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Sunrise at Campobello

Innovative treatment center for chemical dependency helps find tools to build new lives

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Joe tucked away his phone, beaming. His joy was palpable. “I just heard I’m a grandfather. Can you believe it? There is so much I’m going to give to this little boy. “The cycle of alcoholism stops with me! My father and grandfather didn’t know how, but I’m going to do right by my new grandson, you can be sure,” he said jubilantly.

And so it goes at Campobello, an innovative Chemical Dependency Treatment Center nestled in the Sonoma County farmlands.

In an idyllic atmosphere, drug addicts give up their stash, alcoholics go on the wagon and people discover themselves, sometimes for the first time.

Residents of Campobello’s 30-day treatment program come from all walks of life: wealthy socialites, single mothers, single young men, middle-aged married men, professionals, Union members, teachers, salespeople, journalists and politicians.

Look around you at work, at a party, or at a family celebration. There’s a chance the person sitting next to you is an abuser of drugs and/or alcohol, and a good chance if asked about it, this person would deny it.

What is chemical dependency?

Chemical dependency is the term used to describe the progressive disease of addiction to psychoactive substances (narcotics, alcohol, prescription medicine), together with a psycho-spiritual living problem which makes life unmanageable. Together, both conditions constitute the whole problem inherent in chemical dependency.

The educators and case managers at Campobello view chemical dependency as a three-fold problem needing a three-fold solution.

Campobello is a licensed center for detoxification, incidental medical services, recovery and treatment. In addition, the state’s Department of Health Care Services has licensed Campobello to provide a provisional level of care as a 3.5-level clinically managed high-intensity residential service. It has an extraordi narily high success rate among its graduates at approximately 85 per cent.

The staff attributes the low relapse rate of clients who finish the treatment program to the program’s unique approach to education.

“Alcohol — or drugs — is simply a solution to a problem with living,” says Bill Twitchell, Campobello’s president, owner and administrator. “If we take away the alcohol, the problem is still there. We have not done our job if we take away a solution without offering another.”

Denial of an addiction problem is a huge barrier to the healing process. There are three stages of denial: The first is a person’s inability and/or unwillingness to acknowledge a problem with drugs or alcohol. Many users feel their abuse is “totally under control” or using is a conscious choice which can be eliminated at any point.

The second stage is the denial of the need for help from others. One of the first concepts taught at Campobello is recovery from chemical dependency requires more than abstinence. It requires transference of dependency from self to others for the ongoing maintenance of sobriety.

The third stage of denial involves a person who may simply be going through the motions of recovery, but without a sincere commitment to change. A relapse in this sort of person is not uncommon.

Getting clean and sober is only half the journey at Campobello, Twitchell says. The next half of the journey involves the complete integration of a lifestyle based on evidence and “The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions” created by Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) in 1939.

A.A.’s Twelve Steps are a group of principles, spiritual in their nature, which, if practiced as a way of life, can expel the obsession to drink