BCD Explores Innovative Treatment Program
"We’re walking into the 21st Century with this program. It’s never been done before anywhere in the world, and we are beginning here," said Dr. Alassad Rasheed. Rasheed is the creator of the Mindful Holistic Living program, which is designed to address the imbalances of the mind, body and spirit. The program uses techniques like yoga and meditation to treat everything from acid reflux to post-traumatic stress disorder. But BCD’s Hoover Treatment Center will use the program to help its clients who are addicted to drugs.
Last year, Dr. Rasheed approached BCD Program Director Deborah Bell about developing a pilot study of Mindful Holistic Living at Hoover. Staff was trained and Hoover clients were shown the techniques and benefits of the program.
"It was very successful," said Rasheed. "And after that we decided to develop a much larger program."
During development of the expanded study Bell was contacted by Odell Johnson who is very familiar with BCD and the Hoover Treatment Center. In the early 1990s, Johnson struggled with an addiction to cocaine and turned to Hoover for help.
"I came to the point to where I recognized that my life had become totally unmanageable, and I made a choice," said Johnson. "I came to Hoover at the time and received treatment for about 30 days and turned it all around and haven’t been back since."
Fast forward nearly 20 years, and Johnson is now working on his doctorate degree in psychology. Coincidentally, he’s studying a holistic approach to addiction treatment. Johnson originally planned to complete his internship in Canada, but instead decided to come home to Arkansas.
"Hoover Treatment Center allowed me to come and do my practicum here, and my effort was to bring the mindful holistic practices into the drug and substance abuse program," said Johnson.
Two dozen Hoover clients participated in the expanded 5-week study, and according to Johnson the results are positive. "Exit interviews indicate to us that the participants all benefitted tremendously from the work in which we have done," he said. "The residents are showing signs of practicing the techniques and the meditation and yoga outside of the classroom." In fact, 80% of the study participants said that they found mindful holistic living useful in their recovery.
Johnson is now writing a curriculum that could one day be used by other churches throughout the United Methodist community, and he’s excited about the future of addiction treatment. "Conventional medicine is beginning to take on a new phase of existence, (and) Hoover Treatment Center is getting on the bandwagon. This is a very innovative approach. This is very new for this particular community, and we are glad to offer this Mindful Holistic Living concept."
Come Celebrate Healing at Recovery Jam
It’s become an annual fall tradition, and for a sixth year, BCD will celebrate National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month with the Recovery Jam in downtown Little Rock. The Recovery Jam is on Monday, September 27th at the River Market Pavilion, and guests can look forward to food, vendors and music by headlining group Integrity.
Each September, Recovery Month highlights the benefits of substance abuse treatment and celebrates the successes of those in recovery as well as the contributions of treatment providers like the Hoover Treatment Center. Recovery Month also encourages the community to take action to help expand and improve the availability of effective substance abuse treatment. This year’s theme is Join the Voices for Recovery: Now More than Ever!
BCD is still looking for Recovery Month sponsors. The money we raise during our events supports the programs at the Hoover Treatment Center.
MARCHA Conference Embraces BCD & Youth
A conference focused on the issues affecting Latinos of the United Methodist Church welcomed representatives from BCD. BCD Program Director Deborah Bell, Young Adult Coordinator Rhonda Robinson and a group of three young adults all traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico for the MARCHA conference. Topics of the workshops included women in leadership, anti-immigration laws and community development.
Several workshops also focused on youth, which, according to Robinson was important to MARCHA organizers. "The MARCHA committee really wanted youth involvement. They made it a point for this particular meeting to be focused around empowering young adults to get involved and take on leadership roles," she said.
Francenett Herrera, who is one of the three young adults who attended the conference, said, "I plan on using what I learned by passing it on… making people aware of what we stand for and what we represent."
Robinson believes that the youth who attended the conference were empowered by what they learned. She said, "I think they realized that they have a stronger voice than maybe they thought, and a lot of people value their opinions and what they have to say because they are the future of the United Methodist Church."
Photo Courtesy: Mike DuBose