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Finding Hope with the Haven of Hope
Bill Conger

DeKalb County’s non-profit mental health agency the Haven of Hope is expanding its services with a new program called “Finding Hope.” It’s Intensive Outpatient Therapy for people struggling with alcohol and drug addiction.

“We also have a dual component, which means that we will be addressing some mental health issues along with the alcohol and drug issue because a lot of times alcohol and drug addictions start because of mental health issues that an individual is trying to medicate,” explains Finding Hope’s Facilitator Tena Cope.

“The majority of the focus for “Finding Hope” is on not using again, learning to live a sober life,” Counselor Cope says. “Unfortunately, a majority of issues are underlying the addiction. There’s something that’s happened that’s changed the way they function. We won’t go deep into that, but they’ll learn mental health skills and learn different ways of thinking that may be contributing to their problems. If it’s real serious, that’s when we’re going to say you probably need some individual counseling.”

“For Recovery court and the community as a whole, it’s extremely important to have IOP here,” Case Manager for Recovery Court Darnell Gurley said. “I know for us we have a lot of issues with people being able to travel outside the county to attend IOP, so anything that is local that deals with co-occurring disorders as far as mental health and substance abuse is huge.”

Cope says while a huge need exists for this kind of help, a lot of people suffering from addiction don’t want to come on their own.

“They get some kind of ultimatum or are required from somebody,” Cope said. “For example, the person that maybe has not had any problems in society, their boss may see something. ‘You need to get help if you want to continue to work here.’ Or a husband or wife might say, ‘I’m fed up.’ So most people don’t come in because they realize I can’t do this on my own. It takes a little push from somewhere else.”

“We see a lot of people who are in trouble legally. The judge will say you need to go have an assessment done, trying to give them help without making them go to jail.  Sometimes it’s referrals come from DCS, because they’ll realize part of the reason a report was made is because addiction around the children is involved.”

Possible candidates for the IOP program will undergo a psychosocial alcohol and drug assessment developed by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. The ASAM evaluates several areas including family dynamics, support systems, functioning in work or school, recovery environment interactions, substance use related risks, psychiatric/cognitive/biomedical conditions, intoxication, withdrawal and addiction medications. The scores from the report will determine the intensity of treatment needed beginning with Outpatient at Level 1, IOP at Level 2, Residential at Level 3 and Inpatient at Level 4.

The Finding Hope program begins on June 3. Up to 8 people can join the group for sessions that will be held on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday each week from 3:00-6:00 p.m. at the Haven of Hope, located at 301 West Main Street. Those participating in the program are required to complete 20 sessions for a total of 60 hours. The Haven accepts most major insurances. For more information, call the Haven of Hope office at 615-597-4673.

Statistically, Cope says it takes on average three times in treatment to overcome an addiction, but Intensive Outpatient Therapy is a major step in finding hope for a better tomorrow. 

“If they complete, they’re more likely to either stay sober, or if they relapse, they know exactly what they need to do, and they’ll try to get back into a program,” Cope said. “Once they sit in the IOP, whether they’ve completed successfully or not, they learned something, and they can’t unlearn that. In the other IOP programs I’ve worked, some drop out or they have to be discharged for noncompliance, but they come right back because what they learned the first time is just a seed for the next time.”