One of the greatest challenges for people seeking drug and alcohol recovery treatment is overcoming the fear of entering a program.
To help overcome this issue, the Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center New Beginning’s program held an open house at its office in Hagåtña Friday. It was held to promote and celebrate September as Recovery Month.
“The hardest part is walking in and we want them to see what it’s like. That it’s not a scary place to be and that everyone is welcoming,” said Athena Duenas, substance abuse program supervisor for New Beginnings.
Duenas said the open house gives people a chance to see the facilities, speak to counselors and ask as many questions as they want, so if they decide to come to New Beginnings, they are familiar with the program.
“I had alcoholism and I couldn’t stop, but when I came into treatment they helped me,” said Jonathan Untalan, 60, of Dededo. He said he has been in recovery for 13 years would have died if not for entering the program.
“I love being in recovery. It has taught me a new way of life and I’m excited to see what the future holds for me being in recovery,” said Monica Rose Calvo, 37, of Santa Rita, who is in the women’s residential treatment program at New Beginnings.
She said activities that have helped her are one-to-one counseling sessions, group discussions with fellow women in recovery and once-a-week family education classes to involve relatives in the recovery process to learn more about addiction.
“At New Beginnings alone we average about 150 to 200 people requesting services a month. … We do about 60 to 90 assessments a month on individuals and either keep them in our treatment program or refer them to the Salvation Army Lighthouse Recovery Centers,” said Duenas.
Valerie Reyes, director of the Salvation Army Lighthouse Recovery Centers, attended the open house because she said both recovering addicts and service providers need to support each other and make the community aware of all programs and services available.
An outreach event by different substance abuse recovery service providers will be held at Agana Shopping Center 10 am-2 pm Saturday.
Pacific Daily News reporter Jackson Stephens covers poverty as a Report for America corps member. You can reach him at