call someone on the phone to let them know of their acceptance and what day they’ll be able to come to the Colonial House. It’s rewarding to hear the hope in their voice, Bradley says. Prior to working at the Colonial House, Bradley has worked with other agencies who provided stable housing to a variety of populations, including the homeless and those coming out of treatment or imprisonment. A Fresh Start Admissions coordinator guides clients as they enter the Colonial House

“It’s not about the money at this organization; it’s really about helping people get well.” -Christi Morrisson, The Colonial House director of operations

Creating a home Morrison says The Colonial House works to make patients feel like they’re at home. Clients are even able to do things like grow vegetables in a garden. Clients nearing the end of their 90-day stay at the Colonial House are able to leave campus to attend other support meetings, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous as long as clients take some sober support from Colonial House or sober members of the community. “We teach them a lot of life skills, things that maybe they haven’t learned,”Morrisson says. “We allow them to become productive members of society.” Morrisson can recall several success stories. Even a year or two after leaving the Colonial House, Morrison says clients will call to say whether they are still clean, or if they have a job or a family. “That’s really awesome,”Morrisson says. The inpatient program includes a variety of components such as individual counseling, relapse prevention training and group therapy. According to the Colonial House website, attendance at 12-step meetings, where clients have the opportunity to explore a relationship with a higher power of their understanding, is mandatory. At maximum capacity, the inpatient program can hold 45 people. Bradley says the waiting list can vary in length, but current wait times are about two weeks. 

“We allow them to become productive members of society.” -Christi Morrisson, The Colonial House director of operations

INTERVIEW STATS Interview Subject: Joe Racette

Inteview Agency: Colonial House Inc.

Looking for an escape Racette says he had a good childhood. Although he did move several times, a lot of the friendships in his life came from military families. Moving around didn’t seem abnormal, he says. Later, after moving to Orange County, California, Racette tried drugs for the first time; first, marijuana, then LSD. Later, he tried prescription drugs, which he says were readily available at school. “Drugs offered a sense of escape,” Racette says. “I’m not even sure what I was escaping from. I liked the feeling, and I liked being kind of rebellious.”

Joe Racette was an American teenager living in Japan the first time he ever got drunk. The substance addiction that developed would both follow him around the globe and uproot the trajectory of his life. Racette’s father had a career in the U.S. Navy, which meant he often changed jobs and his family moved often. Racette spent a good amount of time out west, living in California or Hawaii. At 15 years old, Racette moved to Japan. He says at the time, he didn’t appreciate how special it was to live abroad. It was in Japan where he first got drunk on alcohol. “I was kind of an angry teenager,” Racette says.

After graduating high school, Racette moved to San Diego. But he says around this time, drinking became a regular habit. He married his high school sweetheart and the marriage lasted four years. “For a long time, I would have considered myself a functioning alcoholic,” Racette says. “I was able to keep a job.”

“I wasn’t employable. I’d lost my little company.” -Joe Racette Colonial House Board Member

Fighting His Demons Colonial House alumnus guides others to sobriety

A career gained and lost Gradually, Racette says that his drinking habit got worse and worse. Still, he held the same job for 11 years. Racette did very well during those 11 years. He started seeing another woman, named Tricia. But his drinking continued. “I became a maintenance drinker,” Racette says. “I drank during the day at work. I felt compelled, for whatever reason, to drink and smoke marijuana on a daily basis.” Racette says that as the company grew, his drinking began to affect his work. His boss required Racette to go to treatment in order to keep his job. “At that point, I think I knew I couldn’t quit drinking,” Racette says. “I was telling myself I couldn’t live without alcohol.” Racette later became an entrepreneur because he kept losing jobs. His relationships began to suffer. Around 1995, Racette says a doctor confirmed that he had begun having problems with his liver.The news of this struck Racette, and he maintained 12 years of sobriety. But then, he unexpectedly began drinking again. His life spiraled downward from there. “I wasn’t employable,” Racette says. “I’d lost my little company.” After completing the Colonial House 90-day treatment program, Racette spent nine months sober. Unfortunately he relapsed and started drinking again. By this point, Racette says Tricia, the woman he was seeing, broke up with him. Though they were estranged, she still continued to worry about him. A former CEO of the Colonial House, Marvin Lipscomb, drove 130 miles to where Racette was staying in Maryland to convince him to return to the Colonial House. Racette didn’t have any insurance or the funds to return.The

“I’m very involved in the recovery community around here.”

-Joe Racette Colonial House Board Member

Colonial House offered him a scholarship and the opportunity to stay as long as he needed, Racette says.

Addiction as an identity

Even though Racette is a sober man, drugs and alcohol remain a part of his identity. Racette now works in an outpatient treatment center and serves as a board member at the Colonial House. “I’m very involved in the recovery community around here,” Racette says. “I’m active in AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), and I have a lot of friends who are active in AA.” Jan. 1, 2016 marked the beginning of Racette’s seventh year of sobriety. 

INTERVIEW STATS Interview Subject: Adriane Shultz

Inteview Agency: Colonial House Inc.

“Family members get used to functioning in the chaos associated with someone who is using drugs or alcohol.” -Adriane Shultz Director of Inpatient Treatment Colonial House Inc. Self-healing While many family members have good intentions, a part of the training educates families how codependency can lead to unhealthy relationships. Family members really love the person in treatment, Shultz says, and often know the addiction lifestyle can be dangerous. “You tend to develop this pattern of being willing to do absolutely anything to save them,” Shultz says. “And that can become extremely unhealthy.” Codependency is often seen among family members who deal with someone who is abusing substances, Shultz says. Codependents can allow their health, wellbeing or other priorities to slip away as they focus on caring for the person with an addiction.

Gathering Families Progra helps families heal from substance abuse Shultz says typically around 20 to 25 people attend each meeting.The meeting runs from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Afterwards, family members are allowed two hours of visitation time with their loved one in the inpatient program. One person struggling through drug addiction can affect every member of the family.The Colonial House Inc. inpatient program focuses on treating those individuals struggling with drug addiction. But one Sunday every other month, family members also gather at the inpatient facility to learn the impact of drug addiction on families. The family program is typically presented by Director of Inpatient Treatment Adriane Shultz and a representative with Drug Free Workplace PA, which is a nonprofit organization geared toward providing a drug free workplace in Pennsylvania businesses. The family program examines areas such as the science of addiction, addiction dynamics and associated risk behaviors. Those enrolled in the inpatient treatment program are not allowed to attend the family meetings. While the meetings are intended only for family members, Shultz says Colonial House Inc. uses the term “family” loosely. “We allow clients to invite friends, whomever they recognize as someone who will positively support them in the recovery process,” Shultz says.

“You tend to develop this pattern of being willing to do absolutely anything to save them. And that can become extremely unhealthy.” -Adriane Shultz Director of Inpatient Treatment Colonial House Inc. Thinking ahead Once clients complete the 90-day While Shultz says family support is important, she notes that if a loved

one is to stop using substances, they need to want to do so for themselves. Codependency that is not resolved can also lead to problems such as drug addiction, alcoholism and eating disorders, according to the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s website. “Family members get used to functioning in the chaos associated with someone who is using drugs or alcohol,” Shultz says. Shultz says family members can also experience shame and stigma associated with having a family member addicted to drugs or alcohol. As such, Shultz says it’s encouraging to see a group of family members in one room who all have the same problem. Common fellowship with one another reduces the shame and stigma and it helps them to know they are not alone. Shultz says environments such as these provide valuable support for family members who can talk openly about what they’re struggling with.

 alcoholism and drug addiction, the better support you’ll be for your loved one,” Shultz says. inpatient treatment, they have varied destinations. Some clients return home or some go on to another form of treatment, Shultz says. “The more support someone has when they leave treatment, the better their chances are at long-term sobriety,” Shultz says. While supporting the addicted family member is important, Shultz says the most important aspect of the family program is teaching participants to educate themselves. “The more you know about

INTERVIEW STATS Interview Subject: Fern Wilcox

Inteview Agency: Colonial House Inc.

“You really have to want to be here. We ask a lot of questions about motivation.” -Fern Wilcox, executive director at the Daystar Center for Spiritual Recovery The Colonial House also works to care for clients with a dual- diagnosis. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a dual-diagnosis is a term for someone who experiences a substance abuse and mental illness problem simultaneously. Someone with a dual-diagnosis may need more attentive care and an especially stable environment for maintaining a sober lifestyle. Sacco says the Colonial House works to find a program that can best treat each client. After completing initial treatment at the Colonial House, Inc., the next phase of treatment typically involves outpatient treatment at home or moving into transitional recovery housing such as a halfway house. The Colonial House works with approximately 10 halfway homes, according to Executive Director Antoinette Sacco. Approximately 70 percent of patients who leave the Colonial House move to a halfway house, according to Sierra Trago, utilization review and aftercare coordinator.The remaining 30 percent who return home are encouraged to attend intensive outpatient programming, as well as other treatment options listed in their care plan. A recommendation of where a client would receive more treatment depends greatly on a person’s current home environment and whether it would be conducive to continued sobriety, Sacco says.

Feeling at Home Program helps families heal from substance abuse

Finding a new home When further treatment is recommended for a client, their information is sent to at least three different halfway houses, Trago says. If a patient is referred to additional treatment after completing the Colonial House, timing is one of the driving factors in determining which treatment center a patient will attend. “Although they might get accepted by all [the treatment centers applied to], it all depends on whether the halfway house has an open bed at or around the time of discharge,”Trago says. The Daystar Center for Spiritual Recovery accepts referrals from a wide variety of sources; roughly 15 to 20 percent of its referrals come from the Colonial House, says Fern Wilcox, executive director of the Daystar Center for Spiritual Recovery. A wide variety of factors go into an admission decision at the Daystar Center, Wilcox says. “You really have to want to be here,”Wilcox says. “We ask a lot of questions about motivation.” While colloquially the center might be known as a halfway house, Wilcox says she likes to refer to the center as community-based residential treatment. “People hear halfway house and they think of the criminal justice system,”Wilcox says. The Daystar Center is licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs. Wilcox says this license provides quality control so that treatment centers such as the Colonial House can feel confident in referring their clients.

 Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings as a component of the treatment program. Embracing spirituality Like the Colonial House, the Daystar Center embraces the 12- step program, which contains a spirituality component. While the Daystar Center is affiliated with the United Methodist Church, it welcomes everyone and encourages people to grow in their own understanding of a higher power. Still, Wilcox acknowledges that the 12-step program doesn’t work for everyone. Another difficulty many addicts face is having underdeveloped social skills.The Daystar Center focuses on rebuilding these social skills in clients, Wilcox says. “Sometimes, a meeting of 100 people can be very overwhelming for people,”Wilcox says, adding that the program works to meet clients where they are in their recovery, and to find methods that will work for them. Clients also attend Alcoholics “Sometimes, a meeting of 100 people can be very overwhelming for people.” -Fern Wilcox, executive director at the Daystar Center for Spiritual Recovery

PICTURED: Antoinette Sacco Executive Director of Colonial House Inc.

INTERVIEW STATS Interview Subject: Antoinette Sacco Inteview Agency: Colonial House Inc.

“I’m a firm believer that the longer somebody stays in treatment, the better opportunity they have to stay clean.”

–Antoinette Sacco, Executive Director, Colonial House

Fueled By Optimism Colonial House executive director sees recovery from both sides of the desk Antoinette Sacco, executive director at Colonial House, has experienced the process of addiction treatment and recovery in many different ways. Sacco’s own drug and alcohol use dates back to the age of 13. She was in active addiction for 30 years before finally getting clean in 1992. A judge had given her an ultimatum: go to treatment, or go to the penitentiary. It was perplexing why treatment worked that time when other times it had failed. Looking back, Sacco says she was ready for recovery – mired in emotional pain, and just plain tired of living the life of a drug addict. She also wanted to regain custody of her young son, who was living with her parents.

A fresh start As her own recovery took hold and her life began to improve, Sacco decided to pursue a career in the addiction treatment field. Her first job in the profession was as a night manager at the Colonial House. She also went back to school and completed the educational requirements needed to become certified by the state of Pennsylvania as an addiction counselor. Besides working as a counselor, Sacco acquired some experience with administrative responsibilities at a treatment program for adolescents.

In 2005, Sacco received her master’s degree in human services.The following year, she returned to the Colonial House as the new program administrator. Based on her own experience of finally achieving recovery after several unsuccessful attempts, Sacco calls herself “a perpetual optimist: if I can get clean, anybody can get clean. I believe people can do this.”

Caring when it counts After seeing people from many walks of life recover at the Colonial House, Sacco is a firm believer in its program. What she appreciates most about Colonial House is the dedication of the staff. “The staff here genuinely care about our clients.They are dedicated and their hearts are in it,” she says, adding that they also make her job as administrator easier. “I work with awesome people. We’re all in it for the same reason: helping people get better.” As a profession, helping people with addictions find their way to recovery has its daily challenges. But it also delivers rewards in the form of a genuine sense of accomplishment, manifested in clients’ success stories, Sacco notes. “When a former client calls and says they are celebrating five years or 10 years of recovery, or you run into

them at a 12-step meeting, and they are doing well, that definitely keeps you going.” Significant progress has been made in understanding and treating addictions. But waiting lists at many treatment facilities are a sign that more treatment centers are needed to serve the amount of people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol, Sacco points out. She would also like to see the treatment industry do more to reach the population of addicted people who are in need, but aren’t aware of how it could better their lives. Sacco would like to see more events like the Faces of Addiction rally held last summer in Washington, D.C.

Although addiction treatment can and does work, addiction still carries a stigma that can be counterproductive, Sacco notes. “There are not enough people willing to come forward to say ‘Hey, I was an addict and with treatment, my life changed.’” “You can’t treat a lifelong addiction in 14 days.” –Antoinette Sacco, Executive Director, Colonial House 

INTERVIEW STATS Interview Subject: Sierra Targo

Inteview Agency: Colonial House Inc.

Life after Colonial House Sierra Trago sees trust as key to patient recovery

Officially, as the utilization review and aftercare coordinator at the Colonial House, Inc., Sierra Trago helps clients find a place to stay after treatment. But in short, a big portion of her job, Trago says, centers on building trust with clients. Trago says that many factors in a client’s past contribute to their drug addiction. Similarly, these same factors, such as neglect by a parent, can contribute to clients being more hesitant to trust others. “It’s their body language,”Trago says. “They won’t make eye contact, or are constantly moving in the chair.” Still, Trago says she loves the opportunity she has to make an impact on her clients’ lives. “They come in here, and they completely open up,”Trago says. Most commonly, Trago says she sees clients abusing heroin, alcohol and synthetic marijuana. Due to the inherent difficulty of obtaining reliable data, the Colonial House does not track the number of patients who relapse after leaving the Colonial House, Trago says. The majority of clients receive aftercare, whether in the form of a halfway house or intensive outpatient treatment, Trago says.

“They come in here, and they completely open up.” -Sierra Trago, utilization review and aftercare coordinator at the Colonial House, Inc.

Finding the best fit Trago remembers a time when, as an intern, she was taking an assessment of a female client. “Little things she said, you could tell she was really hurt by her past,” Trago says. “I was trying to help her see it from another angle.” Trago says the client reminded her of similar issues in her own past, but she was able to help the client see a better future. “You have to be strong and live every day,”Trago says. Trago works with both clients and their insurance companies to find a “Little things she said, you could tell she was really hurt by her past. I was trying to help her see it from another angle.” -Sierra Trago, utilization review and aftercare coordinator at the Colonial House, Inc.

supportive place for clients to stay before their discharge date at the Colonial House comes up. Trago says she also needs to work with insurance companies to ensure a halfway home meets their criteria for reimbursement. However, Trago also must work against deadlines. Because the Colonial House offers treatment programs for a set period of time, such as 90 days, Trago must ensure clients have a place to go after their discharge. “If they’re out by the 12th, I need to have a bed for them,”Trago says.

 “I prefer them not going back to where they’re comfortable,”Trago says, citing risk factors for falling into old patterns of behavior.The ultimate goal of the Colonial House is to help clients re-enter society, Trago says. Certain acts, such as suicide attempts or corruption of a minor, can disqualify clients from participating in some halfway homes. Clients might also request to go to one treatment home over another because of a past experience in a halfway home or knowing a friend that might work at a certain treatment center.

Our outpatient program offers treatment services to promote lifestyle changes and recovery from drug and alcohol dependency related issues. Clients in the Outpatient Program are assigned a counselor, who will create an treatment plan. The program includes counseling, group therapy and relapse prevention training. Adult programs, assessments, information and referrals, health awareness, information and referrals, health awareness, family counseling, parenting classes, DUI Groups, Anger Management, Domestic Violence, Individual, and group counseling. Specialized groups such as introduction to 12 step programs, HIV/AIDS and drug and education, and drug testing. Accessible to the handicapped, Bilingual (English - Spanish) and culturally competency.

INTERVIEW STATS Interview Subject: Penny Brown Inteview Agency: Divine Light

Addiction is often referred to as a “family disease” because it affects more than the suffering individual, it has the power to rip through one’s family and social circle. Family can also provide support during the roughest times. Few exemplify the extent of addiction’s family ties as well as Penny Brown, former client and now director of recovery services at Divine Light. “Through the grace of God and Divine Light, I was able to save my family,” Brown says. Since Brown came into Divine Light, she has seen her son, her niece and two brothers complete the program successfully, as well as her ex-husband, who now works as Divine Light’s director of therapeutics. Now with five children, two grandchildren and another on the way, Brown is grateful to provide her loved ones with a more positive upbringing than her own. Family dysfunction Brown grew up with an alcoholic mother, an enabling grandmother and an abusive father, she says. It wasn’t until roughly a year into the program at Divine Light that she was able to open up about her past and address the underlying issues that brought her to use drugs to cope. Her mother, in the throes of alcoholism, was unable to care for Brown, so she went to live with her father, she says, expecting love and protection. In reality, the protection Brown needed was from her father. He sexually abused Brown continuously between the ages of 7 and 14, she says. Although she has worked through her nightmarish past and processed it at Divine Light, its consequences still linger. “I thank God that today I’m living in my own place, but because of the turmoil I’ve been through, I still sleep with the lights on,” she says. Brown is now able to use what once kept her in addiction’s grasp, what she once viewed as a weakness, as a constant reminder of the strength that got her where she is today. “I try to keep it at the forefront of my mind,” she says. “Because when I came in I was broken, spiritually and mentally. Someone saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself.” icti is fte referre t as a “fa il isease” eca se it a ects re t a t e s eri i i i al, it as t e er t ri t r e’ fa il a s cial circle. a il ca als r i e s rt ri t e r est ti es. e e e lif t e e te t f a icti ’ fa il ties as ell as e r , f r er clie t a irect r f rec er ser ices at i i e i t. “ r t e race f a i i e i t, I as a le t sa e fa il ,” r sa s. i ce r ca e i t i i e i t, s e as see er s , er iece a t r t ers c lete t e r ra s ccessf ll , as ell as er e - s a , r s as i i e i t’ irect r f t era e tics. it e c il re , t ra c il re a a t er t e a , r is ratef l t r i e er l e es it a re siti e ri i t a er . Fa ly y fu ction Bro r w u it n lcoholic t er, e li r t er si e f t er, s e s s. It s ’ til r l e r i t t e r r t i i e i t t t s e s le t e t er st ress t e erl i iss es t t r t er t se r s t c e. er t er, i t e t r es f lc lis , s le t c re f r r , s s e e t t li e it er f t er, s e s s, e ecti l e r tecti . I re lit , t e r tecti r ee e s fr er f t er. e se ll se r c ti sl et ee t e es f , s e s s. lt s e s r e t r er i t ris st r cesse it t i i e i t, its c se e ces still li er. “I t t t t I’ li i i l ce, t ec se f t e t r il I’ e ee t r , I still slee it t e li ts ,” s e s s. r is le t se t ce e t er i icti ’ r s , t s e ce ie e s e ess, s c st t re i er f t e stre t that got her where she is today. “I try to keep it at the forefront of my i ,” s e s s. “ ec se e I c e i I s r en, spirit ll me t ll . e e s s et i i e t t I i ’ see i self.” 12 s s s a y dy n tion o ew h l oho i t m ,” s t .” Out of Darkness, Into Light Recovering addict reconciles with abusive past to bring strength to family and clients nt L i i il i h u i s clients nt L g i u i il

Emotional ties Brown has learned that people recover on their own time frame. Her daughter, for example, joined Divine Light for six months before returning to active addiction. There was a time when this would have provoked a dramatic response from Brown. “I used to see clients leave and I would get very emotional. I would act on my feelings because I didn’t want them to go back out - I would physically hold them back,” she says. “Now I talk to them and let them go through their own process, because sometimes we interrupt that process.” She allows people to take their own path toward recovery, keeping in mind her own 20-year struggle with addiction, which included several attempts at recovery programs. “There were so many times I wanted to be clean and I just didn’t know how,” Brown says. It wasn’t until she reached Divine Light that she says she caught a glimpse of the program’s namesake. She accepted a Higher Power into her life and situated herself in a prime position to follow suggestions. “It was nothing that I did at all. It was all God,” she says. “The only thing I did was sit still.” E t o ie B a l at ” ” ” ” ” E o B l l i i . , l , j i i i i i i i i i . i i l i . li leave and I l i l. l li i ’ l i ll l , . l l i , i i . ll l i , i i i l i i i , i i l l . i l j i ’ , . ’ il i i i li ’ . i i li i l i i i i ll i . i i ll. ll , . l i i i ill.

“When I came in I was broken, spiritually and mentally. Someone saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself.” - Penny Brown director of recovery services me that I didn’t see in myself.” - Penny Brown


INTERVIEW STATS Interview Subject: Will Cook Inteview Agency: Divine Light

INTERVIEW 3 Facing Light the

Will Cook uses his own life trauma to inspire his clients to recover and heal

The only escape


Spreading the light


INTERVIEW STATS Interview Subject: Anthony Cubbage Inteview Agency: Divine Light

Secrets No More Director of Therapeutics reconciles with his own history of abuse and addiction re

INSERT 10 As the director of therapeutics for Divine Light, Anthony Cubbage embodies responsibility - he is quick to take care of business and lend a hand to staff and clients alike. Cubbage learned recovery as a client at Divine Light by embracing openness and honesty, and trudged through his own guilt and shame to find his way. Now, it’s his job to facilitate the same revelatory experience in the minds of newcomers, identifying personally with their life experiences. Cubbage has been through his own 30-plus year addiction cycle and spent 10 years in prison for a robbery charge and previous offenses, he says. He was also molested by a basketball coach at age 12, and he can remember acting out by getting high, selling drugs, and being “out of control” to cope with the dark secret he couldn’t share. “A black cloud came over the sky and I went crazy for 30 years,” he says. “I finally found someone who I was comfortable enough talking to. It was like the weight was lifted off my shoulders.” - Anthony Cubbage director of therapeutics at Divine Light i i i i i , i i ili i i i l li li . l li i i i i , i il i . , i ’ i j ili l i i i , i i i ll i i li i . i l i i l i i i , . l l ll , i i i , lli , i l i l ’ . l l , .


Getting comfortable After joining Divine Light as a client, Cubbage says it took him another year-and-a-half to release his deepest secrets. “I finally found someone who I was comfortable enough talking to about it,” he says. “It was like the weight was lifted off my shoulders.” When he opened up to Sakina Dean, founder and CEO of Divine Light, he came to find that he was anything but alone, and that his peers could support him in working through the trauma, leaving discomfort in the past in order to function in the present. Recovery has allowed him to reconnect with family and build close relationships and a new support network. But he knows what to avoid. “Even when I go home to Delaware, I never go in my old neighborhood, I never call any old friends,” he says. “I don’t need to tell them how good I’m doing. They’ll find out.” Getting mfortab A er joini g Di i e i ht s a li t, s s it t i t r r- - - lf t r l s is st s r ts. “I l f s I s f rt l t l i t t it,” s s. “It s li t i t s li s l rs.” t i , f r f i i i t, t t t s t i t l , t t is rs l s rt i i r i t r t tr , l i is f rt i t st i r r t f ti i t r s t. r s l i t r t it f il il l s r l ti s i s s rt t r . t s t t i . “ I t l r , I r i l i r , I r l l fri s,” s s. “I ’t t t l t I’m i . ’l t.” G t ing f r a A j ini g i i i li , i i l l i . ll l l i i ,” . li i li l .” i , i i i , i l , i l i i i , l i i i i i i . ll i i il il l l i i . i . l , i l i , ll l i ,” . ’ ll ’ i . ’ll .”

One big family As he approaches his fourth year of involvement with Divine Light, Cubbage’s colleagues have become a new family to him. It’s a family he is grateful for, and a family that’s constantly growing in numbers. Cubbage’s new family has seen him through the ups and downs of sobriety, and he recognizes each new client as a mirror of his past. By assigning responsibilities, developing new programming, and maintaining a warm, welcoming air, Cubbage says he treats clients with the same caring displays that were offered to him. “I maintain my gratitude every day, and all I’m doing is just passing the baton” when new clients come looking for help, he says. And in turn, he can see the direct impact of his work at Divine Light on a daily basis. “I see someone walk in the door without clothes, without anything, and then walk out a different person after they finish the program,” he says. “We’re in the business of saving lives.” s r s is f rt r f i l t it i i i t, ’s l s f il t i . It’s f il is r t f l f r, f il t t’s st tl r i i rs. ’s f il s s i t r t s s f s ri t , r i s li t s ir r f is st. s i i r s si iliti s, l i r r i , i t i i r , l i ir, s s tr ts li ts it t s ri is l s t t r r t i . “I i t i r tit r , l I’m i is j st s i t t ” li ts l i f r l , s s. i t r , s t ir t i t f is r t i i i t il sis. “I s s l i t r it t l t s, it t t i , t l t i r t rs r t is t r r ,” s s. “ ’r i t si s f s i li s.” i i l i i i i , ’ ll il i . ’ il i l , il ’ l i i . ’ il i i , i li i i . i i i ili i , l i i , i i i , l i i , li i i i l i . i i i , ll ’ i i j i li l i l , . i , i i i i i i il i . l i i l , i i , l i i ,” . ’ i li .” i i


“I maintain my gratitude every day, and all I’m doing is just passing the baton.” - Anthony Cubbage - t


INTERVIEW STATS Interview Subject: Sakina Dean Inteview Agency: Divine Light

Born to Serve Divine Light on the path to recovery

One of Sakina Dean’s favorite inspirational quotes is the late Mark Twain’s comment that “‘Finding out the reason you were born is one of the most important things you can do.’” Dean believes it fits her chosen mission as founder and executive director of Divine Light, Inc.’s addiction treatment center in Philadelphia. “I don’t look at it as work, I look at it as doing what I was born to do,” Dean says. “I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.”The daughter of a psychotherapist mother and a music-teacher father, Dean grew up in Philadelphia wanting to be a psychologist, caring for an underserved population. She has found that client population in the inner-city. On the way to founding Divine Light, Dean earned a degree in behavioral psychology at Temple University, and spent several years working as a social worker/ case manager and behavioral therapist. Working with emotionally troubled children and a second job as a real estate agent led to her opening a personal care (group) home for mental health patients unable to care for themselves. After she started working with dual-diagnosis (mental illness and addiction) clients, Dean returned to school to obtain some education on addiction and its treatment. “I wanted to properly serve the dual-diagnosis population and be able to refer them to treatment facilities with the proper strategies.” Dean entered the addiction treatment field through marriage; her then- husband ran recovery homes in properties he rented. After her husband was brought down by his own addiction, Dean took over the recovery home business to keep it afloat, and in August 2010 established Divine Light.

”I’ve always wanted to care for an underserved population.” -Sakina Dean executive director Divine Light


“The most important thing is to get to the root of their issues.” -Sakina Dean

A light in the community Today, Divine Light has five recovery residences for men and women and last September, opened a LGBTQ shelter and recovery facility, the first of its kind in Philadelphia. All together, Divine Light’s recovery facilities serve 170 men and women, and there is a waiting list for admission. “This has become my passion,” says Dean, who estimates that about 60 percent of Divine Light clients have a dual diagnosis of addiction and mental illness, and need services to address each area. Long-term recovery from addiction is not something that comes easily to anyone. But Dean is proud of Divine Light’s success rate in treating the addicted: at least 80 percent of Divine Light’s program graduates remain clean and sober a year after completing treatment, she says. She’s proud that Divine Light has “one of the highest therapeutic success rates for recovering people in the city.” Looking back at Divine Light’s short history, Dean has learned a lot about her chosen field. One principle that stands out is “love heals all.” And in helping people recover from addiction, “the most important thing is to get to the root of their issues. If we don’t get to the core, then the client will just keep repeating the (relapse) cycle.” In helping clients in treatment, one tool Divine Light’s program uses is journaling to help each client clarify what he or she needs to do to recover and why they want to recover. Clients are asked to think about and write down their thoughts on questions like, “‘What got me here?’ ‘What makes you keep coming back to places like Divine Light?’ ‘Have you been emotionally traumatized by something?’” Dean says. The technique not only helps clients identify their personal needs, it’s also a way to tap into the inner wisdom they need to lead them out of the wilderness of addiction.


New Life Addiction Counseling & Mental Health Services of Pasadena, MD provides outpatient treatment and addiction treatment services (including detox, if needed) for those struggling with substance abuse and drug and alcohol addiction, as well as for those with mental health issues. With an emphasis on total abstinence from alcohol and drugs, our treatment services are designed to motivate clients to develop strategies through education, self-awareness, therapy and counseling, and participation in specialized groups – strengthening life skills so they can successfully manage life’s struggles moving forward.

INTERVIEW STATS Interview Subject: Deb Murphy & Jim Collins Inteview Agency: New Life

The need to De-stigmatize There is abundant evidence showing that addiction to drugs or alcohol is a disease, and not solely a matter of personal choice. The old idea that addiction is a result of moral failing or lack of willpower has largely been replaced by the disease theory. Still, people who are addicted are sometimes faced with judgement and outdated attitudes that can impair their recovery. Helping recovering clients deal with and overcome the stigma is one of the objectives of treatment at New Life Addiction Counseling Services. Overcoming negative attitudes in recovery

“There’s no magic bullet; it’s just

a process of accepting.” -Deb Murphy counselor New LIfe ACS


Jim Collins, a New Life group counselor, says the most widespread manifestation of the stigma is the public perception of addiction, whether it involves drugs or alcohol. “Some quote- unquote ‘normal’ people have the misconception that an alcoholic is a skid row, trenchcoat-wearing ‘drunk’, and that an ‘addict’ is someone who sticks a needle in his arm. Neither could be necessarily further from the truth – occasionally, they are true, but not always.” Another misconception both in the larger community and in the rooms of recovery is that any one person can judge another person’s quality of recovery, Collins says. But the process by which people enter recovery varies. Some people

come in through self-help groups like Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous; others come to it through rehab, which introduces them to self-help to maintain the abstinence they seek. Some AA members don’t welcome recovering drug addicts into their groups: “If you’re an addict you’re not welcome here”; the same applies for some NA members in regard to alcoholics, Collins notes.This outdated attitude has become less common in recent years, although “there are some old- timers who still carry a hard-line.” Similarly, some NA members have problems with recovering addicts using maintenance drugs like methadone or suboxone. “They say, ‘You’re not clean until you come off whatever the medication is,’” Collins says. “But, as a person in recovery, it’s not for me to judge the quality of someone else’s recovery.”

Overcoming Stigma “People are very afraid of being labeled,” Collins says. “One of the things we try to teach is that there is no shame in being in recovery. Lives improve exponentially in recovery.” He notes that the 2015 theme for National Recovery Week was “Visible, Vocal, Valuable.” “No one should remain silent about being in recovery.” New Life counselor Deb Murphy notes that effects of the stigma can be very severe for people trying to recover. “People may not only be dealing with the symptomatology of their addiction, but they also feel symptoms of hopelessness, shame, and discrimination.Then they may isolate themselves and become more depressed. Sometimes the stigma makes them reluctant to seek help. “My job as a counselor is to first of all help clients accept the fact that they have a disease; it’s not their fault. I try to encourage them not only to use the support of the group, but to seek outside support – not just NA or AA, but in groups like Celebrate Recovery and Smart Recovery. In some cases some clients need more individual therapy and we will refer them for that.” Healing the stigma of addiction is a process, Murphy stresses. “It’s certainly not going to happen overnight for any of us.There’s no magic bullet; it’s just a process of accepting, connecting and finally realizing ‘I’m OK.’” 

“It’s not for me to judge the quality of someone else’s recovery.” -Jim Collins group counselor New LIfe ACS


INTERVIEW STATS Interview Subject: Sofia Arnold Inteview Agency: New Life


N ew Life Addiction Counseling Services recently expanded its medication-assisted treatment services by adding Vivitrol, a relatively new injectable medicine used to treat alcohol dependence and prevent relapse to opioid dependence.e U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Vivitrol for the treatment of alcohol abuse in 2006. Vivitrol is an extended-release formulation of naltrexone. While naltrexone hydrochloride is for both daily and once-a-month dosages, Vivitrol is the once-a-month formulation of the medication. Vivitrol is an opioid antagonist, which means it blocks other opioids from acting on the receptors in the brain and can also help ease drug cravings. By blocking the e…ects of other opioids, it removes the pleasurable e…ect, which can help with preventing relapse. Although it is not fully understood why an opioid antagonist works in treating alcoholism, it is believed that Vivitrol blocks the pleasurable e…ects of alcohol by blocking the release of endorphins triggered by alcohol. Vivitrol binds to the opioid receptors in the brain, produces no opioid e…ects, and does not allow other opioids to enter. Because Vivitrol is an antagonist, it will cause withdrawal in patients who still have any opiates in their system when they take the medication. For this reason, patients need to have gone through detoxi†cation prior to starting the medicine and have – ideally – not taken any opiates for 7 to 14 days before their †rst Vivitrol injection.

Vivitrol needs to be accompanied by counseling. Research has shown that opioid-dependent patients who received both counseling and Vivitrol had signi†cantly more days of complete abstinence, stayed in treatment longer, reported less craving, and were less likely to relapse. One of the main problems with the daily dosages of naltrexone has been medication compliance; patients have to remember and be willing to take the pills each day. However, with the once-a-month Vivitrol shot, medication compliance is less of a problem, research indicates. ”Clients like the advantage of not having to take a daily pill.” – Sofia Arnold, New Life nurse practitioner MONTHLY SCHEDULES At New Life, most patients who receive the Vivitrol injection take it on a monthly basis, although a few are on three-week schedules, says nurse practitioner So†a Arnold, who manages the Vivitrol program. Arnold, who recently joined the sta… at New Life, is a Kansas native who trained in family medicine, but says she has always been drawn to the addiction medicine †eld. She received her nurse practitioner degree from Fort Hays (Kansas) State University and her RN degree from Newman State University in Wichita. Patients who receive Vivitrol at New Life are closely monitored by their prescribing physicians.e drug's manufacturer, Alkermes Inc., has advised that recipients' liver enzyme levels need to be monitored, Arnold

notes. Patients typically have blood drawn and lab tests conducted in order to make sure all enzymes are within normal parameters, Arnold says. Vital signs such as blood pressure and heart rate are checked at each visit. Some Vivitrol users experience side e…ects, such as headaches, depressed mood, nausea, fatigue and dizziness. e most common side e…ect seems to be headaches, but they usually lessen with each subsequent injection, according to Arnold. Arnold says some of the clients she has seen have received other therapies and treatments for their addiction, but are still struggling. “Some of these clients tell me they like the advantage of not having to take a daily pill,” Arnold says. “ey really like the fact that once the Vivitrol is in their system, it stays there for four weeks; there is a comfort in that.ey usually say that, 'ere's no point in drinking or trying to use' because they know it's not going to have the desired e…ect.”



INTERVIEW STATS Interview Subject: Agency Overview Inteview Agency: New Life

“ New Life ACS sends clients into society in order to help them extend their identity as a sober person. “

New Life Addiction Counseling & Mental Health Services offers both Intensive Outpatient Program group meetings and Continuum of Care Program group meetings to help those addicted to substances recover with one comprehensive approach. The IOP is a more hands- on plan and will help someone suffering from severe substance issues. After a client complies with New Life’s requirements to be considered safely on the way to recovery, the client is downshifted to COC.The COC program helps people who have gotten a handle on their addiction re-enter society sober. “ Combined with the 24 weeks in IOP, New Life ACS plans to have clients through the entire recovery process in 36 weeks. ” 50

Starting with intensive care While in IOP, clients attended 24 total group sessions.The group meets for three hours a day three days a week. Clients submit random urine screens and breathalyzer tests. If a client fails to give requested screens or breathalyzers, it is considered a positive test. During sessions, clients learn the importance of 12-step program fellowship and sponsorship, and receives directories to community support meetings. Sessions cover steps one through three, including having clients complete a written review of step one. As a part of an IOP group, clients must attend three Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous or Chemically Dependent Anonymous meetings each week. In New Life ACS’ sessions, clients receive information on the health aspects of alcohol and drugs.They receive information on how addiction can impact their family and talk about their family support system. In order to graduate from IOP to COC, the client must complete at least eight weeks of the program, though this might vary, and be clean for 30 days. New Life ACS sends clients into society in order to help them extend their identity as a sober person. Along with going to outside meetings, clients are required to collect 10 phone numbers of others also recovering so they can build an independent social support network. When patients keep active in an outside group, they obtain a one day sober chip and later pick up 30th, 60th and 90th day sober chips to carry with them.

 After completing all of the goals and remaining clean and sober, clients graduate from the COC group. Combined with the 24 weeks in IOP, New Life ACS plans to have clients through the entire recovery process in 36 weeks. 51 Finishing with less-intense aftercare The COC group is about strengthening the recovering client’s resolve.This involves continuing work on self-esteem and identifying and handling feelings. In the COC program, recovering addicts spend less time in meetings and more time learning to handle life on their own. Clients attend hour-long sessions twice a week for 18 weeks and complete random urine screenings and breathalyzers. Through COC, clients learn about sober and safe ways to have fun to combat boredom. New Life ACS staffers also are concerned with finding ways to involve clients in the process of helping others like themselves. Patients are required to get and maintain a task in their home groups, which could be anything from setting up chairs, brewing coffee or being a door greeter.

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