Local News

The Healing Place Finds Success In Its Mission To Rehabilitate

Posted November 7, 2001

— The

Healing Place of Wake County

, a substance abuse program for homeless men, opened its doors in Raleigh last January. Less than a year later, the center houses up to 160 men each night and even has a waiting list.

"It's not going to be easy, it wasn't promised to be easy, it wasn't designed to be easy," said Ricky Northern, a graduate of the Healing Place. "If you keep using you're going to die! I almost died. If you keep using you're going to lose everything you got."

Northern was a substance abuser for years. Now he is giving back to the center that helped in his recovery.

"I've got to walk it, I've got to walk it. I've got to walk it daily," he said.

Less than a year after opening, the Healing Place is so popular it does not always have enough beds for everyone.

Director Dennis Parnell says there simply are not enough treatment programs available to the people who need them.

"I'm absolutely ecstatic about the success," said Parnell. "While the problem keeps getting bigger, our resources -- not only here in Wake County, but across the country -- have gotten smaller," he said.

Parnell said that most substance abusers go through many programs before they get it right. Graduates agree, the Healing Place does just that.

"There's a lot of good spirit here, there's a lot of unity. We started getting back the things that we had lost [like] respect for ourselves, and different things like that," says Drew Fish, a Healing Place graduate. "I know this disease is chronic and all I have is today. If I just stay sober today, then it's gonna be a good day."

When clients leave the Healing Place, the goal is that they will be able to transition back into society one day at a time.

The Healing Place is a voluntary, long-term program lasting six to nine months. So far, 33 men have graduated.

Parnell hopes to be able to expand the Healing Place to help more men and eventually add a program for women and their children.


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