In Pink, Oklahoma, just 30 minutes from Shawnee, lies Avenues Recovery Center, a rehabilitation facility sitting on 135 acres of land with nearly everything needed for treating addiction.
According to Executive Director Julie Tobin Branham, Avenues is one of a few places in Oklahoma that provides sufficient services to those seeking treatment.
“(Addiction) is a huge epidemic in Oklahoma, and unfortunately, I think the current numbers (show) only a third of the individuals who need services are actually provided services,” Branham said.
Branham explained the facility will take anyone over the age of 18 and Avenues has a multitude of programs.
“For Avenues, it’s great because not only do we have the residential level of care, but we also have the intensive outpatient and outpatient, so as long as an individual meets the criteria for any level of care we would be able to serve them,” Branham said.
In addition, Avenues has a good network of resources to help people who may not be able to use their services, Branham said.
The executive director explained the reason people seek treatment is because their lives are overwhelming so it can be extremely difficult for them if they have to follow a bunch of steps just to get into treatment.
“Number one for us is we provide a strong clinical program and with that we commingle substance abuse, mental health, trauma and also bring in what has worked for a long time,” Branham said.
Clients are encouraged to participate in group activities, spiritual practices of their choice and Avenues works with them on whatever medical or mental services they need.
Patients are also taught how to have fun sober and will participate in activities such as bowling, paintball, going to the movies and so on.
"They get every aspect. When you talk about wholistic we're the definition of wholistic," Branham said. "There's not one aspect of their life that we don't address and work on with them while they're here."
Branham said the facility also helps people transition from rehabilitation to living the day-to-day.
"We definitely set them up with after care. If they've got medical issues...we help set them up with that...and then also housing and employment. We help them with that," Branham said.
In addition, Avenues continues to remain in contact with alumni even after they've left the facility.
According to Brett Payne, Peer Recovery Support Specialist, it's important to stay connected with people while in recovery.
“Part of the thing we all know in recovery is that connection is kind of where the magic happens so we really try to engage them in a way that helps them not feel alone,” Payne said.
Payne said alumni meet up once a month a have dinner or socialize in other ways. He said they’re starting to plan day long outings every quarter.
“Really it’s to help teach them that having fun in recovery is important for long term sobriety and staying connected 100 percent,” Payne said.
Payne explained many of the alumni are grateful for these meetings and the opportunity to remain connected, including alumni Bryce Jones who graduated from Avenues 10 months ago.
“It was life changing really. It’s a learning process to come back to real life and start to get to know yourself emotionally and spiritually,” Jones said. “It was such an amazing place to be able to do that.”
Jones said while at Avenues clients had activities to do, amazing classes and helpful counselors.
“I think the reason Avenues, more than almost any place, is so important is because they not only treat alcoholism and drug addiction, but they also tie mental health into it...,” Jones said.
Jones said he’s loved the alumni program because it helps him through his recovery and keeps him surrounded by people who understand what he’s going through.
“The saying is ‘the opposite of addiction is connection…’ and (Avenues) really care so much about how everyone’s doing…It’s truly a blessing to have been able to remain so close with the people who work there as well as the alumni,” Jones said.
Jones said he accepted a position with Avenues and will soon start working as a member of their marketing team.
“I’m just going to be going out and getting to know people not only at companies but individuals who are looking to find treatment and just helping people get in,” Jones said.
He said he is looking forward to helping those who really need treatment and have had a hard time finding it.
“I’m just going to be helping people of all shapes and sizes get into treatment and try to start their journey like I did 10 months ago,” Jones said.
Avenues was started on the East coast by CEO Hudi Alter who saw there was a need for these services. Over the years they've opened several different facilities throughout the country.
"We chose the name 'Avenues Recovery Center, find your way home' because recovery is a continuous journey and no two people travel down the same path," Alter said. "We hope to be able to work with each person as an individual to create and guide them along this road..."
Since they've been open locally, Avenues has admitted over 125 people and of that about 84 percent have graduated from the program
Branham said she hopes Avenues will continue to grow, that the facility will sustain itself and for it to be able to provide all the services needed for those dealing with addiction.
For more information visit https://www.avenuesrecovery.com/location/okc-drug-rehab-center/