One of the biggest challenges for people seeking drug and alcohol addiction treatment is overcoming the fear of entering a program.
To help overcome this problem, the Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center’s New Beginning program held an open house Friday at its Hagåtña office. It was organized to promote and celebrate September as recovery month.
“The hardest part is getting in and we want them to see what it is. That it’s not a scary place and everyone is welcoming,” said Athena Duenas, Addiction Program Supervisor for New Beginnings.
Duenas said the open house gives people a chance to see the facilities, talk to counselors and ask as many questions as they want, so if they decide to come to New Beginnings, they know about the program.
“I was an alcoholic and couldn’t stop but when I got treatment they helped me,” said Jonathan Untalan, 60, of Dededo. He said he had been recovering for 13 years and would have died had he not participated in the program.
“I love being in recovery. It taught me a new way of life and I’m excited to see what the future holds for me in recovery,” said Monica Rose Calvo, 37, of Santa Rita, who participates at the New Beginnings Women’s Residential Treatment Program.
She said activities that have helped her are one-on-one counseling sessions, group discussions with other women in recovery, and family education classes once a week to involve loved ones in the recovery process to learn more about addiction.
“At New Beginnings alone, we average about 150 to 200 people requesting services per month. … We do about 60 to 90 assessments a month on individuals and either keep them in our treatment program or refer them to Salvation Army lighthouse recovery centers,” Duenas said.
Salvation Army Lighthouse Recovery Centers Manager Valerie Reyes attended the open house because she said recovering addicts and service providers need to support each other and let the community know about all available programs and services.
An awareness event organized by different addiction recovery service providers will take place at the Agana Mall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Pacific Daily News reporter Jackson Stephens covers poverty as a member of the Report for America corps. You can reach him at