Monday, May 21, 2001

Prospect House gives hope, help

Center saving lives for last 30 years

By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Jim Wilson of Rising Sun, Ind., began drinking when he was 8 years old and an alcoholic was born, he says.

        But at 35, he credits Prospect House, a Price Hill residential treatment home for substance abusers, with his 13 years of sobriety.

        “Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Prospect House saved my life,” Mr. Wilson said Sunday during a 30th anniversary celebration for the nonprofit treatment center. “The bottom line is that people there cared enough about me to tell me the truth about me.”

        The truth, he said, was that alcohol was ruining his life. He couldn't hold a job and was suicidal before he came to Prospect House.

        Mr. Wilson is one of more than 4,900 alcoholic and drug-addicted men served by Prospect House since 1970. Hundreds of past and pres ent clients, their families and friends celebrated the anniversary Sunday during a nine-hour open house, including a picnic and dancing.

        The day was billed as a “good news” event. The center recently completed a 10-year outcome study of men treated there from 1990 to 2000 and found 69 percent to be clean and sober, said executive director David Logan.

        Mr. Wilson said he had been through nine or 10 treatment programs in West Virginia before coming to Prospect House in 1988.

        He stayed there for more than a year and eventually became a counselor for the treatment center. Though he returned to West Virginia to work as a counselor there, Mr. Wilson came back to the Greater Cincinnati area last September to reclaim his old job at Prospect House.

        He's not the only one to preserve ties to the center. Edwin Sorensen, 63, of Over-the-Rhine, still returns regularly to play cards even though he moved out of Prospect House in the early 1990s.

        “When I came here, I was a basket case,” Mr. Sorensen said. An alcoholic, he was on the verge of suicide and just out of the psychiatric ward of University Hospital when he was sent to the treatment facility.

        “I slowly became more responsible, more responsive,” he said.

        He lived there more than two years and, after counseling, began tutoring children from nearby schools in Prospect House's literacy center. The treatment programs combined with the tutoring helped him to turn his focus away from himself, he said.

        “I would be dead without it,” he said.


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