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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Recovery Pioneer: In Memoriam

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Recovery is a gift that comes with doing the work; miracles are possible when men and women take action. Those who walk the path of sobriety learn early on that they must pay it forward. As the saying goes, you can’t keep it if you don’t give it away.

Individuals who seek treatment for alcohol or substance use disorder are taught the importance of community, fellowship, and giving back. They come to realize that helping others achieve lasting sobriety is essential, once one has a firm footing in the program.

People can pay their recovery forward in several ways. Working with newcomers or volunteering time in assisting the operations of a support group (commitments) are a couple of examples. What’s more, many people in recovery decide to become certified drug and alcohol counselors or get behavioral technician jobs at treatment facilities.

Many owners of addiction treatment centers are also in recovery. They help themselves stay on track by providing safe havens to people who need assistance. Staying involved in the field that saved one’s life is an effective method of safeguarding sobriety.

Men and women who are new to the program may even respond better to working with individuals who have walked in their shoes. Some argue that it’s impossible to fully understand the disease of addiction unless a person has the first-hand experience. While that is not necessarily true, it is helpful when a provider, therapist, or counselor can relate to the struggles their clients face.

Remembering a Recovery Visionary


Those who choose to make working in the field of addiction recovery their purpose in life collectively help countless people heal. Working a program is a permanent job, and is a pursuit aided by a dedication to helping others.

Over the years, many individuals have distinguished themselves through their commitment to assisting others to realize recovery. The addiction recovery community recently said goodbye to one who dedicated a huge portion of his life to that end.

Ronald C. Clark, 83, died a few months ago from a heart attack and the loss is still felt, The Washington Post reports. For nearly 50 years, the recovering heroin addict helped other addicts and alcoholics heal and learn how to be productive members of society. He notably assisted people who were being ignored by the Washington D.C. community, such as ex-offenders, black, poor, homeless, and HIV-infected men and women.

In 1970, Clark co-founded an addiction treatment center in the District of Columbia, according to the article. Before being invited to the District by two former Catholic priests, Ron worked as a drug counselor in the Nevada prison system and was a director at a residential treatment center in New York.

“Ron Clark was way ahead of his time, and in many ways, we’ve gone backward because a lot of people still don’t appreciate the importance of his approach,” said Edwin Chapman, a medical doctor who treats heroin and opioid addiction. “Ron’s approach was to get to the core of a person’s being, find out what’s missing, what’s been lost, what’s been stolen and help them discover their real identity and recover their true self.”  

Clark instilled in clients the importance of giving back to the community, the article reports. Clients were required to pick and distribute fresh vegetables and free clothing to families in need. They also shoveled snow for older folks.

“He didn’t just want to see individuals recover,” said Ron’s son, Paul Clark. “He wanted the communities where they came from to recover.”

SLO County Addiction Recovery Center


The Haven at Pismo provides clients with possibilities to renew to their best today. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please contact us to learn more about our evidence-based addiction treatment programs.