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Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018

CADA Turns 60, Celebrates 6 Decades of Hope

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The Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse will celebrate its 60th anniversary at its 2018 annual dinner at the Shreveport Convention Center on Oct. 10. Doors open at 5:30, and the program begins at 6:30 featuring special keynote speaker Maureen McCormick. Tickets and tables are on sale now at www.cadanwla.org. Maureen McCormick is best known for her role as Marcia Brady on the iconic “The Brady Bunch,” and she was also a competitor on “Dancing with the Stars.” CADA’s executive director Bill Rose, however, said McCormick is so much more than just a teen idol.

“Maureen has achieved 36 years of sobriety, and we are proud to bring her to Shreveport to tell her story,” Rose said. “She is an amazing woman of strength, and she is an inspiration to those struggling with alcohol and substance use disorders.”

The 60th-anniversary event will also be an opportunity to tell CADA’s story, which is the story of thousands of people in our community who have found the path to recovery and put their families back together.

“It all started with Dan J. Talley in 1968,” Rose said. “People referred to it as ‘The Council’ then, and the word was largely spread through the AA community. So many people needed help, including many of our community’s business leaders. Those pioneers helped CADA provide services to those who couldn’t afford self-pay.”

Today, CADA provides prevention, education and treatment services including 14 programs in four facilities in Shreveport and Bossier City. CADA’s School of Addiction and Behavioral Health offers evidencebased education for area professionals and those looking for an affordable career path in substance use recovery. Additionally, CADA’s “Let’s Talk” series at Robinson Film Center provides public education and a chance for dialogue about topics related to substance use disorders, such as the opioid crisis, the forgotten meth crisis, trauma and adverse childhood experiences, and parent prevention education.

Lane S. Adger is a CADA board member and will serve as president in 2019. “CADA has been around for 60 years and has become the authority on addiction in North Louisiana,” he said. “The many programs that CADA administers reach people from all walks of life, including adolescents 12-17 years of age, adult men and women, veterans and women with children. CADA is one of the few programs that accept pregnant women. CADA also educates our public on addiction.”

“I once saw a statement that said, ‘Addiction is not a spectator sport … sooner or later the whole family gets to play!’” Adger said, laughing. “And how true that is. Addiction not only affects the alcoholic or addict, it affects everyone around them – family, spouses, children, employers, friends and enemies.”

Adger is passionate about CADA because he knows firsthand what it’s like to lose control when struggling with alcohol. “Personally speaking, when I was actively drinking I was far from a model husband, father, son, brother, friend or employee,” he said. “I was so wrapped up in my addiction that getting my next drink was all that mattered.”

“Addiction is a disease,” Adger explained.

“It is not that people are weak or have no willpower. It is a cunning, baffling, powerful disease that tells you that you don’t have a problem. Addiction affects people from all walks of life. That ‘skid row bum’ you see might have been a former CEO.”

Lesley Warren also serves on CADA’s board of directors because she believes so strongly in CADA’s mission. “CADA is not only there for someone struggling with drugs or alcohol when they need treatment,” she said. “CADA is there before by educating to help prevent addiction. CADA is thereafter for the recovery. CADA is there before, during and after addiction.”

Stigma is one of the biggest obstacles when it comes to solving the high rates of addiction.

“Stigma doesn’t help anyone,” Warren said. “No one wants to be an addict, and no one wants to know an addict either. The battle is heartbreaking for everyone involved. When someone gathers the strength to admit for treatment, they should be proud. That first step is so difficult.”

Katy Merriman also serves on CADA’s board and is chairman of its marketing and development committee. “Addiction is a family disease that can touch generations,” she said. “It affects not only the person suffering with the dependency but the family and friends also. Help and hope is out there both for the addicted individual and the family.”

CADA now offers education and coping techniques to family members of those struggling with addiction through its new Davis Family Education Program, named after one of CADA’s supporters, the late Tootsie Davis. “Family members can become consumed and codependent with the person who is affected by this disease,” Merriman said. “It is a good idea for family members to seek professional support and education about the problem.”

First and foremost, however, is helping people recover from alcohol and drug use. Warren encouraged people who suspect drugs or alcohol is interfering in their happiness and daily life to get help. “It is never too early or late to ask for help,” she said. “I once heard that addiction is a marathon, not a sprint. You must train, work hard and continue to practice. Everyone goes at a different pace, everyone falls. It will be hard, but if you pick yourself up and always keep going, then you will win the race.”

Thankfully, people don’t have to run that race alone. “CADA has 60 years of experience in helping individuals,” Merriman said. “We help individuals from all backgrounds and all walks of life. Get help now before it is too late. The stories of hope and recovery happen every day. You can be one of those stories.”

Adger wholeheartedly agreed. “If you want help, it is available,” he said. “CADA can help, no matter what your financial status is or whether or not you have insurance. We have all seen the commercial where at the end, an addict says if he had had insurance, he could have gotten the best help available. CADA is the best help available – with or without insurance. You don’t have an excuse for not asking for help.”

Adger also encouraged people who want to know more about CADA to come tour one of its facilities. “Come see for yourself the miracles CADA is performing in people’s lives,” he said. “Become a CADA Supporter!” “CADA is such an important resource in this community,’ Merriman added. I am honored to be a member of the board and to do my part to support their efforts. Happy birthday, CADA!” You can get help or just learn more about CADA at www.cadanwla.org, where you can buy tickets and tables for the 60th Anniversary Dinner, or call (318) 222-8511. You can follow CADA on Facebook at facebook.com/CADAofNWLA.

– Susan Reeks

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