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Treatment leads to a 'clean and sober' life
Area offers options for substance abuse treatment

 Kennedy and Margie Wise are recovering alcohol and drug addicts who met in a 12-step group. Kennedy now works at Serenity Home, a treatment center in Fredericksburg, and Margie is a sponsor for other recovering addicts.
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Date published: 8/15/2010


Margie Wise of Stafford County said she had been using drugs every day for 29 years when her son approached her nine years ago.

His girlfriend was pregnant, he told her, and he didn't want Wise to be near her grandchild while she was an addict.

At the time, Wise was drinking, using heroin and getting prescription drugs from multiple doctors, she said.

She knew she had a choice.

"I was gonna get clean, or I was gonna die," said Wise, now 49.

Wise, who lived in Detroit at the time, said she flew to Florida for a 28-day detoxification program. From there, she moved to Stafford County, where her sister--a Stafford resident--helped her continue her recovery.

Now, nearly a decade after that hard conversation with her son, Wise is living a sober life. Recovering from addiction, she said, has been a years-long process of creating the right support system and staying motivated to keep clean.

"It's very hard when you've lived that way for so long to try to live like normal people," Wise said. "It took me years to actually find a place where I felt comfortable."


Most people struggling with addiction seek treatment either because of a court order or because a family member encouraged them to, said Deb McPhee, substance abuse coordinator for the Rappahannock Area Community Services Board.

McPhee works at the Woman's Place on Lafayette Boulevard--an outpatient center for women recovering from addictions. She said she receives lots of phone calls from concerned family members, looking for ways to help their loved ones.

But if a user isn't ready to try treatment, then there's really no pleasant way to confront him, she said. She suggests verbalizing how the substance problem affects you and the rest of your family.

"Sometimes you have to have the tough love," McPhee said. "You have to follow through on any threats you make--such as, if they don't go to treatment within a month, they're out of the house."

But family members should realize there may be big limits on what they can do--family really can't force treatment on those 18 years and up.

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Deb McPhee of the Rappahannock Area Community Services Board said it's important to "shop around" for the right treatment center. Some questions you may want to ask:

Do I have insurance, and if so, which centers will my insurance cover? If I don't have insurance, what can I afford?

Which centers offer treatment that works with my work schedule, child care schedule and transportation?

Am I interested in individual or family sessions as well as group sessions?

Will I, at some point, need help with housing, employment or other treatment?

Alcoholics Anonymous in Fredericksburg: 540/373-2028 or online at aavirginia.org Narcotics Anonymous (Rappahannock area): rappahannock areaofna.com Oxford House Twin Springs (housing for men), 17 Twin Springs Drive in Fredericksburg; 540/898-7770 Oxford House Orchid (housing for women), 6809 Orchid Lane in Fredericksburg; 540/548-3346 Rappahannock Area Community Services Board: 600 Jackson St. in Fredericksburg; 540/373-3223 or online at racsb.state.va.us Serenity Home: 540/371-3059

Snowden at Fredericksburg: 1200 Sam Perry Blvd. in Fredericksburg; 540/741-3900