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Free at Last
Society and Community:
Rebuilding Lives
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Free at Last and Recovery Resources

NOW's program "Rebuilding Lives" profiled David Lewis and his organization Free at Last. When Lewis decided to change his own life he returned to his roots in East Palo Alto, California — and addressing problems at a community level has remained the touchstone of his organization.

Free at Last calls its methodology "A Culturally Appropriate, Community-Based Approach" to substance abuse recovery and other societal ills. Their core belief is that "people can recover at home, reclaiming and rebuilding our own community" at the same time. This approach is apparent in the staff of Free At Last itself, 85% of the staff are local residents, 78% African American and 16% Latino, 26% bilingual. And, following David Lewis own personal example, fully 65% of Free at Lastís board and staff are in recovery themselves.

Free At Last also operates on the assumption that a complex of issues exacerbate substance abuse and contribute to high levels of imprisonment and recidivism. To that end, the group offers services from street outreach and intervention to bilingual substance abuse treatment, transitional housing and long-term aftercare, reaching over 4000 local people. Free at Last also focuses on HIV education, at-risk youth services, employment assistance, and provides a range of family support services.

Below is a partial list of resources for recovery. For additional information on dealing with a substance abuse problem in your family please see the Web site for CLOSE TO HOME, a Bill Moyers program.

Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration
Drug and Alcohol Treatment Referrals
1-800-228-0427 (TDD)
This service provides advice and referrals to individuals about the availability of drug and alcohol treatment services, including referrals to programs in the caller's local area. Operates 24 hours daily.

American Self-Help Group Clearinghouse
(973) 625-3037
(201) 625-9053 (TDD)

Callers can get assistance in finding or forming a mutual aid support group for any type of illness, disability, addiction, loss of a loved one, parenting problem, abuse situation, or other stressful life problem. Visitors to the Web site can access a national and international database of self-help mutual support groups as well as a listing of local self-help clearinghouses.

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Inc.
Hotline 1-800-NCA-CALL
NCADD offers information on alcoholism and drug abuse. Through the national number, callers may also be connected to their local NCADD affiliate for referrals to treatment services in their area. (Some local affiliates may not operate referral services 24 hours daily.) Operates 24 hours daily for information.

Girls and Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-1833 (TTY)
Kids and parents may call this hotline and speak directly to a counselor about issues related to substance abuse, violence, depression, or any other problematic family relationships. Counselors can make local referrals for services. Spanish-speaking operators are available. Operates 24 hours daily.

Alcoholics Anonymous
AA is a fellowship that has self-supporting groups for and of alcoholics that meet worldwide. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. Information on meeting times and locations can be obtained by calling the local AA office listed in your local phone directory.

Narcotics Anonymous World Services Office, Inc.
(818) 773-9999 (Meeting Information)
Narcotics Anonymous is a 12-Step program for recovering addicts in which members learn from one another how to live drug-free. To obtain information on local meetings, call the Meeting Information number for referral to your local helplines or check your local phone book. Local helpline numbers can also be found on the Web site.

Al-Anon offers support groups for relatives and friends of individuals with an alcohol problem. Alateen is a program primarily for teenagers that may include (depending on the local group's decision) pre-teens. The Web site contains contact numbers for Al-Anon chapters worldwide.

CSAP Workplace Helpline
The federal Center for Substance Abuse Prevention operates a toll-free consulting service for business, labor, and community alcohol and drug abuse prevention organizations seeking help in developing policies on substance abuse in the workplace. Operates Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m., ET.

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