Men and Women forHumanExcellence Winter 2018

04 STARTING IN THE HOOD Agency’s roots are in Philadelphia 06 FROM ADDICTION TO A NEW CAREER Executive director looks back on an evolving field 10 PERSON-CENTERED CARE Program has been built on principles 16 PRACTICING LIFE-SAVING TRIAGE Counselor looks back, and ahead 18 LOOKING TO A BRIGHTER FUTURE A phone call leads to a life change 20 BACK ON SOLID GROUND Passing it on 22 ENJOYING ‘GOOD DAYS’ Client bounces back from addiction 24 RESILIENT AND RECOVERING Client keeps going, despite challenges 26 REGAINING SPIRITUAL HEALTH Client bounces back from ‘bankruptcy’ 28 HEALING MUSIC Client sees a brighter future 30 PUTTING THE PIECES BACK TOGETHER Client appreciates the opportunity Contents

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1026 Holcombe Rd. Decatur, GA 30032

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MEN AND WOMEN FOR HUMAN EXCELLENCE 1026 Holcombe Rd, STE C, Decatur GA 30032 MWFHE.ORG | 404 889 3776


Starting in the Hood Agency’s roots are in Philadelphia he story of Men and Women For Human

Two years ago, Johnson was able to obtain a federal grant from SAMSHA to provide counseling and treatment for individuals with HIV and hepatitis C. In September, SAMSHA awarded MWFHE another grant, to provide housing for chronically homeless individuals su ering from co-occurring substance abuse and mental health problems. Now, “MWFHE has developed into a complete social service agency, ”Johnson says. At one of its locations, it has 24-hour sta on-site to provide housing, transportation and other services to about 250 to 300 treatment clients per year. Today, MWFHE's primary service area is North Central Philadelphia, although the agency still receives plenty of referrals from courts and individuals in Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey. Several years ago, Johnson decided to open a treatment center in Decatur, after a friend of his mentioned a high rate of addiction and crime in Georgia, particularly the Atlanta area. He did some research, took a tour of the area, and opened in January, 2015. In the near future, Johnson hopes to expand into another area in need, in Melbourne, Fla.

Excellence (MWFHE) dates back to an inner city neighborhood in North Philadelphia where two friends in recovery, Keith Johnson and the late Kenny Ali – got the idea to “do something positive for the community,” in Johnson's words. “It was really Kenny's idea. We started very small. We hustled.” With a master's degree in social work, in 2001 Johnson was working as director of a shelter program for a Philadelphia County agency. He and Ali found and renovated a small building – which formerly housed doctors and dentists o ces -- and started with an after-school tutoring program for kids in need. Seeking to do more, they started an outpatient addiction treatment program for adults and adolescents, with space in a former dentist's o ce. en, Johnson and Ali became aware of a great need for addiction treatment services in the city of Baltimore, and began recruiting patients from that city, New Jersey and Delaware. Using their own funds, they were able to rent a nine-bedroom house to accommodate male clients. A year later they opened a house for women, and now provide transitional housing for up to 85 clients at a time. e year 2015 was a turning point for the agency, as MWFHE joined Pennsylavania’s Medicaid provider network, enabling them to bill for addiction treatment services. ey became a Medicaid-certi ed mental health provider in 2016. Becoming Medicaid-eligible

“Many people need treatment, but it’s only for the ones that want it.” - KEITH JOHNSON


A lengthy process

Opening a treatment center and obtaining the necessary certi cations to provide care and bill for services is a lengthy and painstaking process, Johnson notes. “People don't know the struggle we have to go through.” MWFHE has applied to become an eligible Medicaid provider in the state of Georgia, and hopes to receive approval by the beginning of the new year. Like most people in the profession, Johnson is concerned about possible Medicaid cutbacks that could reduce access to addiction and mental health treatment. “It's always a concern. ey have been trying to cut Medicaid for 10 years, but we need to have faith that the ‘powers that be’ will see that what we have done is positive work.” As time goes on, Johnson hopes to continue growing and being able to serve more people who need addiction treatment and mental health care. “It's always a learning process,” Johnson says. “One thing that has helped me, as a recovering addict, has been constantly staying in contact with the recovery process.” e program works for those who are willing, he says. “ ey have to want to do this. Many people need it (treatment), but it's only for the ones that want it.”

“We need to have faith that the ‘powers that be’ can see that what we do is positive work.” -KEITH JOHNSON co-founder and CE , Men and Women For Human Excellence



R ichard Chappelle, executive director of Men and Women For Human Excellence for the past ve years, knows he is in the right place. “If I ever had a dream job...this is it,” says Chappelle, who has been in recovery from addiction since 1991. He is a long-time friend of program founders Keith Johnson and Kenny Ali, and, like them, a native of north Philadelphia. “I've known them since before they started the program, probably before they even realized they had a vision.” An addiction which caused him to lose jobs and become estranged from his family, led Chappelle to seek treatment in 1989, at both inpatient and outpatient facilities. While in treatment, and watching counselors work with clients, he started thinking about a career in the addiction treatment eld. After earning a bachelors in social work from Philadelphia Community College and earning certi cation as an addiction counselor, he served a clinical internship with North Philadelphia Health System, and was hired there as a therapist in 1991. Recovery leads to a career

As a counselor, Chappelle realized early on the importance of listening skills and empathy for clients. “Passion is also really important,” he says: “being genuine and really wanting to help people.” During his time in the eld, he has seen a few changes, such as a gradual shift to a “person-centered” approach to treatment and away from a more authoritarian approach that used to be the dominant model. “ e old model focused more on the problem. e new model focuses more on solutions.” As a profession, “I think what we're nding out is that the problems we deal with are much tougher than we might have realized in the past. We have realized that it’s unrealistic to believe that two weeks of treatment is going to bring about the kind of change that will help a person to remain abstinent. It usually takes a longer period of time – not necessarily more costly, inpatient treatment.” “It's also become clear that most treatment clients have other needs beyond help with their addiction,” Chappelle notes. “ ere are a lot of other services people need that have nothing to do with them being in the hospital, but everything to do with them being in the community – things like jobs and places to live.”



- RICHARD CHAPPELLE executive director, Men and Women For Human Excellence

“We need to decrease some of those distractions that could interfere with being able to focus on staying clean and sober. Many of us in the eld are beginning to see that more and more; as a result, we are recommitting ourselves to doing things a di erent way. It can be di cult because we don't have the funds to do all of the things we want to do, so we just have to do the best we can.”

Treating co-occurring disorders

Another change is that the addiction treatment and mental health professions are working together more than in the past, Chappelle points out. “Today, there is more knowledge about the correlation between the two. We used to see them di erently, but statistics indicate that probably 70 to 80 percent of people who have mental health issues also have a co-occurring substance abuse problem.” e number is even higher among people who are diagnosed with a primary drug and alcohol issue. “ e key is to recognize when there are several issues that need to be addressed and realize that those need to be taken care of simultaneously,” Chappelle says. “If you neglect one while treating the other, you are going to have problems.”


Our Mission:

The focus of MWFHE is to provide people in recovery an atmosphere of structure, love, guidance, and a safe environment for growth and development. MWFHE aim is to keep on the path that was blazed by the visions and capacity for love that our Co Founder Kenny Ali (1957-2011) exhibited when MWFHE was first established. Our Recovery Programs are based on Twelve Guiding Principles that are deemed necessary for success on the Road of Recovery.

The Mission of Men and Women for Human Excellence, Inc. (MWFHE) is to help stabilize and empower recovering individuals who are burdened with thoughts and behavior that are self destructive. We facilitate this by enlisting them into a holistic person-first, strength-based, recovery oriented program with a well-rounded network of support mechanisms that enables them to gain and maintain a stable and progressive lifestyle.


1026 Holcombe Rd. Decatur, GA 30032 404-889-3776 9

Person-Centered Care Program has been built on principles

A tlanta native, Ruby Kirby has been the program director at Men and Women for Human Excellence, Inc. in Decatur. Ga. since August, 2015, a few months after the program was opened by founders Keith Johnson and Kenny Ali. Kirby is a recovering addict herself, with 26 years of clean and sober living. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology from Ashford University, and a master's in addiction counseling. She is currently working toward a doctorate in organizational leadership, with an emphasis on behavioral management. She has certi cation as a Certi ed Addiction Counselor II, a Certi ed Clinical Supervisor, and a Master’s Addiction Counselor. As a Certi ed Clinical Supervisor, she supervises

other professionals in obtaining their certi cation in the State of Georgia.


program director, Men and Women For Human Excellence -Ruby Kirby “The focus needs to be on their view of their stated problems, not mine.”

Twenty-six years in the f ield

and getting them into treatment as fast as possible.” “First, we deal with their immediate problems,” that could include any mental and physical health issues, plus making sure the client’s basic needs – food, clothing, and shelter, – are met. (MWFHE works closely with licensed mental health services to clients who need them.) “ en the client can focus more on his or her recovery.” One of the initial steps in the treatment process is putting together a treatment plan based on the client's stated objectives and needs. “It's professionals who can provide mental health

Kirby has been in the addiction treatment eld since 1991, after completing treatment at Comprehensive Addiction Treatment Programs of Georgia, she took a job there as receptionist. She was quickly promoted to job search coordinator, then vocational coordinator, then transitional housing coordinator, and then assistant to the director. Driven by the desire to learn more about her addiction, Kirby also became a regular participant in educational workshops for treatment professionals. One of the foundational principles at MWFHE is providing person-centered care, based on each individual's immediate needs. While the counselor is there to provide guidance, it's also important for the counselor to not impose his or her objectives on the client, Kirby notes. “ ings have changed. When I started in the eld, the approach was more 'hard core' there was no 'person centered' approach. Now we are more into meeting clients where they are, and not where we want them to be. We focus on getting people in recovery needs met



one of the most important tools to engage clients in the treatment process – which is a collaborative, creative and client driven process.” “ e focus needs to be on their view of their stated problems, and not mine. We ask them to tell us in their own words what their goals are. en, when they see that on paper in the treatment plan, it helps them commit to the process, and gives them something to look forward to.” Every client is unique, but treatment centers like MWFHE use standardized, evidence-based approaches to meeting each individual’s needs, Kirby says. “To move forward, we have to establish a therapeutic relationship with the PIR (people in recovery), employ active listening skills, and show genuineness and empathy. at helps them to open up, along with asking open-ended questions so that they can elaborate more on their concerns and issues. As a clinician, I need to let them know I'm here to help them, which may help to lower their defenses.” Evidence-based care

“Because I'm also a recovering addict and alcoholic, I can credibly relate to some of the things they have been through. I let them know, I'm in recovery, but treatment is not about me, it's about getting them to open up and share their thoughts and feelings.” “Because addiction is a family disease, MWFHE also has a family program to educate clients' loved ones about addiction, and the concept of co-dependency. Family members are encouraged to participate in Al-Anon.” Aftercare is an essential part of the treatment process. “We know that recovery is an ongoing process and it does not stop when treatment ends. So, as part of our continuum of services, we have aftercare groups once a week and also encourage them to call if they need us.” Looking to the future of Men and Women for Human Excellence, Kirby visualizes adding more space, more clients, more clinicians, and more apartments. “We want to keep growing, because there are always more people in need.

-Ruby Kirby “We know that recovery is an ongoing process, and does not stop when treatment ends.” 12


1026 Holcombe Rd. Decatur, GA 30032 14

Programs and Services The administration and staff at MWFHE are

strongly committed to the holistic person

first, strength-based process of recovery.

We look forward to providing the level

of care and services that help people in

recovery to function as productive and

responsible members of society.


Practicing Life-Saving Triage Counselor looks back, and ahead


A form of triage

rowing up in Brooklyn, N.Y., Valeria Warnic thought about becoming an attorney someday. “But I guess my higher power had other plans for me,” says Warnic, a member of the counseling staff at Men and Women For Human Excellence. Seeing family members struggle with drug and alcohol addiction was a factor in pointing Warnic in a different career direction. “At some point, I decided I wanted to help people [as an addiction counselor].” Her early years in the helping profession involved working at a children's group home and in the juvenile justice system, where Warnic observed the residual effects of addiction. “I saw a lot of children who had been taken from their parents because of substance abuse, and I saw young people smoking marijuana.” Warnic, who relocated to the Atlanta area in 1991, also worked for a residential treatment program for women and children, before joining the MWFHE staff in 2015.

In the course of their work, addiction counselors practice what could be considered a form of healthcare triage, Warnic notes. “We start by focusing on what the client's greatest need is. Maybe they haven’t had a physical exam in six months, or maybe they're not stabilized on their mental health medication.” “For the f irst 90 days after someone is admitted, we make sure we put the resources in place to stabilize them, so they can focus on their recovery. It can take a month to three months before we see them stabilize and get fully involved in the treatment process, based on their individual motivation and their needs.” Since addiction is a disease of denial, clients are not always fully willing to participate in treatment, at least initially. Warnic's experience in the f ield has taught her strategies to help clients get past their denial and accept the fact they have a disease that requires intensive care.

“We’re doing a service for people by helping restore their ability to live clean and sober lives.” - Valeria Warnic 16

Mutual staff support

“Good listening skills are extremely important because a lot of the clients we work with just need to have someone hear their story. Of course, we also have to have empathy and be genuine, and not try to do for them what they are capable of doing for themselves. Then, the f irst thing we have to f ind out is what they want and what they need. Once we understand what their needs are, then we can help them accomplish their goals.” Counseling can be a stressful, challenging profession, and taking care of patients sometimes involves taking time for some self-care, Warnic says.

“We have a small group of staff here, and we really support each other. Sometimes you can get so involved in taking care of the clients, you forget to take care of yourself.” To deal with stress and avoid job burnout, she swims three times a week to relieve stress, makes sure she's eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and makes a point of discussing with her supervisor, “whatever challenges I might be facing.” In the future, Warnic would like to do more to apply her long-time interest in natural health to addiction and mental health treatment. It's an interest that dates back to the age of 18, when a doctor told her she had gallstones and would need to undergo a cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal). Warnic started researching an alternative solution and found it in herbal medicine and natural foods. She never had the operation, but her health returned. She believes she made the right career choice, and is in the right place at MWFHE. “We're doing a service for people by helping restore their ability to live clean and sober lives, put their lives back together, and bringing together and strengthening families.”

- Valeria Warnic counselor, Men and Women For Human Excellence


BRIGHTER FUTURE A phone call leads to a life change LOOKING TO A

O ne night in January, 2013, Cleveland resident Darryl Suttles decided to call his cousin’s wife in Atlanta to wish her happy birthday. It was fairly late at night and Suttles was intoxicated. “My cousin answered the phone, and my life changed at that point.” “He asked me if I was ready to make a change.” Two days later, Suttles was on a Greyhound bus to Atlanta, his sister having paid his rst month's rent to stay at DeKalb Addiction Clinic's transitional housing facility. Suttles underwent treatment for the alcoholism and addiction to cocaine that had derailed his life. Over the next 12 weeks, he learned that addiction is a disease that changes the chemistry of the brain, and that it runs in families – but that he still had a choice to use or not use.

He became a regular participant in weekly Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and also participated in aftercare groups at Men and Women For Human Excellence (MWFHE).

In 2014, Suttles was hired as a (volunteer) resident manager of a recovery housing facility operated by MWFHE. In 2015, he became o ce manager at MWFHE. “HE ASKED ME IF I WAS READY TO MAKE A CHANGE.”

office manager, Men and Women For Human Excellence -Darryl Suttles


SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO Now 60 years old, Suttles is looking forward to August, 2018, when he expects to graduate from Argosy University with a bachelor's degree in psychology. He has already become certi ed as a peer support specialist, and then plans to gain his certi cation as an addiction counselor, “so I can help somebody else.” As a counselor-in-training, one aspect he appreciates about the care at MWFHE is the “person-centered” approach. “One thing they do here is meet people where they are. And the educational part – I did everything they asked, I did my homework. And the groups – having a place to talk about things instead of keeping them in is a big help.” Looking ahead to when he can get started in the counseling profession, Suttles would like to get involved in helping people with co-occurring mental health disorders. He would also like to use his real estate background to develop transitional housing for other people who are in treatment and recovery.

He remembers hearing MWFHE founder Keith Johnson talk about the importance of continuing to work on recovery, and staying in the presence of others who are also recovering. ”He said that if you do that, you have a much greater chance of staying in recovery. It's something that has de nitely helped me.”



Passing it on back on solid Ground

A s resident manager at one of Men and Women For Human Excellence's residences for addiction treatment clients, Adrian Sims helps other addicts find their way to sustained recovery. Sims is also a graduate of the program, who came to treatment in June of 2015. Growing up in Athens, Ga. Sims had started smoking marijuana as a teenager, before leaving high school in He was able to maintain steady employment as a custodian, then in a Kansas packing plant, but by 2001 his habit made it impossible to keep a job. He still had a place to live, though. “I could always go home; my parents never turned me away,” he recalls. Over the years, Sims made a number of unsuccessful attempts to quit using drugs, on his own. “But that would only last a month or two.” the 11th grade. He eventually progressed to sniffing, and then smoking cocaine.

-Adrian Sims resident manager, Men and Women For Human Excellence


Sims found out about MWFHE at a mental health clinic in Decatur, where he was attending a weekly therapy group. “One of the other clients was talking about resources and mentioned MWFHE.” Sims contacted the program and entered treatment at MWFHE a few days later. He moved into the supportive housing maintained by MWFHE and started a weekly schedule of recovery meetings and one-to-one counseling. Sims, who had battled depression and anger issues for a number of years, says his mental health has greatly improved since getting clean. “I made up my mind I wasn't going to do it (use) anymore. The groups helped me get in touch with my real feelings. I don't look down on anyone else for what they do; I just know I can't do it anymore.” “I try to encourage everyone I know,” Sims says. “I tell the other guys in the program if I can do it, Finding a place to get help “THEY ALWAYS SEEM TO HAVE A MINUTE TO SIT DOWN WITH YOU, TALK WITH YOU, AND HELP YOU OUT.” -Adrian Sims

they can do it, too. They are straightforward here, they don't try to jive you. They give you the tools to work with and really encourage you.” 'If I get to where I'm having a bad day, I'll talk to Miss Ruby, or talk to Darryl, our office manager, or talk to my family. That keeps me going. The most important thing is to be honest and let everyone in the agency know what is going on. They always seem to have a minute to sit down with you, talk to you and help you out.” Now 52, Sims is currently working to get his GED degree. He'd like to eventually attend college to become an addiction counselor, and pass on some of what he has learned about recovering from addiction.

Helping out

Meanwhile, he's made a good start in that direction by helping recovering addicts and alcoholics as a resident manager. The residences are a way to provide the structure that can make it easier for treatment clients to focus on their recovery, and access ongoing support, Sims notes. As a resident manager, he drug-tests residents three times a week, makes sure they do their chores and go to their meetings. “If they have

any issues we try to handle them at community meetings every Sunday, when we go over the house rules. We talk about things that are going on with them.” The literature used by recovering people in Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous emphasizes the importance of “passing it on,” and Adrian Sims is doing just that at Men and Women For Human Excellence.




T hese days, Iroyricus Thornton, a client at Men and Women for Human Excellence in Atlanta, is feeling

In early 2015, Thornton was referred to Men and Women for Human Excellence from DeKalb Crisis Center in Decatur, Ga. Thornton had smoked marijuana for many years before he tried marijuana laced with crack cocaine for the first


- very rare. All of the employees at Men and Women really care about their clients.” Thornton appreciates MWFHE's person-centered approach and quality of care. “They don't force you to grow up, they allow you to grow up; that's what I needed. I never had the opportunity to grow up, because most of my life I've had to work. They told me the only thing I need to work on is my recovery.” In the early stages of recovery, “Every day is a struggle,” Thornton says. “But every day I don't use is a damn good day.” “I could talk about that program all day. On the streets, people pretend to care, that only lasts for so long. The people at Men and Women all care, and they show you love. Their network of people also shows you the same love. It's not a program that leaves you to fend for yourself,” Thornton says. He has come a long way in less than three was a pair of pants and a shirt. Today, I have - a Ford pickup, a Honda Elantra, Honda Accent, and a Moped, and all my vehicles have insurance. I'm living in a house with all the bills paid. I'm very blessed.”

Over the years Thornton was able to support himself working on railroad track maintenance crews, in a convenience store and other jobs. He remembers spending an

taken over his life. Trying to support his out of prison for check forgery and

he notes.


On his own, Thornton tried to quit using “One day I ran across a guy who was able to morning, I realized that even when I can have as much as I want, I didn't want it anymore.” He turned himself in at DeKalb Crisis Center. Eventually, he was referred to MWFHE. It was the program he needed.


for his mental health issues. He is

where people want money , but to find a program where the people actually care is


Resilient and Recovering client keeps going, despite challenges

“There are a lot of tools

for recovery they can learn here.” -LeniseWestbrook client, men and women For human excellence


“They come to me when they need help; I’m able to help them a lot.” -LeniseWestbrook

L ong-time Atlanta resident, Lenise Westbrook has had a lot to deal with in recent years. Con ned to a wheelchair because of a degenerative spinal disorder, she has also been hospitalized several times for severe depression. She also became homeless several years ago, plagued by a longstanding addiction to crack cocaine. Last February, she made one of the best decisions of her life, entering the addiction treatment program at Men andWomen for Human Excellence (MWFHE). Growing up in Atlanta, Westbrook drank, smoked marijuana as a teenager, and tried crack for the rst time at the age of 26. “I saw my friends doing it, so I wanted to try it too. I jumped into it nonstop.” BATTLING ADDICTION Her husband, who also used the drug, “was my enabler,” she says. After losing her job as a cafeteria worker at Grady Hospital, Westbrook became homeless and was reduced to crashing on friends' couches. Westbrook, who has two adult children, left her husband at home in an e ort to separate herself from the drug. At one point, she was able to quit drugs on her own, staying clean and sober for a 10-year period. The severe depression and suicidal thoughts that caused her to relapse also led to several hospital stays. As of October, Westbrook was looking forward to graduating from MWFHE's intensive outpatient program, and feeling in a better state of mind than she had been in for a long time.

been attending as many as ve or six NA and AA meetings per week, along with the treatment sessions at MWFHE. She is also a peer leader in one of the treatment center's apartment buildings for women in recovery. “It helps me,”Westbrook says. “I have learned to be kind and understanding, especially when a new client comes in. I know they are going through a lot of changes and missing their families. They come to me when they need help; I'm able to help them a lot.” Regarding her time at Men andWomen For Human Excellence, Westbrook says she appreciates the “outstanding, well-organized” sta at the treatment center. “A majority of the sta are people in recovery; they have been through some of the things I have, so they are people I can relate to, and be comfortable with.” For others who are seeking a way out of addiction, Westbrook emphatically recommends the program at Men and Women for Human Excellence. “There are a lot of tools for recovery they can learn here.”

Westbrook has become a discussion leader in her Narcotics Anonymous group, and has



I’m very grateful i am y grateful for the program.

They gave me an opportunity for a life change.

- Larry Jones client, Men and Women For Human Excellence

Larry Jones , a client at Men and Women For Human Excellence (MWFHE) since last February, has spent much of his adult life battling addiction to alcohol and crack cocaine. Like many people in recovery, the Memphis native started drinking at a fairly young age – 14, in his case.“I liked the effects of alcohol and drugs, and I became addicted to the lifestyle.


Spiritual Bankruptcy

and I became addicted to the lifestyle - Larry Jones I liked the effects of drugs and alcohol,

He was 37 when a friend introduced him to crack cocaine. He started as an occasionally weekend user, but after a few months, the drug became a daily habit. Jones had started a career working as a tech support person for several computer companies. He always managed to find employment in his chosen field, in spite of losing a few jobs due to positive drug screens. But, it wasn't long before financial problems, a separation from his wife and homelessness followed. When Jones was able to work for a few weeks, he would end up spending most of his paycheck to support his habit. “I was spiritually bankrupt.” Jones underwent inpatient treatment for the first time in 1985, due to a DUI arrest. After being introduced to crack, he sought treatment again in 1995, 2002, 2005, 2009 and 2014. Each time, Jones eventually relapsed. He hit bottom again in February, 2017, for what he hopes was the last time, and was admitted to a VA hospital mental health unit in Atlanta. The VA referred him to MWFHE on February 27th. This time, Jones says, he has made a full commitment to recovering, more wholeheartedly than in his previous attempts. He’s looking at his life with more hope for the future. “I chose to start working the 12-step program of AA, living with those principles and incorporating them in my life. Men and Women has given me the tools to do that.” One of those tools is an apartment in supportive housing, where he can interact daily with other people in recovery. “I have surrounded myself with new people.”

Looking Forward

“This time, I've got a sponsor and I'm working my way through the steps, and I know where certain things are in the AA cornerstone. I feel much better. I wake up these days looking forward to whatever comes my way. Now I look at challenges as character-building. I no longer look at things with an 'My God, what am I going to do' attitude.” Every week, Jones meets with a MWFHE counselor, who gives him an honest assessment of his progress, and helps guide him through any rough patches.“I have made my mind up that I want to change. And the groups and counseling sessions have helped me with making that change.” The process has helped him learn healthier ways to deal with emotions like guilt, shame and anger, that could endanger his sobriety. And he feels a new sense of gratitude. “I'm very grateful to God for allowing me to become a member of AA, and I'm very grateful for the program I'm in. They gave me an opportunity for a life change.”


Healing Music A s a keyboardist and vocalist for the

things going on in my life; this (the drug) was a distraction. So, I made up my mind, ' is is it,' and checked myself into detox.” While in detox, Bruten called a number of addiction treatment centers in the Atlanta area. “Up until my last day of detox, I couldn't nd anyone that would take me in.” Bruten had an injury – a broken thumb – which may have been the reason for the rejections. Finally, he was referred to MWFHE. It turned out to be “the best place I ever went,” he says. When he arrived at MWFHE Bruten immediately appreciated the intimate setting. He says, “ ere were only six men in the group, which meant we could get more one-on-one (counseling time).” -Deryl Bruten If you really want to do it, you can do it. I’m a prime example.

Atlanta-based gospel group 1-A-Chord, Deryl Bruten sings and plays music with a positive message. e group recently made a studio recording, which Bruten can listen to for an emotional lift—something that is always useful for someone in recovery from addiction. In October, 2016, Bruten successfully completed a year of addiction treatment at Men and Women for Human Excellence. A native of DeLand, Fla., Bruten was in his 20s when he got hooked on crack cocaine. After it became a daily habit that took over his life, Bruten spent a year in inpatient treatment, and stayed clean and sober for 24 years. Eventually, Bruten decided that smoking a joint and having a beer now and then wouldn't hurt. Unfortunately his life took a downward spiral from that point, until Bruten decided to rededicate himself to getting sober. “ ere were many positive Relapsing into addiction


Bruten now has his own apartment, and a full-time job at Harts eld-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. He continues to attend aftercare group sessions at MWFHE and weekly Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. “AA helps because you are with people who have gone through the same things you have.” And, he's looking forward to more success with the seven-member gospel group, which recently performed in Germany. His advice to others who are battling addiction and not sure what to do: “If you fall down, you have to keep getting back up. If you really want to do it, you can do it. I'm a prime example.” “the real world. “It was like a boot camp. Every situation you face in there, you face in the real world.” Doing better “I made up my mind, and checked myself into detox.” Bruten spent 14 months living in supportive, recovery housing at MWFHE, which provided a good place to learn to live a balanced life and make the transition back to

-Deryl Bruten client, Men and Women For Human Excellence


Back Together Client appreciates the opportunity

n July 23, 2017, John Cooper, a substance abuse treatment client at Men and Women for Human Excellence in Atlanta, celebrated his one-year sobriety date. Cooper, who grew up in Connecticut, traces the start of his drinking back to his days in the U.S. Navy (1972-76). Cooper was a nuclear analyst stationed on an aircraft carrier o the coast of Vietnam. “We were on a ship, so there wasn't much else to do after we got o work,” he recalls. After the Navy, Cooper moved to Atlanta, married and found work as a butcher. He became a binge drinker on weekends and vacations. At one point, he stopped drinking “cold turkey” and remained sober for seven years. en, in 2016, stress from a divorce led him to resume drinking. “ en my personal life started falling apart.” Cooper wound up homeless.

Seeing people from different walks of life gives me hope I can do it, too. -John Cooper client, Men and Women For Human Excellence


Learning to live sober

e nonjudgmental attitude of the sta at MWFHE was also a big help, Cooper says, along with the genuine concern shown by program director Ruby Kirby. “I really feel comfortable talking to the people there about anything; it takes the feeling of shame away. Because some of them have been through (addiction) themselves, they have an understanding that the average person who doesn't have this 'allergy' does not have.”

In 2016, an ultimatum from his ance led him to seek outpatient treatment at MWFHE. He moved into an apartment there, which provided the structure he needed to get started on recovery. “I needed the structure of sobriety; being around people who were sober helped me see that I could live without alcohol.” Attending three outpatient sessions a week, plus a weekly personal evolution session, and AA meetings also helped put him on solid ground. To continue his growth in recovery, Cooper still continues to attend AA meetings, and group sessions at MWFHE each week. “ e 12-step program was the most e ective thing that ever happened to me; it really helps you get to the underlying reasons why you drink. And seeing other people from di erent walks of life recovering gives me hope I can do it, too.”

Getting his life back

Cooper, who continues to attend group sessions at MWFHE, is back to working full-time, and enjoying a much improved relationship with his son and daughter, and his grandchildren. “I get to see my grandkids a lot more. When I was drinking, most of the time I was into myself and wasn't thinking about anybody else.” His advice to those who may be in the situation he once was: “Just seek help, and nd out what works for you.” Cooper, who has a bachelor's degree in business administration, would like to return to school to earn his addiction counseling certi cation, “so I can help people, too.” He continues to recommend the treatment program at MWFHE, for those who need help with addiction. “I think their program is excellent for anyone who wants to get their life together. ey give you the opportunity to do so.”

“I think their program is excellent for anyone who wants to get their life together.” -John Cooper


Road To Recovery

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