National Council of Alcohol and Drug Dependence
Understanding addiction since 1974
“Hi, my name is Bill, …and I’m an alcoholic.” The well-known, classic opening line to addiction recovery.
Take that line and imagine it to be, “Hi, my name is Cheryl, and I’m a responsible, working woman, divorced with two adult children. My youngest son is living with me because he can’t get a job because he is addicted to methamphetamines. While I’m at work, he is in my house with his friends getting high. No one knows, I can’t admit to this. He’s my baby that once I would have died for, and now I am dying for him, and I don’t know what to do or where to go for help.”
Or maybe its, “Hi, my name is Karen, and I’m an alcoholic with two small children and a substance abusing husband. I want out of this cycle, but where can I get help, when I have kids too?”
For these women there IS hope. Hope is spelled NCADD - Sacramento’s regional branch of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), a United Way certified nonprofit partner. NCADD is a comprehensive, national center that was founded by Marty Mann, the first woman to achieve long-term sobriety in the modern recovery movement over 60 years ago. Ms. Mann was a visionary, who realized that alcoholism and other drug dependence is not only treatable, but a preventable disease. NCADD’s programs cover education, prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery from this disease.
The center in Sacramento is warm and welcoming, with an atmosphere of enthusiasm, confidence and hope, as is its Executive Director, Barbara Thompson. One of their primary programs, Options for Recovery, focuses on pregnant and/or parenting women. Currently, up to sixty women attend weekly classes to be educated about addiction and learn research-based, proven techniques to understand and overcome their own addictions or learn to cope or distance themselves from the addictions of others. Here the cycle of abuse, poor living conditions, and child neglect that often follow addictions is broken. Instead of an endless dead-end, they find a knowledgeable and supportive community of staff and volunteers to assist them to a brighter future. In order to work effectively with the mothers, NCADD also provides a ‘play’ care environment for the children during mom’s class time.
Other programs focus on the family as a whole, not just the individual. For example, “My Time” is a model that encourages each parent and child to spend 15 minutes a day together in meaningful interaction. Children report that before “My Time”, they may have felt one sibling was favored over another, but after “My Time”they now know “mom loves me just as much.” NCADD knows that strong parent/child relationships are the best and first line of defense against harmful choices. Talk to Your Kid Before a Dealer Does – is one of the powerful messages reinforced in family training.
In addition to these programs, NCADD has numerous programs for education, outreach, advocacy, referrals to other non-profit or public organizations for housing, medical care or legal assistance, family services, counseling, living skills, volunteer training and service opportunities, and even canine assisted therapy! A strong part of their vision is that the paths to recovery are many.
Budget cuts have forced NCADD to reduce the Options for Recovery program from serving 100 women, to only 60 women. The waiting list is growing. Monetary donations and volunteers of all kinds from counselors, to office support staff to surrogate grandmas to meet the needs of the play care are needed and always welcome. Volunteer training, as needed, can be provided.
You can find out more about NCADD at www.ncaddsac.org. If you are interested in volunteer opportunities, please contact Criss Doll at (916) 922-5116.
Or if someone you love is in need, NCADD can be reached on their 24/7 HOPELINE (916) 687-0606.