Addiction to alcohol or drugs and trauma are common conditions people experience these days, and battling them can be a horrible journey itself. On today’s show, Timothy J. Hayes interviews Dan Hostetler, MNM, CADC, the Executive Director of Above and Beyond Family Recovery Center. As a self-described “alcoholic in recovery,” Dan shares the services that people like him can use for free or pay by health insurance. He also talks about his organization, what it provides, the different organizations tied to it, and how they assist in recovering addicts with housing and employment. What Above and Beyond does is exemplary given the fact that it works with the best people in different programs for specific needs. Join Dan as he describes some of their programs and how these benefit their clients.
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Above And Beyond Family Recovery Center In Chicago With Dan Hostetler
My guest is Dan Hostetler, a self-described alcoholic in recovery. Dan runs a free harm reduction behavioral addiction treatment center on Chicago’s West Side. He tells us his organization provides the highest level of addiction treatment services available anywhere to those who cannot afford to pay for them while assisting them with housing and employment. Dan loves what he does. Stick around after the interview for my closing thoughts.
Welcome. Who are you and how did you get into this work?
My name is Dan Hostetler. I’m 68 years old. I’m the Executive Director of the Above and Beyond Family Recovery Center. I have a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management. I grew up in my business life in the for-profit consulting world. I’m linearly in columns and rows, measured outcomes, return on investments, and those things. I am also an alcoholic in recovery, as we call ourselves. I have lived a life of excessive drinking. I hit a brick wall in 2005 and survived that, then I came out on the other side and reinvented myself. I went back to school and got my Master’s in Nonprofit at that time. I have had two other positions since then. I’ve always followed AA’s Twelve Steps of Recovery and it’s all I’ve ever known.
I met Bryan Cressey, the visionary, the person that has made all of this possible. He didn’t like AA because he had family members that had had bad luck with it. I didn’t know this. I began making myself knowledgeable about some statistics that he had given to me. AA is a little bit disputed. It has between 90% and 95% failure rate, which means they have a huge fallout. I didn’t know that but my own practical experience with AA is that’s what I had seen. We only talk about 1 in 10 making it, so it had never occurred to me that that failure rate was gigantic, but in Bryan Cressey’s life, he had family members that were chronically affected with alcoholism. They couldn’t stop consuming. He had sent them all over the world, all different kinds of recovery programs and it seems like everybody has AA. It dominates the marketplace.
He and I met and he asked me if I would be interested in this position. They had a fledgling organization, Above and Beyond Family Recovery Center located in East Garfield on the West Side of Chicago. It’s not a nice neighborhood at all. There is a lot of drug trafficking in this area. Maybe a little less violent, but we’re not very far away from some violent neighborhoods. It is a storefront and he took me to see it. They were trying to beautify it. It did not look clinical at all and I also have the experience of having had a daughter who has been in thirteen detoxes in the Chicago area and three residencies for alcohol use disorder. I’m her father so I have been to these facilities and I’ve experienced them as a parent. This was unlike anything I had seen before. He asked me if I want to be involved as the executive director and I accepted the position. That was in October of 2015. We opened the doors in January of 2016 and we had few people come. We had one. I can’t even say it was a plural.
In February, we had four. We had a slow start so we had to kick in some mechanisms to make ourselves known, which we did. We’ve grown quite rapidly. I would call it somewhat of an explosion. At the beginning of 2020, we’ve served over 4,000 people who have come through our doors. We typically take from 40 to 60 intakes a week. We have about 350 people at any one time in our program. We have about 90 people in the building a day. We have achieved some big success, as far as our numbers are concerned. In AA, when you fail, when you drink, you’re excluded from the group. You’re no longer a part of it and the advice that they give you is to go out and experience rock bottom, go out and continue with whatever your plan is. If things get bad enough, come back and retry the same thing that they tried to fail before. It doesn’t feel good to say that. There are different forms of saying it, but that’s what the advice is.
Here, we have seven different alternative programs all under one roof. We have Alcoholics Anonymous, where it says that you have to admit that you’re powerless over your addiction. We have Smart Recovery, which is evidence-based and American Psychological Association or APA-approved, where you learn that you’re powerful over your eviction. It is polar opposites, one from the other. If you have somebody who can’t accept AA and can’t admit that they’re powerless, we have another program that we can admit them to right down the hallway in the same building. We also have a Refuge Recovery, which is Buddhist-based and mindfulness. It has a lot of meditation, it’s different than the other two. We also have gender-based. We have Women for Sobriety. We also have Men for Sobriety. It’s based on your gender. We also have LifeRate, which is non-secular.
We have Adult Children of Alcoholics, which we also call Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families. We have SMART Family and Friends. It’s a program for people who don’t have a qualifier, who don’t have somebody who abuses alcohol or drugs. They don’t themselves abuse alcohol and other drugs, but they have somebody in their family who does and they don’t know how to handle that. We have a group for them as well. These are all free. They’re open to the public and there are seven of them. We offer that under one group and nobody does that. I don’t know why nobody doesn’t do that, but we’re the only ones that do that. The experience is when somebody comes in, we believe that addiction or alcohol and other drug abuse is based on some inability to handle life situations, either in early childhood trauma. We believe that something has happened psychologically to the individual and they go to alcohol and other drugs as a way of coping with that and it’s a poor choice.
It doesn’t work, but they don’t know that when they begin. All they know is that it helps them at the moment. As they start using it more, they become habituated in using it and blotting out or being able to sleep or whatever, a benefit that they get from it because they do get a benefit at the beginning. The problems that go along with addiction become problematic. You end up with health issues, with anti-socialization, with reclusiveness, they’re unable to handle jobs and relationships. Your life falls apart. It’s our idea that if we can get somebody in and figure out what it was that caused that at the beginning, then it gives a much better chance that these other seven programs that we offer, these other self-help groups are going to take root and we found that to be true.
We don’t charge anybody anything for when they come in. When they come in, if they don’t have any insurance, it doesn’t matter. There’s no paywall. We don’t even have a mechanism for being able to generate bills that go off to individuals. If they have insurance, we will charge their insurance. We’ll take it as a contribution to our expenses, but we hold nobody responsible for individual payments for their bills. We are a walk-in clinic. We’re open from 8:30 to 5:00, five days a week. We tried evenings, we tried weekends and we will try those things again, but we couldn’t get any response. The reason I say that is because the organization has adapted to meet the needs of the people that we serve. We’ll do whatever we need to do to continue to change to meet whatever they need from us. When they come in and they go through an assessment. We’re trying to determine what their usage rate is, where they use, what their history of using is, how it’s affected their environment, how it’s affected their body and their health.
Our mission is to provide the highest level of care available to anybody, anywhere, to those people who don’t have the assets to pay for it while providing them with assistance in housing and employment. That’s our mission statement. We have all of our counselors in the equivalent of Master’s degrees in Mental Health. All of them have completed all of their coursework for a Master’s degree from one of the eight universities that we have memos of understanding within the Chicagoland area and have some form of specialty. Whether they have either a CADC, a Certified Alcohol and other Drug Counselors license or they have a substance use certificate from the school. These are extremely well-qualified counselors when they come in. We provide these services to people who have no other place to go. They don’t have the ability to be able to pay for them.
Primarily, what we have is homeless. We have formerly-incarcerated. We have people that are living in unstable, precarious and sometimes dangerous shelter conditions or living conditions. Many of them come from their cars, under embankments, shelters in the area, or couches where they found at night to be able to sleep. That’s our clientele. They’re usually appreciative of the fact that we listen to them, we pay attention to their predicaments, and they are not used to being paid attention to. We put them into the assessment and then we go through for about an hour. Right after that, we put a treatment plan together with them. There are always two counselors involved in every single assessment.[bctt tweet=”Smart Recovery is evidence-based and APA-approved where you learn that you’re powerful over your eviction.” username=””]
We found that checks and balances help when two people are listening. Sometimes, one person will miss something, then another one picks up. Sometimes our clients might have more of an affinity for one kind of person than another. We work in twos and it’s worked out well. It’s also helped us with something that we do here called a Shared Model. It’s not one client for one counselor. A client can come in or a patient can come in. They can ask for any counselor and we will make a counselor available for them because we keep meticulous notes in our electronic health records, that counselor is able to pick up exactly where they were at in their last conversation with anybody, how many classes they’ve attended. They’ll be able to give them the counseling relief that they seek. That’s abnormal for our industry. You have to come back or make an appointment when that counselor is available and we found that our people can’t keep appointments. They’re bad at it. They are unable to be able to do that.
After a time and after we show them how to do this, they certainly get better at it. We’re able to make appointments with them over time. We do this assessment. We come up with a good idea. We’re counting symptoms that they have out of what’s called the DSM-5. This is a medical manual that lists all the disorders that could possibly be diagnosed, but specifically substance use disorder. We count the symptoms out of that and determine the severity of the affliction, the condition, then we’ll give them a diagnosis. With them, we’ll put together a treatment plan. The treatment plan is something that they have to agree to. They have to be architects of it. They put it together with us and it calls for a lot of education because we have 27 different groups that we offer on a weekly basis. Usually in other addiction treatment centers, and I don’t want to speak against them at all because we’re all brothers and sisters in arms.
We’re all fighting the same battle against addiction, but they have what’s called IOP and OP. OP is called Outpatient. These are for people that have mild conditions that are not as severe. There’s IOP, which is Intensive Outpatient and typically involves about 75 hours. These are for people who have tried and failed. They are chronically relapsing and they can’t find anything that works. The bulk of our people that come in are IOP, so they’re Intensive Outpatient. We have an IOP course or group. These are all processed groups. They all follow the same protocol. You go into a group room, you have a facilitator and a co-facilitator, then we follow a certain protocol to making sure that everyone gets a chance to speak. We can call people generally out to see where they’re at, give them an opportunity to speak, and they can interact with each other and we step back, which is what we want. We believe that we grow sick in isolation and we heal in connection with one another.
Everything of most of what we offer here is group work. The types of groups that we offer are important. We have two groups that are mandatory. One of them is called Logotherapy and this is based on the life’s work of a guy named Viktor Frankl. He wrote a famous book called Man’s Search For Meaning. He went on to write 22 other books. He’s from Austria. He’s the Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy. He lived during the time of Freud and Adler. He is a little less known, but his whole basis for Logotherapy, which means self-healing, is to find purpose and meaning in your life. It dispels the existential vacuum. It gives you a reason for being alive. I have a diplomate in Logotherapy and I’ve worked to put together a program so that they can have easy to understand tools in their hands that they can use on the street and in their everyday life to help them uncover why they’re here.
That can change and it can have different meanings at the same time. They’re called meanings of the moment. That’s required and we have found that there is a correlation to the fact that we have little suicidal ideation. Evidence shows that with the numbers that I gave you, we should have 200 cases of expression of suicidal ideation per month and we have none. We have zero. We’ve got a couple of a year, so I don’t want to say there never exists any, but typically we’re able to help them uncover what their purpose and meaning are. They don’t talk about that anymore. You don’t end up thinking about throwing away what you want to keep when it becomes valuable to you once again. That’s one required course. It’s called Purpose and Meaning.
Another required course is called Learning to Love Yourself and this is based on the life’s work of Dr. Gay Hendricks. He’s got a workbook out that we use and it’s got some pillars in it, some important pieces to it. One of them, for example, is called Unconditional Self-Acceptance, USA, and we teach them. We give them tools and we practice with them and discuss with them, help them process what it means to accept themselves, words and all, everything. We can start removing them, rounding off the corners and the sharp edges, modifying the things that we like, are less than other pieces. Another component is Unconditional Other Acceptance so they’re not constantly judging others, institutions, friends, family, and enemy. They can accept them. They can forgive them. That’s called Unconditional Other Acceptance and then Unconditional Life Acceptance, which means when incidents happen, there’s a lot of compelling evidence to show that it’s best that we accept what happened so we can start moving towards our reaction to it. The only thing that we have control over is our reaction to any of these things. That choice is an important word here and it underlies everything that we do, all the courses, all the groups that we have.
Those two are mandatory. Amongst the other groups that we have, we have yoga. We’ve tried to label it at the beginning, Street Yoga and it didn’t take, but it’s not a typical yoga. It’s based on the life’s work of a guy named Bessel van der Kolk. He wrote his most famous book called The Body Keeps the Score. He shows through evidence of his lifework of research that large muscle groups retain trauma. We have a trauma-informed instructor and the name is Melissa Noel Renzi. She comes in and helps them tap that. It helped them get rid of that so they don’t have that anymore. She also helps them stand up straight and breathe from their diaphragm. Most of them that come in are smokers. She’s teaching them many times how to take the first real deep breath that they’ve ever taken. We’re teaching them how to walk properly. Many times, they have backpacks or they’re pushing carts and these distort their gate and they’re sleeping on hard and cold services. We’re helping them regain flexibility that they may not have had for decades.
It is a helpful course for them and something that they wouldn’t have access to otherwise. It’s therapeutic. We also have acupuncture. Acupuncture is working primarily with the ears, head and the forearms to help decrease tension, stress and we’re helping them increase calm and helping them get into a place where they can be mindful and they can shed some of the problems they’ve left. There’s a ton of evidence to support acupuncture and its benefit over the centuries. We also have Improv Therapy. It is facilitated by two members of The Second City. We partner with The Second City and part of this is teaching them safe humor. How to take everyday circumstances and reframe them almost instantly, how to be able to use props around you, how to get people to laugh in a safe way without offending them? Many of them have a distorted sense of humor because their values have come from many places unknown and dark. We’re teaching them the joy of being able to laugh as one of our most popular groups. We have that.
We have another group called Move and this is taught by an American Ninja Warrior. He’s on television on Monday nights. His name is Marcelino Riley. They come together in a room and they pick up a theme. They all check-in and then they all stand up and walk out of the building. They conduct their meeting while they walk. It’s got some good benefits to it because they can only walk as fast as the slowest person. They have four different themes. One of the themes is how to find beauty in an urban environment. It’s a metaphor for what they’re doing is how to find beauty and all the ugliness that many times they see in their lives. They’re pointing things out. Many times, it’s the softest voice that might point something out that may be the most important thing that they see and discuss as they move out. We’ve found that they gather a cohesiveness amongst themselves as they walk around. They end up with a deepened relationship that the other people in the other groups don’t seem to foster. They cluster, they come together and they know each other and they speak highly of the group.
We’re almost to the point where we have to split that off into two groups because of its popularity. Each of our groups lasts 1 hour and 15 minutes. These and the ones that I’ve already described. We have back-to-back trauma groups on Tuesdays and Thursdays. That’s 2.5 hours on Tuesday and 2.5 hours on Thursdays. That’s five hours of trauma a week. We have much trauma because all of our people have trauma. All of them have had traumatic episodes either at home. They’ve experienced violence on the street or ridicule or shame. They don’t feel good about their living circumstances or about themselves. This can create PTSD and all kinds of complex trauma that we deal with in this trauma group. We find that the people that come together have clusters of symptoms that allow them to be able to relate to each other in uncommon ways. When they’re on the street, they bring something up that might be bothering them or something that’s on their mind. It’s an invasive thought that they can’t shed.
They have nobody that they can talk to and in these groups, they can bring these up and everyone in the group virtually will know exactly what they’re talking about. Many of them refer to these groups as home or they feel like they can come together and connect with other people and realize that they’re not alone in their loneliness. That’s the group we use, SeekingSafety.org. A woman has put together a marvelous book and this has been around for a while, APA-approved, evidence-based. We use curriculums from that. In addition to that, we have one of our LCPCs, Austin Hall is an expert in trauma. That’s what he specializes in. He facilitates those groups with two other co-facilitators. We have that five hours a week.
We also have Rage Reduction. It is based on the principle called REBT. It’s cognitive behavioral therapy. The good thing about cognitive behavioral therapies is it involves the moment that you’re in, it involves our cognition, our being able to see somebody in front of us and use our five senses to bring us into a mindful moment with this cognitive aspect of it. Behavior is self-explanatory. It’s how we behave. We’re talking about at the moment, whereas traditional psychotherapy may deal with issues that go back to early childhood or pre-memory, to issues that sometimes are best left in the past because you can retraumatize by bringing these issues up. I’m not challenging at all the efficacy of psychotherapy. We also do psychotherapy as here as well, but we found that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which is evidence-based, is various with our clients.
Our particular brand of it is called Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy or REBT. The person who teaches this Terry London. He spent 3.5 years with Albert Ellis, who was the inventor of REBT. He thinks, breathes REBT and channels, Albert Ellis. He’s phenomenal. He’s probably one of the top talents in REBT in the world. We give practicums for REBT. We’re on our ninth practicum and in our four years. They’re free. They last over the weekend for two days. You get 16.5 CEUs or Continuing Education Units and you get a primary certificate in REBT. These are becoming popular. We have between 70 and 80 people, professionals in the industry who are flying in for it. We’re good at this and it works well with our clients.
It allows an ABC system that helps them recognize a compulsion before it’s turning from a want-to into a must. We catch it right in between and we’re able to recognize it, name it and become an observer of ourselves as we do this and march it back to a want. It’s okay to want a choice. It’s okay to want a drink. It’s okay to want to abuse. That might be disputed a little bit, but you don’t must do any of those things. If we can throw in this ABC system that helps them with this process and rewire, it’s amazingly successful. We do frequent questionnaires of our people and we also stay in touch with them for three years after they graduate. Probably the most cited benefit they get from coming here and being with us is REBT. They continue to use it and their way of saying, “I still think differently than before.” They’re able to hesitate for a moment. They don’t have to act on every compulsion that they have. That’s often a shock to them at the beginning. When we tell them that you don’t have to act on every compulsion. Many times they’re like, “Are you sure about that?” That’s how they come in the door and they go through changes.
We have REBT as a standalone process group with Terry London, leading this group as a facilitator and it applies to Rage Reduction as well. We have two back-to-back meetings of Rage Reduction every Wednesday. It applies the same principle to rage and abuse. It works as well. The nice thing about REBT is it works as well for cocaine, crack, heroin, opioids, alcohol, sex and food. You’re dealing with the compulsion inside the mind and whatever that compulsion may be, the advantage for us in working this way is we don’t have what a lot of other addiction treatment centers have where you have somebody who recovers from heroin and they decide, “I deserve to be able to drink because drinking is not a problem.” They quickly become alcoholics and become abusive in the way that they drink and treat their environments. When you’re dealing with a compulsion, you can teach all of it and applies to anything that you have that’s unwanted and unhelpful to you.
We have that process group as well as extremely popular and successful as well. We have Overcoming Procrastination. It is because many people who have been caught in their addictions end up in comas almost. They’ve given up their ability to be able to accomplish anything and then they lose faith because of the many relapses that they go through for many years. We show them how they can use and do that using the principles of REBT. The last group that we have that specifically uses REBT is seniors for sobriety, we call it Coming of Age, but it’s a 65 and over. When patients come to us that are a little bit older than our probably our mainstream group, it would be between 30 and 40, many of them come with great regret. They’ve lived lives of abuse and misfortune of their own hand. They have all of these stories many times, many decades and they have a reduced future.
When they come out from under the ether and they’re looking around for the first time. They’re thinking rationally and they’re looking at how much they’d wasted in terms of their life and how little they have left. They have a very difficult time staying in the moment. We use this to teach them. Irvin D. Yalom is the guy that we adore. We keep them in and we show them techniques for being able to do that, as other many people call it Mindfulness. Eckhart Tolle has many techniques that we use here to be able to keep people in the present moment and realizing that you’re almost devoid of problems.
You have a few problems and you can exist in a tranquil, serene way if you can learn how to invoke that. That’s what we teach them during that class and we help them reframe what they’ve done in their former life to realize that it hasn’t been life for naught. There have been lessons. There have been things that they learned many times. They had to go through all of that to get to where they are. We have special techniques that we use for them. We have booklets for seven of these groups that we have, these process groups that we self publish. They’re booklets and we print on our own printer and staple them together and give them to them for free. It gives them something that they can carry around in their pockets.
Sometimes they’ll forget some of the tips. These they can write in, they can keep notes. They can go back and refer to them whenever they want. We have worksheets in the back of them. Many times, they read them over and over. Those are some of the groups that we have. We also have a group popular on loneliness alleviation and this is helping them learn social skills. Many times, one of the big reasons that they first went to abuse of alcohol and other substances was because they couldn’t find friends. They felt alone. They didn’t feel like they fit in with everybody else. This is common. We hear it all the time. Nobody has ever taught them techniques. We’re being able to do that, so that’s what we do in this group. We teach them how to smile in a non-menacing way. How to give compliments that don’t risk offense. Many times, they’ll think giving compliments about women’s body parts are complimentary and they’re not considered as high risk.
We’re teaching them these things and many times, they never heard these things before at all. We publish a book on the loneliness alleviation based on evidence and studies. We have a sister book that goes with it called Friends. Friends are important to us and becoming more important to us because it serves the same function that sponsors do in Twelve-Step groups in AA. I still go to AA meetings, I still believe in it, but I expanded my awareness of many other forms of recovery that are as legitimate. We’re teaching them when they come in about that everybody doesn’t have tons of friends. They all have acquaintances. We’re teaching them about acquaintances. We’re teaching them that the best way for them to learn about friendship is to give altruistically, give without any expectation of returning.[bctt tweet=”Friends are important to us because they serve the same function that sponsors do in Twelve-Step groups in AA. ” username=””]
This is a new thing for our populations. Our populations have what are called transactional relationships. There’s a lot of scorekeeping. Who gave the last time? Who owes who what? Things that they think they have coming for them, strategies that they put together privately for why they pursue certain people. For things, they think they’ll get out of that relationship. We teach them how to abandon all of that and go by giving without any expectation of return. With your acquaintances, as you continue to do that and you have itchy weight to treating other people as you want to be treated, you’ll find another person that feels the same way about you and gives back the same way. If we can teach them these skillsets while they’re in this population, we’re all broken the same way. We have different versions of being broken, but we all want to improve ourselves. This would be an excellent environment for them to come into and find good candidates for friendship. We encourage them to do that.
Many of them come into it and it’s a true community here because they find friends. They come here to see friends. They learn how to build friends or they can try things out in the loneliness alleviation group that they might think would work. One of the things we do as far as homework is concerned is we’ll send them out into their living situation. In the evening, they’ll return home or the shelter wherever they go. They’ll have homework of trying something out, an idea that somebody had in the group and collecting this one example and what happened to them and then bringing that back to the group and telling everybody what they did. They get a lot of laughs out of it, a lot of sharing, a lot of commonalities. We have that.
We also have a process group called Transgenerational Trauma. It is based on those families that grew up with only one parent. They may have grown up with two parents and one of the parents may have been a substance abuser and so forth, but most of them are ashamed of these situations and they think they’re alone. It’s cathartic. Many times, when they’re sitting in a room full of fifteen other people that grow up without fathers, they all understand to a large, surprising degree what that’s like to each other. There’s a bond that forms there in that understanding. This is another one where we have booklets where we help them with particular techniques. They may hear many times, “I made mistakes and it’s okay to make mistakes, but I’m not a mistake.” They’ve heard that hundreds of times throughout their life that they were a mistake or they’ve been treated poorly by their family and their siblings. The idea is for them because we have many young fathers and young parents in here to not transfer that down to their children, to look at it in a new light. We have a lot of people that wake up to the things that they did not expect in that group.
We also have another group called Man Hall. It is based on the principles of Traditional Masculine Identity or TMI, which means toxic masculinity. When we have broken homes, many times young men and young women are thrust into parental positions that they’re not equipped to be able to handle. They weren’t even asked or it was informal or they felt that they should step in and do that, but they didn’t know what they were doing. They fail. They fail enough times that they have to begin pretending or building their egos up in unhealthy ways. This results in problematic behavior. They come out of incarceration experiences and the only way that they can stay alive is by being tough guys or tough girls. We discovered this in our trauma. We had many people there that would not respond to our traditional trauma therapy.
We went around and collected these people up and used an excuse and collected them up and put them in their own group called Man Hall. It’s unbelievable and there’s bonding in there. They bring their own to this group. The person who teaches it comes from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology and he was teaching our group before. This was called From Manhood to Adulthood. He’s somewhat of an expert in toxic masculinity and how to deal with these people. He doesn’t even direct, it’s processing. People with the same types of processing are talking to each other and helping them process each other. This is an idea of some of the things that some of the groups that we had are probably too many for me to get into or continue with individually.
We have Mindfulness Relapse Prevention, for example, which is important to keep them. This is a tool that they can use when they’re on the street and they continue flipping between the past and the future. We think sometimes the mind may do this as a diversion to keep people out of. We teach them how to become discerners or observers of their own behavior because they’re not aware of that. They believe that they are their behavior and we have to tell them, “You are not your behavior. You are not the things you’ve done in your life. You are not your job. You’re somebody else and you do these things.” That’s a new concept to them as well. We have these groups that are facilitated by some of the most qualified individuals that exist in this marketplace. I would say we probably operate more like a mental health facility than we do a drug, alcohol, and substance abuse facility. We incorporate everything that we need to for a DAS center super licensing.
We follow all those roads, but we go beyond it a little bit. Typically, we have groups in the morning. When people come in, they look at a big board to see what place in the building their groups are in. They go into their groups. We keep notes on everything that’s said. We put all these notes into our electronic health records so that there can be a permanent record of that person’s treatment plan and their progress. Progress is an important word for us. That means something a little different to every single person that comes in because we need people where they are. As we establish individual goals for them, we have no such thing as one size fits all. We’re looking for them to help us figure out what would mean progress and what their goals and how they would intend to achieve these. We believe in them. We’re empowering. The staff is built in a way we operate so that if there is any a question about making a mistake, we will err on the side of love, compassion, and inclusion. We’re going to err on that side instead of always erring on the side of the institution.
How do people find you most often?
They either have heard about us from Word-Of-Mouth or WOM. Somebody else has heard of us and recommended or they come to us from one of our 109 linkage partners. We get a lot of referrals. We take basically what everybody else can’t deal with, all the other organizations that do what we do. When they run into somebody who can’t pay, which is relatively common, they send them to us.
What is the website where people can get the best information about you?
This is the easiest interview I’ve done in a lot of years, so thank you for that. It’s a fabulous organization. I know we’re going to have to have you on again and talk about some different aspects of this. One of the questions that I have and I know is going to come up and people are going to ask me if they don’t take any money from anybody, how are they funded? We’ll get into that in another talk. What I want to do as we wrap up is to thank you. That was a wonderful presentation. With my history in the field, I know how solid what you’re presenting is and I strongly recommend to anybody who’s reading this blog, either reach out to us or to www.ANB.today for more information about the family wellness center on the West Side of Chicago. Dan, what a fabulous job. Thank you so much.
Thank you, Dr. Tim. I look forward to talking to you further because we have other services. We also do employment and housing, but we can get into that at another time.[bctt tweet=”There is no one size fits all for addiction recovery.” username=””]
We will do that. It’s fabulous. Thank you for what you do and thanks for sharing that with us.
Thank you, Dr. Tim.
Thanks. Take care. Bye.
The vision of Above and Beyond is to build an individualized treatment experience that is available to anyone in need regardless of their economic status. Their clients and clinicians create therapeutic alliances that design and execute personalized programs of recovery that co-exist side-by-side with personal development and growth goals. They believe that recovery is a process that requires meeting individuals right where they are as well as addressing their environmental life circumstances such as education, employment readiness, interpersonal relationships, and social reintegrative abilities and activities. Their philosophy is compassion, competence, and communal healing. They believe you can be well. With those simple words, the founders of Above and Beyond have brought together a seasoned team of staff members from the healthcare community with decades of personal and professional experience in the ever-changing field of substance abuse.
When they say we believe you can be well, they’re stating their belief in everyone’s ability to experience healing hope and health. What’s needed is for them to be properly stimulated, educated, and supported. It’s the expectation of communal success that drives them to provide their solid foundation of excellence, prevention, and intervention to the most fragile and vulnerable people of Chicagoland. As you could tell, Dan loves what he does and loves to talk about it. Probably the thing that impressed me the most through this entire list of achievements is the talk about how few people in their high-volume facility are experiencing suicidal ideation. There’s an epidemic of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts and actual successful suicides in our culture, especially in certain high-risk populations.
Unfortunately, those include veterans and people with low financial resources who encounter mental health challenges. It’s my hope that through the show, we’re going to keep exposing you and others to some of the best work that’s being done around this country to support people in realizing that optimal health and wellbeing is possible and create an expectation for that to be realized in their lives. One of the primary tools for this that’s proven again when people have done research on it is the need for respect and community. That’s what I heard most from this talk with Dan Hostetler. Please check out the Above and Beyond Family Wellness Center in Chicago. Feel free to contact Dan or me for further information about programs like this and how you might get a program like this started in your area if you don’t have one.
- Dan Hostetler
- Above and Beyond Family Recovery Center
- Man’s Search For Meaning
- The Body Keeps the Score
About Dan Hostetler
Dan Hostetler, MNM, CADC is the Executive Director of Above and Beyond Family Recovery Center.
Dan is a self-described “Alcoholic in Recovery” who runs a free, harm-reduction, behavioral addiction treatment center on Chicago’s West Side. He claims that his organization provides, “the highest level of addiction treatment services available anywhere, to those who cannot afford to pay for them, while assisting them with housing and employment.”
Dan is a Mennonite Motorcyclist who lives with his wife and two misbehaving dogs in a modest house. He watches birds and reads in his spare time.
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