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Walking for sobriety

September 16, 2002

Jackson Bell

Friends, family members, Glendale firefighters and alumni came out

Sunday afternoon for a walk-a-thon to show their support, celebrate

National Drug Awareness Month and raise funds for the Alpha Recovery

Center of Glendale Memorial Hospital.

Roughly 52 people walked through the hallways of Glendale Memorial

Hospital, 1420 S. Central Ave., and the surrounding streets handing

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out brochures and promoting awareness about Alpha's rehabilitation

programs that many in the community -- including hospital employees

-- don't seem to know about.

"If people call the hospital and ask for a drug-treatment program,

they will say they don't have one and will refer them to another

program, which is a recovery program for [alternative lifestyles],"

Mike Harmon, an Alpha alum and coordinator of the walk-a-thon, said

about some uninformed hospital employees. "That program will then

refer them to Alpha."

George Patterson, the clinical director and co-founder of Alpha,

located at 1330 S. Glendale Ave., said the center's impetus came from

personal experiences. A former entertainer during the "wild '60s,

when drugs were rampant in show business," he witnessed many friends

and loved ones struggle with and even die from addictions.

Determined to help those suffering from alcohol and drug abuse, he

opened the Alpha Recovery Center 28 years ago and estimates there

have been more than 12,000 who have participated in the program. Now,

it's the oldest treatment program in Southern California.

"This is a treatable disease and people can get help," he said.

"We have created an affordable program, and those who cannot afford

it are assisted by [donations received from such fundraisers as] the

walk-a-thon."

Mark Bradley, a chemical-dependence counselor and program manager,

said the base cost is $6,000 and scholarships can be granted to those

who cannot afford it. More than $1,000 was raised from yesterday's

event.

"They saved my life," Pati Troup, the Alpha Recovery Center alumni

president, said. "I wouldn't be here today without Dr. George

[Patterson]."

The program meets from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. five days a week for 30

days, offering detox and alternative living environments during

treatment such as sober living if needed. For more information, call

502-2300.

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