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  • Last modified 19 days ago (Jan. 2, 2019)

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Sobriety program examines underlying issues

Marion group provides direction through education

Staff writer

For Durham native and mental health counselor Joy Waldbauer, the Restoration Center, Inc. is the opportunity for her to bring her passion to her home county.

Before the center was set up at 125 E. Main St. in Marion, county residents had to travel to McPherson, Junction City, or Salina for drug and alcohol counseling. To provide more services in the county, local community corrections and judge Michael Powers of the Eighth Judicial District contacted Waldbauer.

The operation is an abstinence program, so clients are expected to refrain from use of all drugs and alcohol.

Waldbauer has 20 years experience as a social worker, with time spent in Abilene, Junction City, and Manhattan, but she has never done work in Marion County.

While Waldbauer is not a part of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, she works alongside them to make sure clients have every resource necessary for recovery.

“We teach them about their addiction,” she said. “There’s more than just using alcohol or drugs, there are issues underneath that.”

The problems can stem from areas like self-esteem issues, stress or anxiety, Waldbauer said. Her goal is to educate clients on underlying issues, and how they can cope without turning to addiction.

“Long-term recovery is what you want for your community,” she said. “Then they’re going to be a productive part of society, and that’s what you want.”

Having resources available in Marion County is important because the clients can see other addicts in the community who succeeded, Waldbauer said.

“If they go to Junction City to get treatment, do NA and AA, they’re not being held accountable by the community, by people who are established and got long-term recovery,” she said. “To maintain long-term recovery, our agency thinks it’s better to have treatment in the community they live in and have to be a part of.”

With meetings Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, having the clients in town more often benefits local businesses too, Waldbauer said.

“They’re coming in to buy a coat, to buy gas or food before groups, so there’s an economic part of it for the community,” she said.

Most clients are in the program between three and six months, but the period depends on how severe the addiction, and whether the client relapsed.

The center has only been holding meetings for two weeks, but Waldbauer is already seeing results.

“When they get further along in their treatment, they end up teaching each other,” she said. “That’s really good because an addict or a substance user will take more advice from another substance user than a teacher or an educator.”

As the clients become more comfortable, they are more willing to offer one another perspective, and it helps to receive guidance from others in the similar situations, Waldbauer said.

While clients in recovery are the focus, they are not the only ones affected, but programs like Al-Anon Family Groups can help, she said. While she isn’t involved, Waldbauer believes Al-Anon is important for helping family and friends understand how to help without blaming themselves.

“Al-Anon teaches them to step out of it and help the addict by helping themselves,” said. “You have to help yourself, even if you’re not an addict, to be strong.”

Last modified Jan. 2, 2019

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