Thursday, November 17, 2011

Jerry McDonald Receives 2nd Annual "Spirit of Recovery" Award

Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat today announced Jerry McDonald, ACATA, as recipient of the 2011 Dr. Joseph L. Galletta Spirit of Recovery Award.  The 2nd annual award will be presented at the treatment center's annual holiday luncheon on December 8th, 2011.  Jerry recently retired after 18 years of service at Betty Ford Center with over 32 years in the addiction field.  he also has over 34 years of sobriety.

"On February 13th, 1977, my illness was flat lined by AA and I haven't had a drink since four o'clock that afternoon," explains McDonald.  "This award presentation is remarkable because I am someone who should be thanking and honoring AA."

Jerry's career began as the Program Director for the country's first inpatient program for the treatment of eating disorders at San Pedro Peninsula Hospital in San Pedro, CA in 1978.  Jerry then moved to South Bay Hospital in Redondo Beach, CA in 1980 to establish its chemical dependency and eating disorder program while working under Dr. William Rader.  Not long after, Jerry became Executive Vice President for the Rader Institute, a national healthcare corporation for the treatment of eating disorders.  In his time there, Jerry opened the organization's first six centers in California.  Throughout his more than three decades in the field, Jerry has held director-level and VP positions at several California-based chemical dependency centers, and in 1995 joined The Betty Ford Center, where he was the National Business Development Representative.  He retired in March of this year, but continues on in a consulting role.  Prior to his work int he addiction field, Jerry was an accomplished volleyball player and has remained highly involved in the sport.  He served as the Vice President of Operations and Chairman to the USA Women's Olympic Volleyball Committee and latter was Assistant Coach for the 1972 Olympic Women's Team.  Jerry earned a spot int he YMCA's Volleyball Hall of Fame in 1988.

Those who know Jerry professionally, describe him as someone who has fulfilled each and every position in his career with energy, compassion and skill - and personally, a generous and popular fellow and a master story teller.  "If you've heard his stories, you may agree that it seems like and episode of Happy Days, complete with his own nostalgic cast of characters, which are just legendary," said Michela Sands, Corporate Director of Business Development and Admissions at the BFC.

Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat named Jerry McDonald as its recipient of the 2011 Spirit of Recovery Award because he embodies the spirit of the award's namesake, the late Dr. Joseph Galletta.  Like Dr. Galletta, Jerry is a noted, respected, trained professional in the field of addiction and has assisted and touched thousands of people over the years, helping them find the courage to recover.

As last year's award recipient Ed Spatola, Founder and CEO of New Found Life puts it: "There is no way to count the contributions he has made, like the ripples in a pond, they keep spreading out.  So do his efforts and words.  He is the finest example of the twelve step program that I have seen and I am proud to know him.  he demonstrates the 'Spirit of Recovery' every day."

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Appreciation of our Nursing Staff

The following note was found in our Patient Satisfaction Survey/Comment Box.

"To the ladies at the detox station,
From the bottom of my heart THANK YOU.  I have never detoxed before, so I wouldn't really know much about it.  But in my case you gals were awesome!  You were professional yet caring, almost loving.  You can tell that you take your jobs seriously and like it at the same time.  You treated me with dignity and respect, and that's not always easy.  Again thank you for taking such good care of me in my time of need.

With much respect,

Friday, May 13, 2011

Deadline for Nominations!! Spirit of Recovery 2011

The May 16th deadline for Nominations of the 2011 Joseph L. Galletta Spirit of Recovery Award is fast approaching!

Don't miss your opportunity to honor a professional in the field who truly makes a difference in the lives of those struggling with the disease of addiction!

To nominate someone simply follow these steps:
1.  You'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader.
2.  Visit
3.  Download the form.
4.  Fill out the form and email or fax completed form to HVRC or  (951) 925-6337
5.  Please submit your nominations by May 16th, 2011.

The recipient will be honored on Thursday, December 8th, 2011 at HVRC & Sage Retreat's Annual Holiday Luncheon!!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

"If You Believe It, It Seems True"

Thought for the day...

How often have we said, “That’s just the way I am,” or “That’s just the way it is”? Those specific words are really saying that that’s what we believe to be true. Usually, what we believe is only someone else’s opinion that we have incorporated into our belief systems. And, no doubt it fits right in with all the other things we believe.

Do you sometimes get up in the morning, see that it is raining, and say, “Oh, what a lousy day!”? It is not a lousy day. It is only a wet day. If we wear the appropriate clothing, and change our attitude, we can appreciate the value of a rainy day! If it is our belief that rainy days are lousy days, then we will always greet rain with a sinking heart. We will fight the day rather than find its beauty and possibilities.

Each Moment is a New Beginning

The point of power is always in the present moment. You are never stuck. This is where the changes take place, right here, right now in our own minds! It doesn’t matter how long a certain condition or attitude has plagued us, we can make an immediate mental shift when we want to. Remember: You are the only one who thinks in your mind!! No one else has that personal authority. Changing negative or skeptical thoughts to positive thoughts about a certain thing, allows that thing to manifest. When we say, “Oh, what a hectic day, I will never get all this done!”, or “How can I, just one person, make a difference in any patient’s life or opinion of the hospital where I work?” we make a choice about how our day, and how our future will progress. We drain our precious energy reserves! Many people have this habitual thought process, which is like eating food that always makes you sick! Cleaning the “mental house” is a bit like going on a good nutritional program after a lifetime of eating junk foods.

If we are committed to happier relationships with our co-workers, and between departments, to better customer service and patient satisfaction, to our children and families, it all starts with our desire to change. If you want to move to another room, you have to get up and move step by step in that direction. Sitting in your chair and wanting to be in the other room will not work. We have to begin to do the small things that will collectively lead to the solution. What are the “small things” we can do to make our patients feel safer, more cared for, and respected? The “added value” to this is that in doing so, WE feel safer, more cared for, and respected. The “energy” we feel within ourselves is felt by everyone in the environment - it is either “nourishing” or “depleting.”

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spirit of Recovery Award

Joseph L. Galletta, MD
We would like to introduce you to the Joseph L. Galletta “Spirit of Recovery” Award by first introducing you to Dr. Galletta, the award's name sake.

Dr. Joseph L. Galletta, was a man who touched many lives at some point on their road to recovery. He was truly an addiction treatment pioneer. He was one of the first physicians to become certified in the new field of Addiction Medicine in 1983. He helped develop treatment protocols that took the fear and danger out of detoxification and provided a way out of the grips of alcoholism and addiction for countless patients over the years.

As special as Dr. Joseph L. Galletta was, his spirit and dedication to the field of recovery lives on through the work of others. It is these individuals we honor through the Joseph L. Galletta, “Spirit of Recovery” Award. Each year the recipient selected has embodied and demonstrated a dedication to 12 step philosophy, leadership in the recovery field, the encouragement of others, and the promotion of sober lifestyles.

Please check out our new page on our website for more information regarding the "Spirit of Recovery" Award, how to nominate a candidate and the past years winners!

Friday, February 25, 2011

One year of "a day at a time"

Below is a letter from a previous patient that has recently reached a year of sobriety:

I am so humble and grateful.

A time to pause and write my gratitude list for this past year, and living it TODAY.

-I thank God for giving me a moment of clarity to call a sober member of AA, Jim M., for TELLING me to go to Hemet Valley Recovery Center.

-I thank HVRC for being there and having the love and caring people there with an open door, and the willingness and knowledge to go the extra mile.

-I thank ALL the counselors for the love and tough love they gave me.

-I thank, Mark C. Mark, you were an example of the 2nd part of the Serenity prayer- "the courage to change the things you can." You brought me, along with God, to sanity. You were His instrument. You brought me on a path to discover the true root of my problem- a secret resentment.

-I thank Dr. Thu for his professionalism, dedication, and humanism! You listened with compassion, and treated me with respect and love.

-I thank Dr. Paul for listening to me, and hearing me. Our points of view are different, but we still met on common ground!

-I thank all the professional staff on the "medical" staff for the patience above and beyond human possibility at times. You are angels. From the nurses UP TO -the housekeeping staff and all between! You made me comfortable, not with meds, but with you soft, firm, tough caring you all provided day after day. I have a -threefold disease. The physical part was eased and nursed back to health with your help and direction.

-I thank my fellow alcoholics and addicts with me at any point of time. Without you all, I could not have started my recovery! I MISS YOU ALL!

-I thank Attitude of Gratitude group. While I was being dishonest, being without drink, but consuming "solid alcohol", you treated me as an alcoholic and not as an outcast. Without the fellowship of that 10 months, I WOULD HAVE gone over the edge to not return.

-I thank my sponsor, for being the exact person I need in my sobriety. There aren't enough words......

-I thank Alcoholics Anonymous for being there, and providing me with the steps to take to be a sober person in recovery on a daily basis.

-I thank my group, Washington Park. We are a conglomeration of drunks, who try to live sober on a daily basis by sharing our experience, strength and hope with each other, hmmmmm, exactly like the Big Book says.

-I thank the love of my life, my wife, Sharon, my kids, my sister, brothers, family and friends for giving me a chance to demonstrate on a daily basis that as long as I don't drink or drug, I am a good person, doing the right things a day at a time AND forgiving me when my imperfection REALLY shows. For my grandkids, that tell me they love me and call me Papa. My sister and brother-in-law, for living sober and have the wisdom and living with the truth that the only one who could change me, was God and myself. I know how hard it is to watch a train wreck happening from the "sidelines".

This list could be as huge as the gratitude is huge right now. Not material stuff. A healthy spirit, a clear mind, an unburdened body!

I want what you have and am willing to go to any lengths to get it, so I am willing to take certain steps.....One day at a time.

Thank God! Amen

Friday, February 4, 2011

It Works If You Work It!

The below letter was sent to one of our counselors regarding his new found sobriety. It is wonderful to hear from our previous patients!!

How are things going?? Nothing new to report on aa as we are just too isolated. I am continuing to work on things successfully as was proven to me last night. We have a crew on site doing performance testing and they may have damaged 5mill in equipment, I am performing inspections this morning. What I am most happy about is I lost it during the event fell hard into "old habits and actions". As i noticed myself getting madder and madder I just gave direction into what I wonted done at that point, went back to my office listened to some music and thought what a negative effect on life would result from doing what I felt like, drinking.... All the problems would still be their in the morning and I would have let this place allow me to fail in my life yet again. I will not allow this, I cant believe it really works if you let it. I would have never thought yesterday would have happened without drinking to make it better. I really do realize and know it is possible to face adversity with out Jack Daniels and I can think so much clearer today as a result.That was major for me... read another chapter, let it go, and move on... A really bad made better by thinking, instead of drinking... who would have thought... a year ago, 6 months ago, not me. Today I am a beleaver. I'll talk to you soon, I'm flying in on the 15th delayed a week.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Letters of Acknowledgement

One of our counselors received the following note of appreciation from a former client's husband:

Dear T.,

Words cannot express the gratitude I feel for you and your staff at Sage Retreat. You have given me my wife, who was lost in drunkenness all those miserable years. I still find it hard to believe.

When I checked her in, I felt hopeless, even after your assurances that all would be well. My wife only has been home four months, but it's as if she's been reborn - I'm grateful more than I can say!

Blessings to you all!"

We love to hear how our former patients and residents are doing!!