"Pete" was addicted to cocaine and alcohol for 24 years. He fought his demons with the help of the Peavy Switch Recovery Center in Angelina County. Today, "Pete" is 12 years and seven months sober.
"My life had become completely unmanageable," he said. "I was in trouble with the law. As a matter of fact, the probation department took me there in handcuffs and I was supposed to do 30 days [in rehab] or three years in the penitentiary."
The Peavy Switch inpatient program shut down because of financial cutbacks. Now, the nearest residential centers for substance abuse are in Beaumont and Houston.
"Sometimes it's good for somebody that lives here to get away from the environment because places that you've been and used the drugs trigger [may be tempting].
But Burke Center counselors said there is still outpatient help available for East Texans addicted to drugs and alcohol, including those who cannot afford to travel for treatment. Today, Peavy Switch is still in the business of recovery. Its message of substance abuse awareness is taken to East Texas schools where teens can learn about prevention and treatment.
Counselor Brenda Whitaker said, "The people that are manufacturing these drugs are targeting a younger population and then you've still got the older population there. You've got people that are coming into this area all the time, so there is a continuous growing need for treatment."
For more information on substance abuse treatment programs in the East Texas area, call the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council at 1-800-445-8562