I first came to the PHP office in late 1993. At that point I was walking around with a pocketful of pills as my security blanket. I was sure they would search me, so I made sure to empty out my pockets. Imagine my surprise when I went in to the office and was warmly welcomed and treated with kindness and respect – no strip search! Penny Z. took me into her office. I really don’t remember too much of our conversation, but she had a warm smile and I left with a feeling of hope. I subsequently struggled to stay sober so Penny “suggested” that I go to Marworth. My brain started to clear there, and when I finally realized what my real problem was (I am an alcoholic/addict) and that there was a solution, I jumped into recovery with both feet.
Wendie and Shirley were part of my journey early on and always made me feel like they really cared and were interested in my life and recovery when I phoned in. The PHP friends and family weekends were a great way to meet the PHP staff on a deeper level – and have a ton of fun, too! Greg G and I became friends after a few years and did some hiking and social things together. After my initial contract was up, I re-upped again and again and again – it was a no-brainer. The PHP saved my life and my career – it really is that simple.
At 3+ years sober, I was shocked to be asked to help the PHP. Apparently they saw things in me that I couldn’t see for myself. I have really grown personally and professionally from my association with the PHP. Over the past 22 years I have been a committee member, an assistant medical director, a foundation board member and, lastly, the actual medical director. As a participant, it was easy to criticize how some things were done, but sitting on the other side of the desk gives you a much larger perspective and understanding of all the challenges facing recovering docs.
Over the years some things have changed – our location, computerized records, drug testing, and staff members, but at its core the PHP has remained the same – a safe haven and a source of wise, compassionate direction for physicians and dentists who are struggling with addiction/alcoholism. I am proud of my association with the PHP and of all the great staff – past and present. We are fortunate to have a PHP in our state to start with. We are truly blessed to have such a great one.