How counselors at Saint Anthony Hospital help addicts on the road to recovery
In this working class Chicago neighborhood, addicts often show up multiple times at Saint Anthony Hospital requiring treatment. For addiction counselor DeValle Williams, the steady stream of patients – new and old, can be both frustrating and encouraging.
For Williams, the demands of the job can be overwhelming at times, especially as patients make progress and then relapse back into the grips of addiction.
“I used to go home and cry,” Williams said. “I’ve spent many days crying, cursing and yelling.”
Measuring success in the fight against addiction can be difficult. Things that are easy to count such as new doctors trained, new patients entering care — aren’t particularly good predictors of long-term abstinence or lasting recovery. Some weeks, only half of the opioid-addicted patients at Saint Anthony will decide to move forward with recovery treatment.
For Williams, it just means that he needs to stay focused on doing what he can for each patient. Making the phone calls to find available treatment centers, talking with patients as they return yet again – listening as they describe their latest relapse. “It’s all about not giving up” on patients, Williams said. “Take all their excuses away.”
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To learn more about the struggles and challenges of addicts at Saint Anthony Hospital in Chicago, please visit the Fresno Bee.