The look, demonstrated above by David Fitzgerald, of Central City Concern’s Mentor Program, holds terrific meaning – your life depends on not lying to me.

Learn more about David Fitzgerald by reading Redemption Man, from The Oregonian, June 2005.

It’s not a threat. It’s a powerful truth which can only be shared by select individuals, bound by trust and experience, and in this circumstance by addiction.

Brian Lindstrom has been interested in addiction for twenty years. After attending Syracuse and making an excellent match with Cheryl Strayed, Brian returned home to Portland to toil for the NW Film Center and various nonprofits, making the rough Kicking in 2002, and now Finding Normal.

Finding Normal plays July 24 – August 2 at Cinema 21. I am anxious to see it.

The film is about the solution to addiction – which has been available on a very limited scale in the parking lots of Narcotics Anonymous meetings and now at semi-pro scale through Central City Concern, one of the nation’s most innovative addiction treatment organizations.

There are two parts to the solution; the first part is that being in the presence of recovering addicts is essential for people for whom “normal” has evaporated; the second is that for the addict every person, place and thing must change to get well. Everything. The alternative is foretold and quite real: jails, institutions and death. The difficult challenging change is called, “Finding Normal.”

Jill Kahnert is the hero here. It’s rare to see an angel at work. She’s tough, streetwise and no saint. Saving lives is her business and she is all business. And the vast structure of Central City Concern makes this possible with a variety of integrated programs, from detox to permanent housing.

Lies are commonly told about addiction and treatment. A blood transfusion, or a posh beach front treatment center, a state-certified counselor, a pill or a prayer. All lies. It’s quite a bit harder than that.

Read the research – Addictions Recovery Mentor Program Report, from January 2001

Results? Very simply, the mentor program improves program engagement from 51% to 86%, and program completion from 16% to 45%.

But Portland – and the insipid Multnomah County Mental Health and Addiction Services Division – largely ignored careful research on the CCC Mentor Program, it’s merits and success. Why isn’t CCC completely funded? Good question – ask Ted Wheeler, who tried to squash an essential feature of this vital program – Hooper Detox.

Film review by Shawn Levy of The Oregonian
Finding life after detox – by Inara Verzemnieks