Ricki Townsend Video (Text Version)
Ricki Townsend; A Path to Recovery, Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program Consumer Reviewer
My experience with addiction has really come from my own personal background in drug abuse and alcohol abuse. And that led me to go back to school to be able to use who I am with my clients and I'm now a Drug and Alcohol Addictions Specialist.
I own A Path to Recovery, which is an addictions counseling business and an interventions business. I became involved with the PRMRP about two and a half years ago when Francis House, a resource center that I'm on the Board of and work with, sent me their request for volunteers to come forward to see if they wanted to do this program. And I found it to be real interesting because I'm very interested in the research part.
As a consumer peer reviewer, I was asked to read over proposals. And you have quite a bit of time to read over them and get yourself acquainted with them and ask questions about them and that was-to me it was very helpful. When I went to Washington for the days that we were all going to come together, I was a little nervous because I'm not educated as highly as they were. But once we became in the room, everyone was so kind, and the scientists actually thanked the consumers for being there because it brings the streets home to them. It brings real-real people home to them instead of just numbers and rats and mice and-.
I recall that at one point I even mentioned to one of the scientists, you know I feel like why am I here. And they said oh my gosh; you are so needed because what you brought to us today was the heart of the people that you're working with.
I'm really grateful that Congress is recognizing that alcohol and drug addiction is a brain disease that needs to be researched. The brain is being hijacked, and it's losing some of its functioning. And it's affecting one out of three families whether it's someone that's in your family or it's you or it's your spouse or it's a nephew or it's a niece, one out of three families are being affected by drug and alcohol abuse.
The fact that this program is congressionally funded is exciting for me in a sense that the government is seeing drug and alcohol as important. We're going to progress in this disease; we're going to progress in the healing of it as we are with breast cancer or prostate cancer-that it's going to be finally seen as a disease and not something that's a lack of willpower. I would like to see more work done with the brain and why the denial is so hard to get through to. If we brought a lot of us together that are in recovery-what was that point that brought us out of the denial just enough in that window that we were able to reach in and grasp help. If you are considering getting involved in this program, I really encourage you to just walk through your fear and do it. It's an amazing process. And when you leave there, you feel like you've really added something in your little corner of the world.
If you are suffering from this disease, just know that there's a hand to help you anywhere you look. And don't feel like you're alone because the person sitting next to you may be already in recovery and you don't even know it so don't hesitate to reach out and get help.