We hope some information and facts help to answer some questions and gain your support.
Dear Aurora –
Over the past two months, I have been canvassing various community groups and attending special open discussions in Aurora to build confidence among neighbors, and to demystify concerns and rumors about Jacob’s Ladder at Brookside Farms, a residential healing program for young men recovering from addiction.
It has come to our attention that there remain some folks with concerns, if not fears, about this caring treatment program, and about the young men facing their disease who will live, work and recover there.
This letter and series of Frequently Asked Questions will hopefully provide some of the clarity that is needed to dispel some misinformed concerns. While we are well aware of the stigma that surrounds this disease – and are fully anticipating that we will always face opposition as we battle this national epidemic – we believe that once the community is armed with the facts about this place of healing, that everyone will embrace the program, and rest assured that their safety and security will be unaffected.
It’s important that we share some background information about this national epidemic, where West Virginia is leading the charge in per capita deaths, so that there is context behind why the very special, and comforting, town of Aurora has been selected as one of several facilities we are planning across the state.
22 million Americans are struggling with the disease of addiction, affecting 100 million family members. One in every three Americans is directly affected by this disease. In the US, alcohol and other drugs claim more than 135,000 lives every year, that’s 370 per day or 15 people dying every hour. Addiction is the third largest cause of death in the US, after heart disease and cancer. It is our nation’s 4th most prevalent disease. West Virginia ranks number one on the list of highest overdose deaths by state, per capita.
Jacob’s Ladder is a long-term residential treatment community for young men challenged by addiction. The goal of the Jacob’s Ladder program is to foster an awakening through the synthesis of expert clinical treatment, 12-step principles, facilitated self-discovery by way of a deliberate practice of mindfulness based cognitive therapy, and engaged participation in a working farm environment.
The program will be available to individuals who have personally demonstrated a willingness to quit and a desire to heal. We hope that the surrounding community can be supportive, although interactions will be quite limited.
The program requires a 6-month commitment, where the program is individualized within a structured program of progressive phases. We complement clinical aspects of the treatment program with music & arts therapy, and outdoor recreation programs, while immersed in a farming community where everyone is focused on maintaining unconditional positive regard for self, others and the earth.
Our mission is to illuminate a path to an enlightened awakening, and continuous sobriety, by cultivating an environment of unconditional love and positive regard; transferring proven therapies to daily routines via structured yet individually-adaptive programs; and cooperatively farming to establish a meaningful connection with self, others and the earth.
We are hosting and treating those afflicted by the disease of addiction in a beautiful, welcoming and inspiring natural setting where they can focus their entire existence on their voluntary recovery. We are not bringing drugs to WV or Aurora. They are already here. The time for standing up and eliminating the shameful stigma surrounding this disease is now. I know in my heart that the great folks in Aurora and in WV are those who would encourage someone recently diagnosed with cancer to stop smoking, or to help a loved one with diabetes to find a sugar-free treat. We ask you to help us, not directly, but indirectly through your continued, genuine care and concern for your neighbors by recognizing that all we are doing is helping those with this disease to heal and recover.
We appreciate and understand why folks have concerns and do not belittle that sentiment. We do however stand strong in our conviction to be a part of the solution – to make all of our communities safer and healthier.
I welcome your questions and concerns as I am fully confident that the negative impressions envisioned by the misinformed can be turned positive by learning the facts.
Kevin Blankenship, MD
Do you have additional questions we can address? Contact us and we'll get back to you promptly.