Harborview Helps Patient Turn Life Around

Judy Martin

Judy Martin was never a big drinker. In fact, she never drank before age 37.

But in her mid-50s, Martin experienced some stressful times in her personal life, and moved to Chicago from another state. She had heart problems and was suffering from acute depression. She began drinking heavily for the next few years.

Martin credits Saint Joseph Hospital cardiologist Harry Cohen, M.D., and his nurse, for helping to save her life. They told her about Harborview Recovery Center.

Harborview is a 15-bed inpatient residential unit at Saint Joseph that provides 24-hour care and treatment for patients with alcohol and drug addiction. They offer a full range of inpatient and outpatient treatment for chemical dependency through every stage of recovery.

Harming Her Health

"I surely would have killed myself if I kept drinking," said Martin, 63, noting that alcohol was harming her health.

In 2006, the Lincoln Park resident was assessed by Harborview's staff, and admitted as an inpatient for 21 days. While in the unit, Martin received care for alcohol withdrawal, and provided intensive counseling and education on recovery. She then participated in outpatient care for an additional three weeks. Even though Martin had a relapse after five months, she was able to quickly regain her sobriety.

This year, Martin celebrated two years of being sober. During the recovery process, she learned a lot about herself, including triggers for drinking and how to better manage her emotions. She's now enrolled in a 12-step, self-help group - a program of 12 sequenced activities, which provides mutual help and support for individuals in recovery.

Be Treated with Dignity

"The staff, treatment program and education were wonderful," said Martin, a former senior vice president of a property casualty insurance company and now retired. "People should not be afraid and know that there is a place where you can receive treatment, and be treated with dignity."

She was impressed with the compassionate staff of professionals, including the care she received from Michael Baldinger, M.D., Harborview's medical director. She was also very pleased with the follow-up care and support during recovery.

When Martin left the inpatient unit, one of the first stops she made was to Dr. Cohen's office. She wanted to thank the nurse and doctor for telling her about Harborview.

As part of the recovery process and to help give back the gift of recovery, Martin spends two days a week volunteering at Harborview - reaching out and helping new patients.

"There's never a day that I'm not more thankful than the day before for my sobriety," she said. "I'm happy and well adjusted."

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