A Great Falls addiction center called Seeking Recovery will move downtown Monday to 501 Central Avenue, from their previous location at the Columbus Center on 1601 2nd Ave North.
Owner and licensed addiction counselor JoAnn Malone said the new center will ensure ease of access for her clients with a central location. A larger facility will also help her meet the needs of a growing client base as more Montanans struggle with substance abuse.
According to a 2017 study of substance abuse in Montana from the Montana Department of Justice, an estimated 1 in 10 Montanans are dependent on or abusing drugs or alcohol.
With such a high rate of Montanans abusing drugs and alcohol, comes a need for more officials to help users reach recovery.
Malone struggled with addiction herself and uses her personal experiences to help relate to her clients. “Thirty years ago, I was on the street using drugs. I know what it’s like to go through withdrawals. I know what it’s like to not have your family talk to you. I know what it’s like to live on the streets. I know what this is like but you can do this there’s life after addiction. And I'm living proof of that.”
Malone uses a disease-based approach with her clients. “They need to understand what’s happened to them just like anybody with any other type of disease,” Malone said.
But addiction requires treating both the client’s addiction and their mental health. Malone works with licensed clinical professional counselor Amanda Walker, who targets clients' mental health. “My job is just to kind of focus on the mental health aspect of your well-being,” Walker said.
Walker teaches clients about the brain and coping skills, as well as relationship dynamics that may play a role in their mental health - lessons she learned from her own battle with alcohol addiction.
“I had gone through a horrible, horrible relationship and I ended up at a place where I hurt so bad I just wanted a break. So then i would go out with some work buddies or out with some friends at the bar and I'd just get slammed…I began to really take a long hard look at myself, started to make some changes,” Walker said.
After successfully overcoming their addictions, Malone and Walker combine their approaches to help their clients seek and find recovery.
“We believe that all addiction is rooted in trauma. And most of the time you will find that most addicts have underlying mental health issues. Most people suffering from mental illness have underlying issues. So it’s occurring. So it has to be treated simultaneously to be the most effective. So when you share the same belief system very easy to have the rapport that Amanda and I have together because there’s no thinking about it. We just understand that this is where this addiction comes from. This is how we need to treat this and we just do it simultaneously,” Malone said.
One day, Malone and Walker hope to expand their addictions counseling center into a full-fledged detox facility.
“We have a larger vision to make this a huge deal - not just addictions and mental health ad couples and families and parenting. We eventually want to get to the point where we’re a detox facility,” Walker said.