NEW LEXINGTON – There is far more to addiction recovery than intervention, counseling and treatment, according to Theressa Snyder, director of Perry Behavioral Health Services.
“Wellness has always been a part of our residential programs, but walking outside, utilizing exercise videos and community service projects was the extent of it,” Snyder said.
Stanton Villa opened in 1994 in New Lexington. The facility provides three levels of care: ambulatory detoxification, residential care and intensive outpatient care for women. Since then, PBHS has broadened its services, consuming a significant portion of two blocks of Main Street.
PBHS provides inpatient and outpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation for residents of Perry, Muskingum, Coshocton, Guernsey, Morgan and Noble counties.
When Evolution, a residential recovery center for men, opened in January 2016, Snyder said the value of fitness in promoting long-term recovery was recognized on a different level.
“Our intensive group therapy, education classes and rigorous counseling schedules keep clients sedentary for much of the workday,” Snyder said. “Exercise is a time for them to burn built-up energy, aggression and anger, and to just move.”
PBHS has teamed up with New Dimensions Fitness owner Polly Pletcher and Marilyn Hatem, a registered nurse, to create an on-site fitness center. Both Pletcher and Hatem said they didn’t know what to expect, and they had concerns about the program and the clients. Like many New Lexington residents, they said they were skeptical about the ever-growing rehabilitation facility operated by PBHS.
“To say that I was skeptical about the transformation occurring on Main Street is an understatement,” Hatem said. “In my case, ignorance was bliss. To separate myself from the growing problem of illicit drug and alcohol abuse and addiction was paramount to saying that I did not care.”
Despite apprehension, Pletcher could foresee the positive effect of bringing life back to the town and making use of the empty buildings on Main Street. She also hoped that change would come to the lives of the people who would occupy the dilapidated buildings.
“As a business owner and professional fitness instructor for over 40 years, I had my concerns when Theressa approached me about partnering with PBHC to add a exercise component to the program,” Pletcher said. “But we have seen so much improvement with the men and women in their attitudes, physically and mentally.”
To further the strength conditioning of the Stanton Villa and Evolution clients, Mick and Harriet Amicone, founders of The Fieldhouse Family Fitness, sold several pieces of fitness equipment to PBHS at a discounted price, Snyder said.
“We get a lot of support from the community,” Mick Amicone said. “When we can pay if forward, we are happy to do that.”
Mick and Harriet have owned The Fieldhouse for more than three decades. Two weeks ago, Pletcher and Hatem reached out to the Amicones in their search for equipment.
“My goal is to facilitate the feeling of empowerment that exercise brings to the body, mind, heart and soul,” Hatem said. “We tell the clients to leave their fears, anger and aggression in the gym.”
Five days a week, clients receive 90 minutes of organized fitness under the direction of Pletcher and Hatem. Snyder said the partnership has helped Pletcher and Hatem to better understand the importance of recovery programs.
“We have all grown from this experience,” Hatem said. “The clients continue to amaze me. I am humbled by their progress. They have exceeded my expectations exponentially.”
Both, Pletcher and Hatem said they hope the clients know how much they care for them, and their experiences will continue in the choices they make in their future.
“I’m their mom for the next six weeks,” Pletcher said. “I am very proud of what we have accomplished with the men and women, and I hope they continue with a healthy lifestyle after the program’s completion.”
To help the clients stay on track, PBHS clients who complete the recovery program are given a one-month free membership to either New Dimensions in New Lexington or The Fieldhouse in Zanesville.