Veteran journalist sees hope in residential drug recovery program

“Kentucky’s struggle to help its citizens who suffer from dependency on drugs and alcohol recently reached an impressive goal when leaders of that struggle who are prominent in different political parties celebrated the official opening of a $5 million treatment center in Western Kentucky,” Al Smith wrote in an op-ed piece for the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Smith, left, reports on his trip to the dedication of the Recovery Kentucky residential center in Paducah with “First Lady Jane Beshear, wife of the Democratic governor, and Don Ball, the Lexington developer and Republican fund-raiser,” who “left politics behind” to mark the opening of the 10th and last in a series of centers planned at Ball’s urging by Gov. Steve Beshear’s Republican predecessor, Ernie Fletcher. Smith praises Beshear or “retaining Ball as task force chairman and appointing the first lady as his cochair in a commendable commitment to making the program a bipartisan effort.”

Recovery Kentucky uses “a recovery model that includes peer support, daily living skills training, job responsibilities and challenges to practice sober living,” writes Smith, who overcame his own alcohol addiction almost 50 years ago while editing the Russellville newspaper. “The memory is so vivid I couldn’t resist sharing it with some newcomers to sobriety in Paducah,” he wrote, quoting himself: “I’ve been where you’ve been. It’s a program of hope, it works if you work it.” (Read more)

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