A Local Lifeline for High-risk Alcohol and Drug Use
By Sonya Hallett
Most of us have been touched somehow, at some point in our lives, with alcohol and drugs. All of us worry about our teens, and even pre-teens these days, falling prey to whatever the newest high is and still to the old standby of beer and those cheap Kool-Aid flavored alcohols. Remember Purple Passion or that orange Mad Dog 20/20. Still around? As parents we at least remember those days. So we fear for our children.
I’m writing this on a flight to Seattle. To prove the point, I elbow the guy next to me. He’s already given me a Delta coupon for one of those little wine bottles, so I ask him if he ever drank. In high school? He said, no. Lost my point.
Two seconds later, David with the beautiful blue eyes, graying temples, and a tan with the lines carved by RCI trips to Figi, Singapore, St. Martin, etc. told me he had a 3.86 GPA and was 6th in his class, a four-sport athlete, and an all-state QB. Then he went to college. “I discovered alcohol and I made up for lost time.”
He came home at the end of the semester with a .9 (that’s point nine). I didn’t realize that could be a grade. He said he learned he could buy notes, show up for class only on test day, and that there’s always a happy hour going on somewhere. He assured me though that he only drank on the days that ended in “y.”
His story ended well. After a couple more semesters of the same, he climbed atop a backhoe and started digging ditches. Great money at the time, he said. But he learned. He went back to college at night and graduated eleven years after high school. He was flying back home after landing a great job in Indy and he’d soon be traveling all over the world. A career that takes a college degree and a sober person.
But life didn’t turn out as well for an old friend of mine who passed this year. Actually, he wasn’t old. He’d just turned 45. He too discovered alcohol young. But unlike David, he stuck with it. He wanted to quit, badly, but he was an alcoholic. So was his dad, a product and pilot of a time when the cockpit was stocked full of liquor.
Tom had no support. His school wasn’t equipped to handle an alcoholic teen. Our courts failed him. I tried to help, but had no idea how. Tom could have had a 3.86 and 6th in his class. He was smart. But I’m not sure he even graduated high school. Behind a wheel drunk, convicted of attempted murder, he went to prison. His life was ruined from the start and cut way too short.
We worry. I would have done anything I could have to help Tom. I just didn’t know how. David said he turned out quite well, but he acknowledged it was eleven wasted years.
Today, we do have tools. We do have support. Every Center Grove parent. Every school and every church should take note.
A New Day Counseling and Education Services, located on Smith Valley Road in the quirky new office complex near 135, offers a nationwide drug and alcohol prevention and education program. The program, PRIME for Life®, is evidence-based for people of all ages. It is designed to gently, but powerfully, challenge common beliefs and attitudes that directly contribute to high-risk alcohol and drug use.
“PRIME for Life® is the choice of most drug and alcohol courts, the military, companies, and organizations nationwide, but few parents, schools or churches are familiar with it,” says Anthony Morgan, certified instructor.
“The program is a way to educate on the facts of drug and alcohol abuse, and the often tragic outcomes that making high-risk choices can have on our lives.”
PRIME for Life® was developed by Preventive Research Institute out of Lexington, Kentucky. Courts refer those arrested for drinking and driving. Several studies show that the program can cut recidivism rates in half.
“Research shows it works, but we want to focus on reaching adults and teens before they ever get to court,” says Morgan.
The program can vary in length from 4 to 20 hours depending on the needs of the individual, church or school. “We can even do the program a couple of hours over two weekends.”
A workbook is included that allows participants to continue the program on their own, and counselors at A New Day are available even if it’s ten years from now and help is needed. The motivational program focuses on the positive unlike some other programs that can take a negative turn. “Everybody is good,” says Morgan, “but everyone makes bad choices as some point.”
Consider that one in ten drinkers develops alcoholism or other serious alcohol-related problems at some point in their lives. Two hundred thousand people seek help each year for marijuana dependence.
“It’s all about teaching the consequences early and giving them tools to make different choices.” The program’s nonjudgmental approach reduces resistance to the life-saving information presented in the program and increases students’ openness to change.
The program is an investment in the family and community. If a kid spends a few hours in the program and changes his attitude about drugs and alcohol, Morgan asks isn’t it worth it?
For more information on how you can bring the PRIME for Life® program to your group or if you’re a parent, guardian or even an individual in need, please contact Anthony Morgan at 317-884-5075 (office), or 317-373-9850 (cell). You can also email Anthony at firstname.lastname@example.org. cg
3209 West Smith Valley Road
Greenwood, Indiana 46142
In addition, A New Day Counseling and Education Services is full service and offers PRIME Solutions® for some PRIME for Life® participants who are referred to after they have completed the PRIME for Life® program. PRIME Solutions® is for individuals who may have discovered that they need more support in making low-risk choices in regards to drugs and alcohol. PRIME Solutions® is therapy, not education, and offers ongoing help and support to individuals who are struggling with addiction. The PRIME Solutions® program at A New Day Counseling and Education Services, LLC is led by Judith McKinney, LMHC, LCAC. Judith has been assisting individuals, and their families, with addictions issues for more than fifteen years. For more information on PRIME Solutions®, please contact Judith at (317)884-5075 (office), or email at email@example.com.