Surrender to Win

Surrender to Win
by Jennifer LB Leese

We have become a society that believes that any problem, no matter how large or small, has or should have a chemical solution. Whenever tired, many of us turn to caffeine in coffee or cola products; for an inability to sleep, desire to sleep faster, when anxious or depressed, we either turn to sleeping pills, cigarettes, alcohol and other central nervous system depressants. For some, the desire for an intense feeling of euphoria or ecstasy, they turn to psychoactive drugs like cocaine, heroin and the more potent central nervous system stimulants. All these forms and reasons for drug use can and often lead to drug addiction.
When this occurs, they don't know where to go or what to do.
Safe Haven Counseling Center, downtown Hagerstown, is here to help. Safe Haven is an outpatient substance abuse treatment center for adults, ages 18 to 64, and adolescents, ages 13 to 18, that opened on October 1, 2005. Their purpose is to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by alcohol and other drug use through treatment, education and training by promoting a greater understanding of addiction disorders. Their focus is to disseminate accurate, empirically based information in the health-care system.
Jeannine Jackson, chief executive officer, says that they are different than most outpatient centers that typically only meet once a week because they offer a longer lasting operation to healing substance abuse users. "We feel that intensive therapy is the approach."
"We at Safe Haven give 110% of ourselves," says Jeannine. "Some of our clients have mental illness issues; we go beyond our program and guidelines. We help them obtain work. Give support, and help them [achieve] their education, instilling that they need a career, not just a job."
Jeannine goes on to say that, "The name, Safe Haven, is true. We're their recovering family. What happens here, stays here."

What they do
Safe Haven began with the intention of helping others help themselves; giving back to the community. "I have to give back. It's my responsibility to help," says Jeannine.
Clients of Safe Haven are people from all walks of life. Sometimes they are court-ordered to attend treatment; sometimes they are walk-ins, sometimes a boss or family member refers them.
They begin with an evaluation, confidentially and individually, taking an hour and a half at most. "We determine their drug history--what age they started, what substance they are using, the severity of duration--then we talk about education, family life, family relations and so on, encompassing all of that as to what our recommendation of treatment will be," says Jeannine.
Safe Haven Counseling Center Adult Intensive Outpatient Alcohol and Drug Treatment addresses core clinical areas within give groups: Individual / Co-joint sessions, Early Recovery Skills group, Relapse Prevention group, Family Education group, and Social Support group. In addition, they offer a Maryland approved DWI / DUI Education and Treatment.
Safe Haven Counseling Center Adolescent Treatment Program is designed to serve males and females ages 13 to 18, with drug and alcohol-related problems. Their treatment is provided in a safe, supportive environment where they can begin to learn the new skills necessary for achieving long lasting recovery and begin to deal with any secondary psychological issues. They will have the opportunity to talk about their issues in their own group. The Intensive structured program is filled with activities that help adolescents recognize their own denial systems, come to terms with their problems, and to become familiar with the 12-step recovery principles and begin to make the positive choices that will lead them to a healthy and productive life.
"We at Safe Haven Counseling Center are optimistic that this recovery program will be beneficial for out current clients while in treatment. In addition, we are confident that the recovery program will benefit clients who have completed treatment with a long term understanding contingent on their willingness to embrace principles learned."
Their program is 24 sessions over the course of 6 months. Afterwards, "We back them down when they are already healthy and know what their relapse triggers are and they can better understand and see these problems before they occur."
Aftercare programs are for individuals who have completed Safe Have Counseling Center's Intensive Outpatient Program successfully and / or have completed treatment from an inpatient program and does not require the Intensive Outpatient program after a comprehensive assessment is performed.

Working with the community
Safe Haven Counseling Center is here for the community. They would like to work with the Cold Weather Shelter and CASA, specifically. "These are organizations we'd really like to work with," however, "we work with all agencies." Safe Haven stresses that they are not here to take over; they want to work together to help area abusers go beyond their boundaries and live a better way of life. "We don't want to take business from anyone, we want to be able to help that individual."
As with many organizations, volunteers make up a huge part of what they do and how they do it. Safe Haven Counseling Center is no exception.
"We are looking for individuals who would like to give their time to teach those recovering from substance abuse meditation, yoga, art therapy or acupuncture," says Jeannine. They encourage you to contact them if you feel you can contribute an alternative to using. "All of these things help individuals heal [learning new methods to relieve stress]. When they are stressed out they turn to drugs or alcohol [or whatever their addiction may have been]. These methods will give them something else to do to release anxiety and stress."

Affecting us all
"Many people view drug abuse and addiction as strictly a social problem. Parents, teens, older adults, and other members of the community tend to characterize people who take drugs as morally weak or as having criminal tendencies. They believe that drug abusers and addicts should be able to stop taking drugs if they are willing to change their behavior.
"These myths have not only stereotyped those with drug-related problems, but also their families, their communities, and the health care professionals who work with them. Drug abuse and addiction comprise a public health problem that affects many people and has wide-ranging social consequences," states the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Behavioral therapies such as counseling, psychotherapy, support groups, or family therapy are key. NIDA says, "The more treatment given, the better the results."

Getting help for your loved one
If you notice unexplained changes in physical appearance or behavior in a loved one, it may be a sign of substance use; however, it could be a sign of another problem. You will not know definitively until a professional does a screening.
Sometimes friends and family members may feel that they constantly express concerns about a loved one's substance use but never see any changes. You may have reached this point after weeks or months of giving lectures, making threats, ignoring behaviors, accepting promises of change, giving second chances, or imposing consequences.
Experts recommend developing and repeating a consistent, positive message: "We care about you and we want you to get help." Define substance use as a problem for you and others who care about the person. The Partnership for a Drug-Free America suggests avoiding blaming, arguing, and reproaching; and expect denial, distortion, avoidance, rationalization, and intellectualization of the problem.
Jeannine Jackson is waiting. If you feel you know someone who needs help or you would like advice or guidance, call her at the number below and tell her your concerns.
"You can remain anonymous or give your name--that's your choice."
Jeannine suggests to those who are substance users to "look into yourself 100%. Take a moral inventory," and know that they are there to help.

Safe Haven Counseling Center is located at 111 West Washington Street, Hagerstown. Call 301-766-7214; visit, or write for more information. Questions can also be directed to: Jeannine Jackson, chief executive officer,, Fritz Jadotte, vice president, C.O.O.,, or James Regan, clinical director,
Safe Haven is there to "...take care of you!"