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Client Success Story

Karen

Chemical Health Graduate

After teaching high school English for 34 years, Karen retired in 2003. A social drinker before retirement, she began drinking heavily to deal with her feelings of boredom and isolation.

“All of a sudden I had all this time and I didn’t have any outlets,” Karen said. “I didn’t develop any new friendships and I became isolated.”

Karen’s drinking progressively got worse and she became a regular heavy drinker. She neglected her health by making poor diet and exercise choices. Her drinking even began to affect her short-term memory.

“I lost weight because I wasn’t eating right. I became very weak,” Karen said.

One day while at her home, Karen had a seizure in the bathroom and hit her head as she fell to the floor. A friend found her and took her to the hospital. Karen has no memory of the seizure or the head injury.

At the hospital Karen took a neuropsychological exam to measure her psychological function. Her results were not encouraging. As someone who had earned a master’s degree and been a teacher for 34 years, her neuropsychological exam results startled her. She realized what a toll drinking had taken on her memory and comprehension skills.

The hospital staff suggested Karen receive treatment for her substance abuse issues, but Karen resisted.

“I did not want to go to treatment. I was not open to it at all,” she said.

Alarmed by her poor health, the hospital wanted to have Karen committed to treatment. A judge ruled that she was not capable of self-care and ordered her to receive alcohol treatment. Someone in the court suggested Vinland Center.

Although she was reluctant to receive treatment, once Karen was involved in the Chemical Health program at Vinland Center her attitude began to change.

“My case manager, Farrel, made all the difference in the world. She was no-nonsense and would make me redo my work. She was also very kind and loving.”

Karen enjoyed the structure of treatment at Vinland, explaining that therapy was “with me, not at me.”

When Karen arrived at Vinland, she was very weak physically. She was unable to open doors or to get soap out of soap dispensers. She was using a cane to help her walk.
Karen exercised everyday during her stay at Vinland to get her body back in shape. The exercise helped improve her appetite and she began to gain weight. As she slowly got back into shape, her mind followed. By the time she left Vinland, she was no longer using a cane.

After graduating from Vinland Karen returned to her home. She volunteers at a senior citizens' center near her home where she works one-on-one with the residents and reads and writes for them. She also joined a gym and continues to exercise regularly.

“Before I went to Vinland, I thought because of my age, treatment wouldn’t do much to improve my life. Today I’m excited about life. Vinland offered me hope.”

Please note: Images are stock photos. Former clients provided Vinland with permission to share their stories.

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