Senn believes it is a disservice to treat only the acute phase of the disease, without playing a long-term role in helping clients learn to “live” without alcohol or another chemical crutch.
“We do good treatment in this community, but it is a very short period of time when people are in our treatment programs, and they tend to be shorter and shorter,” says Senn. “So, we send them out the door and present a list of 12-step meetings to them and say, ‘Good luck’. And we wonder why they will be back at our doors in a few months or a year. “
Now, after more than three years dreaming big, finding many starts and stops and looking for the right partners to support his vision, Senn plans to open up Soul Solutions Recovery Center, a combination of an outpatient treatment program / recovery center / community cafe this summer at the site of the former AAA North Dakota building, 1801 38th St. S. in Fargo.
Patti Senn says they are in the final stages of signing a lease with …………………………… .. …………………….. that would allow Soul Solutions to occupy the site of the old AAA building in 1801 38th St. S. in Fargo. David Samson / The Forum
The center will operate on a holistic recovery model, which means that it will focus on all aspects of a person’s well-being, including physical, emotional, spiritual and social aspects.
The founder of Soul Solution also hopes to reduce the risk of relapse by offering extended support, connection and a sense of community for several years after treatment, says Senn. This will include post-treatment recovery exams to monitor and support clients for five years after treatment.
Most addiction experts agree that the the five-year mark is a crucial reference in the sobriety journey, marking a point where recovery is most stable. After five years, less than 15% of recovering people are likely to resort to substance abuse again, says Senn.
On the other hand, those with addiction problems are more vulnerable to relapses a year after completing treatment, which is why Senn believes that short-term treatment with little aftercare is a “spare” sobriety approach money / fool “.
Doctors speak of a “50/80/90 treatment rule”, which shows 50% of people who complete primary treatment return to use in the first year, and 80% of them do so in the first 90 days after discharge.
Since addiction is a chronic and progressive disease based on deeply rooted behaviors, it needs to be treated for the long term – just as a cancer survivor continues to have regular checkups during the first five years of treatment, says Senn.
“If we really believe that addiction is a disease, we need to treat it like any other chronic disease,” she adds.
Inspiration was born out of tragedy
Senn’s vision of hope arose from a tragic loss. Senn had worked as an advisor in Recovery of the first stage in Fargo for years when Michael Kaspari, the well-respected founder of the center, died of traumatic brain injury.
Kaspari’s loss was a blow to many in the recovery community, including Senn, who saw him as a friend and mentor. She left First Step just over two years ago to direct addiction services at Southeast Human Service Center in Fargo. But in her downtime, she worked on developing a better treatment model.
When Executive Director Brenda Podetz joined the SSRC in January, she brought her considerable business acumen with her. Podetz has worked as a CFO for several different companies and is president of Dakota Business Pros, a company that provides “administrative service support” for small businesses. While Senn contributed knowledge of recovery and an excellent reputation, Podetz provided the connections and business know-how to move the project forward.
Soul Solutions recently signed a lease for the AAA building, which is owned by Alliance Management Group, a property management company owned by Fargo businessman Rick Berg.
Berg’s Great States construction also agreed to renovate the 12,554-square-foot brick building, free of charge, to meet the needs of the recovery center.
Podetz says the 49-year-old brick building is in excellent condition and will be perfectly suited to his purposes. The structure has two larger areas that can be divided into large spaces for lectures or small rooms for treatment groups. “We would like this building to be full, all the time,” she says.
In addition to the office space for 10-12 employees, the treatment center will maintain several day and night outpatient groups for clients, all based on the evidence-based recovery model used in the Health programs for doctors, a treatment model for doctors with addiction problems. These programs are among the most successful treatment programs today, due to their emphasis on responsibility and long-term support, says Senn.
Also in line with the center’s holistic emphasis, Senn plans to hire a behavioral health specialist who can serve clients who have double diagnosiss.
Senn plans to hire professionals who can monitor the physical health of customers, including an RN to ingest new customers and a medical professional who can help manage patients in need. Medication-assisted therapies.
Soul Solutions will re-emphasize the importance of family groups – an aspect of treatment that has become less common due to insurance restrictions. Senn knows that alcoholism and drug addiction are “family illnesses” that affect a much larger circle than the addict or the alcoholic.
Recovery center: when treatment ends
According to a Harvard Medical School special health report, two factors statistically proven to be most useful for recovery are long-term support and exercise. Senn and Podetz say the recovery center will offer many opportunities for both.
The center will provide a safe space for practicing habits that cultivate spiritual, emotional, social and physical well-being. Senn and Podetz envision classes in yoga, nutrition, stress release, financial fitness and mindfulness, as well as social events – such as racing clubs or Super Bowl parties – where people can learn to socialize without relying on a chemical crutch. They even plan to add a ceramic studio as a therapeutic and practical space for customers.
“We would like to have a place where people can start to rebuild social connections that no longer include drinking. (Yeah) just exploring who you are as a person. What’s more, a lot of it goes away. Everything becomes what you can. do with the drink “, says Podetz, who has been recovering for 26 years.
The location would be a natural fit for 12-stage meetings, the women say. This could be a solution for increasing the number of AA and NA groups who are homeless because some churches and public meeting areas have concerns about responsibilities, said Podetz.
This architectural representation, by JLG Architects in Fargo, gives a glimpse of what the Hope & Coffee cafeteria will look like. The store will be open to people in recovery, as well as members of the community in general. / Submitted by JLG Architects.
The downtown cafeteria will follow the model of a recovery-focused cafeteria that Senn visited in Pennsylvania several years ago.
Hope and coffee it will be open to anyone – even those whose only addiction can be a comfortable sofa and a good cup of coffee. “We want to expand the structure in which we talk about people in recovery in our community,” says Senn. “Everyone is trying to heal or recover from something I believe in, so I think there is a wide range of community members who will find value in what we are offering.”
A ‘community living room’
In efforts to eliminate stigma and help recently recovered individuals to reconnect to their community, several other resources at the center will be open to community members who are not in formal recovery.
Soul Solutions will offer meeting areas that can be rented at an affordable price, from birthday parties or MOPS meetings to religious services or classes for first time home buyers.
Podetz likens the center to “a community living room”.
“When you enter our community center, you are not able to visually identify who is there for substance use or first-time classes for home buyers,” says Podetz. “We want to normalize substance use disorder and educate the public about the fact that this is not a moral flaw. This is a physiological disease.”
The place that partnerships built
Senn says several partnerships with the community have helped bring Soul Solutions to life. Dakota Medical Foundation was a tax host during the early stages of the organization, while Soul Solutions sought official nonprofit status. Other partners included:
- A former First Stage student, who donated $ 40,000 to Soul Solutions so they could develop a pro forma.
- JLG Architects, who donated $ 25,000 in architectural renderings and pre-design services, helping the SSRC determine the most economical way to renovate the building.
- O FM Area Foundation, which provided a personal guarantee to help the SSRC secure a $ 1 million lease for five years with the Alliance Property Group.
Gate City Bank, that approved a $ 500,000 loan to the recovery center;
Widmer Roel accounting firm, which is moving and donated its old office furniture to the SSRC.
These donations and loans, along with the money raised through fundraising, helped move Soul Solutions much closer to the $ 900,000 needed to make its operation take off in its first year, says Podetz.
The same happened with a wave of support from the community. Several well-connected people are on the SSRC board, including Dr. Barrie March, former medical director of the North Dakota Occupational Health Program, which supports and monitors recovering physicians and physician assistants, and Council Chair Jane Schuh, vice president of the NDSU Research and Creative Activity Office and sister of the deceased Michael Kaspari, the man whose work life inspired Soul Solutions.
“When Mike passed away unexpectedly in 2017, many people told me how he was instrumental in the recovery of their lives,” said Schuh. “I heard about how they felt their lives were saved … This is going to be very good for our community, and I am very happy to be able to be a part of it.”
Says Senn: “Since the beginning of this project, there has been overwhelming support and enthusiasm from all the people I spoke with. This is something that affects most people: practically no family is untouched by addiction and having a place to support and celebrating recovery is something we believe to be important. Our community sees and talks about the impact of addiction almost daily. It’s time to bring recovery to the forefront of our conversations and the community as well. ”
Soul Solutions will begin conducting outpatient treatment sessions in July. A house open to the public is also scheduled for October 1st. To learn more, go to www.soulsolutions.org.