It’s a year to the day since eight drug addicts serving time became the first clients of Mesa County’s Summit View Drug Treatment Center.
Located on the third floor of the community corrections building in Grand Junction, the residential treatment center has seen more than 100 clients in its first year.
They’re clients like Brandon Burns, who volunteered for treatment because he kept using meth and marijuana while he was on probation. He’s coping with his past in treatment, picking at the things he’s hidden from with drugs since he was a preteen and learning how to deal with those problems sober.
“This is the longest I’ve been sober since I was 12 years old,” Burns said. “I’ve never felt this good in my life ever.”
Burns was ready to come, but Jason Thomas, who didn’t know his court sentence would bring him to the center, came in “kicking and screaming.” This was his fourth rehabilitation experience.
“I was going to fake it,” he said. He changed his mind when he saw this treatment center had more group participation and less staff control than other centers.
Group meetings with the 16-20 men living six to a room on the treatment floor happen every morning and afternoon. Clients write in a series of workbooks on topics from the connection between drugs and criminal behavior to anger management to communicating with family. Discussions are about discovering why they use drugs so they can live without drugs.
“It’s not the drugs, it’s you as a person you’re changing,” said Justin Ringold, who is transitioning out of the center.
The program isn’t for pretenders, said client Matt Onstott.
“If you do it for your sentence, it’s not going to work, you’re going to get called on it,” he said.
Optimism is common in the center, but that can wane when clients go to a community corrections floor to finish a sentence and when they get a place of their own. Justin Bohannon graduated from the center Nov. 5. He started going to the gym, took GED classes and got two jobs. But temptations outside get stronger, he said, and he ended up relapsing. He told the center he got high, and they worked with him to get him back on track.
“I knew if I went to prison I’d be in and out of prison for the rest of my life. The time comes when enough is enough,” he said. Still, it’s been “rough” to stay clean.
Helping clients transition from the center into the workforce has been a challenge, said Treatment Coordinator Jason Talley. The center now includes a short-term program, an enhanced outpatient program and a transition program to help with that, and case workers keep up with graduates and encourage them to meet new people and volunteer in the community. Talley said recidivism is low and the completion rate was 74 percent as of December.
Burton Shoebridge Jr. graduated treatment Nov. 26 and will move out of community corrections today. After spending nearly three decades in an out of prison, jail was the easy thing for Shoebridge. Living drug free in the real world was the struggle. But after treatment, he says he’s ready to try it.
“Things are going great and I’m not willing to give that up,” he said.
Counselor Bill Wimsatt said he’s heard no regrets from graduates.
“The ones I see are happy to be sober, happy to be clean. They walk up and they have a smile on their face, and that tells me enough. That tells me they’re happy to be living the life they choose to live,” he said.
The next step for the center could be incorporating clients under the age of 18. Talley said the need is greater to give youth a place to go than women and their children because the center isn’t “ideal” for families and there are two local in-patient treatment options for women, whereas the only nearby center for youth is in Glenwood Springs.
source: Grand Junction Colorado Free Press