As Christmas approaches and we begin to say goodbye to 2016 and enter the new beginnings of a new year, we here at Maryland Addiction Recovery Center (MARC) wanted to take just a brief moment to wish you the merriest of Christmas’ and the happiest of New Years’. We also wanted to take a quick second to say thank you for letting us be with you and a part of your journey, whatever your journey may be on, while you walk with us on our own journey of growth and gratitude.
You see, we opened Maryland Addiction Recovery Center three years ago with a vision and a hope. We saw the landscape of addiction treatment in the Mid-Atlantic area (and truthfully, nationwide) and we said we can do better. We saw a small handful of ethical, high quality treatment providers throughout the country and thought “why can’t there be more of this type of treatment accessible to the millions of people that need it as well as their families?” We had a vision of a comprehensive long-term extended care model of treatment. A model that walked with a patient and their family throughout their first full year of recovery, as they transitioned through levels of a continuum of care, began engaging with a recovery lifestyle in a recovery community, started re-entering the workforce or the world of higher education, and came out the other side a fully self-supporting productive member of society, part of a newly restructured family system with the patient interdependent from their family and loved ones. We saw the need for true comprehensive, dual diagnosis addiction treatment that focused on treating not just the patient but the entire family unit ongoing through the entire treatment experience. We envisioned MARC as a facility strengthened by the collaborative clinical and community partnerships, where local providers would be a vital part of the ongoing treatment experience for the MARC patients. Three years ago we took ideas to paper and from paper to practical application. We opened in an attempt to serve our patients and the community and we began to grow. And we grew by being driven by what we see as a vital principle of recovery: Filling a need. We attempted to grow MARC not by looking at new “revenue streams” or expanding with generic, cookie cutter treatment programs but instead by what we saw and what we heard from our patients, their families, our referral sources in the local community of clinicians and treatment providers and the voice of the community in terms of what needs and resources were lacking. We simply tried to fill a need and we grew. So far, we have achieved this vision of an ideal MARC in principle, although there is certainly a ways to go and we continually need to improve and strive to do better.
We had a hope that we could be a community resource, a place that could provide services for the community that filled a need. We wanted to be a treatment center that truly was a place that if someone called for help, and were unable to come to MARC for whatever reason, our admissions and clinical and management teams took the necessary time with that person that they were placed appropriately. No “sorry, we don’t accept that insurance” and hang up with a generic 800 number. We wanted to be a facility that could offer evaluations and assessments for individuals and families that just didn’t know what to do or where to turn. That we wouldn’t just offer intakes to our own program, but that we would offer the time and services that a person could come get the necessary assessment and then we would be able to offer the highest quality referral throughout our nationwide partnerships and relationships with other providers so that the patient would be placed at the very best treatment center that could meet their specific needs. We created a concept where we have been able to spend hours with families and individuals that will never ultimately be a MARC patient. But we have taken the time with them, both on the phone and in person, brought in their families, taken the time to intervene and been able to facilitate their admission into a clinically appropriate facility somewhere nationwide. Additionally, we hoped that we would be able to appropriately bring additional community resources through our clinical office space that would benefit the community. We were invited to partner with Caron Treatment Centers and co-host the free bi-weekly Caron/MARC Family Support Group at the MARC offices. It has been a wildly successful partnership. We began to offer free community educational seminars featuring former Baltimore County Drug Czar Mike Gimbel. We partnered with Ashley Addiction Treatment to offer a free bi-monthly continuing education event at our clinical space, featuring many dynamic clinical speakers discussing important timely and relevant clinical topics. We have offered numerous larger free educational events for professionals as well, including important panel series discussions about the importance of a continuum of care, lectures about treatment for the young adult population, Caron’s Dr. Joseph Garbely presenting on Medical Assisted Treatment and an open discussion at Woodberry Kitchen regarding the vital importance of provider collaboration. We wanted to make MARC a hub for professional growth and development for the local clinical community and we will continue to do so moving forward.
We wanted to expand our holistic footprint that offered services to treat the mind, body and spirit. Sure, addiction and alcoholism are absolutely brain diseases, but they are so much more. And addiction treatment providers absolutely must do more in treating addiction than copping out at “it’s a brain disease” and dispense Suboxone and other medication like candy, hiding behind the thin veil of “you wouldn’t deny someone with clinical depression their anti-depression medication, would you?” Of course not, but addiction is much more complex and treatment of addiction must be more than popping a pill. At the very least, counseling and therapy must be a part of that “treatment” plan. We believe addiction is like a wheel with many spokes, one of which is a holistic component we attempted to focus on with our expansion of services in meditation, yoga and group fitness and exercise, bringing in specialists like MARC Fitness Ambassador Doug Bopst that worked with the patients multiple times a week to improve their mind, body and spirit. This also included in our latest expansion a MARC Fitness Center at our clinical offices where patients can engage in yoga and group fitness.
Finally, the stigma of addiction runs deep. The shame and guilt felt not only by those suffering from addiction but felt by their family and loved ones often can be a terrible barrier to someone asking for help or eventually finding healing. So when we expanded over a year ago to our current clinical office space we were cognizant of what an individual and what a family feels when they are walking into a treatment center. If we as a society are ever going to truly overcome the stigma of addiction and have it seen as a disease and treated truly as a health issue, people cannot feel ashamed to walk into a facility. So we were conscious of creating a space that was warm and inviting, that was somewhere a family could walk in and feel like that are being respected. A place of professionalism and a place of healing. We didn’t want a patient to feel like they needed to sneak into receive treatment without being noticed but rather feel like any patient suffering from a disease should feel when entering a place they believe can help them recover and better their lives. We offered real art on the walls in an effort to inspire patients and ignite creativity, even featuring the work of local artist in recovery David Roesner. We made sure that MARC was not a place to feel ashamed to go, but rather hopeful that change can happen and that patients can and do recover here every day.
As Christmas descends upon us, signaling the end of the year we wait with bated breath to beginning of a new year, one filled with promise, potential, happiness and hope. Over the last three years, we are forever thankful that so many of you have been with us on our journey and we are very blessed in the coming months to keep you up to date on new and exciting things happening with us on that journey. And we hope that as you spend time with your family on Christmas or Hanukah or New Year’s, and say goodbye to 2016 and welcome the promise and hope of 2017, that you will allow us to humbly be a continued part of your journey if our services are ever needed. We are honored each day to walk with so many just starting their journey of recovery and we know although addiction is often the most painful, lonely, trying time in the life of any person, there is nothing more beautiful or powerful or hopeful than watching people recover and being a part of that important journey. We are forever blessed to walk with you if you will allow us to do so.
May everyone have a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
If you or someone you know is in need of help because of drug and/or alcohol abuse or addiction, please give us a call. Maryland Addiction Recovery Center offers the most comprehensive dual diagnosis addiction treatment in the Baltimore, Maryland, Washington, DC and Virginia area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or your loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please call us at (888) 491-8447 or email our team at [email protected]. For more information on all of our drug addiction and alcohol addiction services and recovery resources, please visit our website at www.marylandaddictionrecovery.com.