Battle Creek Enquirer (September 14, 2008): "Therapy facility takes Narconon's place" by Elizabeth Willis

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R. Hill

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Mar 16, 2009, 11:10:13 AM3/16/09
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PENNFIELD TOWNSHIP — A new private-pay substance abuse inpatient
facility has begun operation at the facilities formerly occupied by
Narconon Stone Hawk, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center with links
to Scientology.
Operators of the new organization, A Forever Recovery, said they are not
associated with either Narconon or Scientology, although some employees
worked for and managed Narconon Stone Hawk.

"I know there's been a lot of negativity surrounding Narconon and I want
people to know it's not Narconon anymore," said Matt Yumoto, A Forever
Recovery detoxification facilitator and former Narconon Stone Hawk
employee. "Our goal is to help people get off drugs."

Founders said they have created a unique program that offers multiple
paths to recovery in one location.

The new program uses moral reconation therapy, a cognitive-behavioral
treatment system that has been successful, Program Director David Lee,
38, said.

Patients also can choose a faith-based, self-help or cognitive-holistic
track, he said. They are encouraged, but not required, to use the
facility's saunas and exercise equipment, to take vitamins and eat
healthy food.

"This is a truly unique approach because no one has really tried to put
different forms of recovery under one building," Lee said. "Our
philosophy is: Find the niche that works for you."

The St. Mary's Lake buildings were listed for sale at $3.69 million in
June, but probably are coming off the market, according to the
buildings' Realtor, Roger Molenaar.

Former Narconon Stone Hawk President Per Wickstrom once owned the
buildings with his wife, Kate, before the buildings were transferred to
the TIA Corp. The corporation also currently owns Narconon Stone Hawk
East in the former Trillium Hospital in Albion, according to online city
records. A Forever Recovery is leasing the building from TIA Corp., Lee
said.

Per Wickstrom is its marketing director and the center is operating
under the same state licensing numbers as Narconon Stonehawk's.

But its directors' intent to help drug and alcohol addicts come clean is
real. A Forever Recovery began accepting patients Aug. 15, said Senior
Case Manager Paul Lawson.

The 42-year-old Ceresco man said he grew up in Battle Creek, where he
became addicted to and sold drugs.

Now, after more than 10 years of being clean, Lawson said working with
patients at A Forever Recovery is his chance to give back to the community.

"I believe in giving back to a community that I took from for so many
years," he said.

Currently 19 patients, including two in withdrawal, are living there.
The estimated average stay is 45 days and patients or their families are
charged a minimum $12,500 for the program.

Lee said he hopes it will evolve to include up to 80 patients and 90
days of treatment, with support for the families of recovered addicts as
well.

Elizabeth Willis can be reached at 966-0684 ore...@battlecr.gannett.com.
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Ray.

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