AS SEEN THROUGH A MOTHER'S EYES
A personal story from our Clinical Director, Debi Bradley
It was never supposed to be like this. As a mother, I was sure I did everything right. I was always with my children, attended all of the school activities, payed for private Christian schools, and went to church. You name it, we did it. We were and are good parents.
After many years, I finally learned that it wasn't our fault. I learned addiction is a disease. Addiction has been classified as a disease since the 1950s. Yet, people stigmatize, look down upon, and look at addicts as if it is their fault. I have lost contact with my only sibling because of his views that it was somehow our fault, somehow we did something wrong, somehow this disease has no merit. This disease killed our mother.
My story is a personal one affecting both of my children. In some way, by the grace of God, I find myself one of the lucky ones. At least my children are still alive.
I was a very successful Real Estate Broker. As I tried to hold it together, I watched my family implode. I kept feeling like God was calling me to do more, learn more, help more, and speak up. I want to give addicts a voice!
At 55 years old, I went back to school and started a new career. Even though I have extensive experience through living with addiction my entire life, I now hold a Bachelor's Degree in Behavioral Science. I am MATS Certified (Medication Assisted Treatment Specialist). I am now a Behavioral Health Therapist/Addictions Counselor working in a Methadone Clinic. Yes, you read that right, working in a Methadone Clinic!
When I applied for the job, I asked God, "Please don't let that Methadone clinic call me!" I'm wasn't sure if I believed in Methadone treatment. So, when I got the call, I took the job I didn't want, but at least I would be helping addicts. I had an opinion of a Methadone Clinic formed in my head with no real knowledge of how it really worked. I can now say I have an opinion based on facts and not stigma.
I have witnessed people come back to life on MMT. Bottom line - it saves lives! It is incredibly good, and it is incredibly bad. Let me explain what I mean... The treatment itself works. It is life changing. The failures come in when it is the product of greedy clinic owners. Some clinics are managed to only focus on the profit, not the people. I believe that if the patient was not afraid to come in to begin with, a clinic would have more people, and could help more people. I hear it all of the time , "I'm afraid of that treatment because I don't want to get stuck." There aren't currently any regulations against that. If the patients are handled properly from the beginning, the patients get stable, get the counseling they need, get a job, get their life back, and start the process of coming off MMT. This should take a year or two at most. Don't get me wrong, a small percentage of patients will be on MMT for a lifetime. Most of them are professionals, nurses, general managers, truck drivers, you name it. Contrary to what most people believe, most addicts are extremely intelligent and can be very successful.
Most of our patients are people that have had a back surgery, a car accident, debilitating arthritis, etc. These are the people that the doctors prescribed 120+ Lortabs each month. Then they went to pain management clinics. As the crackdown on pain management clinics began, they were left addicted and sick without anywhere to go. They are upper, middle, and lower class people addicted to opioids. Addiction doesn't discriminate! They had no life. You simply cannot function taking so many pills. The patients are not there to get high - that stage passed a long time ago. Their bodies simply need the drugs to avoid horrible withdrawals. Many clinics let greed get in the way of treatment and are without accountability to provide the proper courses of treatment and services.
With that said, God has led me here. The Genesis Center will offer alcohol and addiction assessments, with the cost considered on a sliding scale. We strive to work with local courts to help patients with counseling, drug court issues, and to show that we have the community's best interest at heart. We will ensure patient recovery on all levels. The Genesis Center will offer holistic healing, life classes, intense counseling, encourage family involvement, and offer incentives during the tapering of the Methadone phase of the treatment. Our clinic will offer personalized treatment plans based on the patient, not the money. There will be monthly classes from professionals in the community. This clinic is focused on full recovery, not replacing an addiction.
Someone once said to me, "I will never judge anything that saves someone's life." I am striving and dreaming for this clinic to not only save lives, but to help rebuild them.