Father Martin's Ashley, the non-profit alcoholism and drug addiction treatment center co-founded by Father Joseph C. Martin and Mae Abraham, is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Ashley's opened its doors to the first five patients in 1983, and since then, more than 35,000 patients have been treated and services have been provided to thousands of family and community members. Today, Ashley is an 85-bed facility and treats patients from around the world.
Since Ashley's early days, new programs and individualized treatment tracks have been added. In 1986, Ashley implemented the first Relapse Treatment Program, and shortly after, a family program and the Rainbow of Hope children and youth program. Later, a young adult track and gender-responsive treatment were added. Most recently, in 2012, they added the Pain Recovery Program; a program for people who suffer from chronic pain and an addiction to their pain medications.
Ashley's president and CEO, Father Mark Hushen, O.S.F.S., addressed gathered staff on Jan. 17, during the Founders' Day luncheon held on campus. He concluded his remarks with: "Your passion and commitment to healing is the life force that today animates the work that we do. Thank you."
Mae Abraham addressed staff after lunch. About why she and Father Martin started Ashley, she said, "I had a son that was 8 years old when I got sober. I know the harm my addiction caused him in his life and I wanted to save everyone I could from going through the same things we had." Video clips of Father Martin's Chalk Talk were shown and long-time staff members shared stories from Ashley's early days.
About seeing Chalk Talk after all these years, Abraham said, "I look at it now and it brings back all the memories - 48 years. I walked out of Chalk Talk in the 1960s like the load of the world had been removed from my shoulders. I finally understood my alcoholism, I swore I would never be ashamed of it again and I'd never let anyone else be ashamed of it."
Father Martin had always said he and Abraham got together "as business people, not to make money, but to help as many people as we possibly could." Later that day, Abraham shared her greatest wish for Ashley's staff, "that you continue to treat patients with dignity and respect, as well as each other."
Father Martin's Ashley is celebrating its 30th year with a number of special events. On Feb. 13, in Baltimore, Jerry Moe, vice president and national director of children's programs at the Betty Ford Center will speak. Visit fathermartinsashley.org/balto for more information. Ashley's Annual Women in Recovery Luncheon is May 16 and the Annual Lou Bantle Golf Classic is Oct. 4. For more information about these events, or to see the entire calendar of events, please visit fathermartinsashley.org/events.