Substance Use Services' Fresh Start Program Changes Patients' Lives - Stephen's Story

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Published on April 18, 2017

Substance Use Services' Fresh Start Program Changes Patients' Lives

Stephen’s Story

Fresh Start Program Helps PatientsStephen Press of Concord thought he could handle his drinking. He had ‘cured’ himself many times over the years, and each time he resumed drinking, things got worse.

In July, after ending up in Concord Hospital’s Emergency Department with alcohol poisoning for the second time in a few months, he realized he needed help or alcohol eventually would kill him. While in the Emergency Department, he was provided resources to address his problem with alcohol and began making calls before going home. He decided to enter Concord Hospital Substance Use Services’ Fresh Start program. It changed his life.

“For the first time in all those years, I had an understanding of what was happening,” said Stephen, who is 54. “That was the most important part of the program for me, because you can’t fix a problem if you don’t understand it and you can’t correct it if you don’t have the right tools to work with.”

Among the tools Fresh Start gave Stephen was an awareness of what triggered his drinking.

“I had no idea how to recognize the warning signs before I came here,” said Stephen. “I didn’t know what to look for. That’s what this program did for me. It gave me the knowledge of why our mind makes us do the things we do.”

Through Fresh Start, Stephen joined Concord Hospital’s Continuous Care Men’s Support Group and continued counseling to help him stick to a personalized care plan. Along with support from his wife and employer, Stephen said Fresh Start counselor, Frank Caron, is a crucial part of his recovery, with his relaxed, non-judgmental approach.

“Frank listens and always has some good advice or an idea,” Stephen said. “He’s more like talking to someone I have known for years rather than talking to a counselor. He has a way of opening the door and making you feel at ease.”

Stephen Press and Frank Caron

Fresh Start

Fresh Start is an intensive four-week outpatient alcohol and drug program for people age 17 or older. Three-hour sessions are held three times a week for five weeks. Family members and friends also are invited to participate in sessions once a week.

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