Center is a safe haven for those who seek sobriety |

Center is a safe haven for those who seek sobriety

Post Independent Photo/Kara K. PearsonJeff Lawson, the director of the detoxification unit at the Glenwood Springs Recovery Center, listens to Mike, a client of the center's, tell his tale of substance abuse Friday afternoon.

Once a bowling alley, the Colorado West Recovery Center now houses clients with drug or alcohol addictions that have sent their lives, relationships and careers spiraling into the gutter.The center, located at 711 Grand Ave., in downtown Glenwood Springs, provides a therapeutic environment for clients with addictions to substances ranging from alcohol to methamphetamine, to receive help.

“We offer a safe place for clients to work on being sober,” said Jeff Lawson, director of the center’s substance abuse program, a component of Colorado West Mental Health. “This is not a lockdown facility – our clients have to want to come.” The Transitional Living Center inside the facility allows up to 18 men and women to stay from 90 to 120 days and requires them to hold a full-time job or volunteer up to 30 hours a week. As part of the Glenwood Springs Post Independent Holiday Fund, the center will receive up to $480 to purchase work clothing and shoes for clients.”We provide a safe haven while they are here so they may learn new skills or use the ones they have,” Lawson said. “This is a group home that involves a lot of life skills. We urge clients to look at themselves and ask, ‘How does substance abuse affect my character?'”

While living at the center, clients are obligated not only to work or volunteer, but they are also asked to reduce tobacco use.”We want them to avoid addiction overall,” Lawson said. “This has been successful. We have a client who smoked a pack a day, and now he is down to five cigarettes.”Clients also learn to control their addictions by attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and relapse prevention counseling, and receiving psychological education on assertiveness and everyday life issues.

“Dealing with addiction during the holidays is an example of everyday life issues that we approach,” Lawson said. “We work hard to make sure people get the right level of care while they are here, but we also make sure they get a referral for treatment after they leave so they stay sober.”Gini Christensen, a monitor in the detoxification unit, shared Lawson’s sentiments and urged those dealing with addiction to consider the center for support.”We’re just here to help people,” said Christensen, who has worked at the center for two years. “Some become a success story and others struggle.”

In the game of life, Colorado West Recovery Center clients know how important it is to win big. For them, struggle makes success all that more important in the end.If you or a loved one is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, call the Colorado West Recovery Center at 945-8439.

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