More than a decade ago, when our beloved son was gripped by the illness of addiction, my husband and I struggled to find him help. We wasted a lot of time going down deep, dark rabbit holes of poor advice that led nowhere.
Through God’s grace, during a very random conversation, we learned about a treatment center. JP eventually landed there and began his journey of recovery.
Truly a miracle.
But what I learned from those rabbit hole years is that you need a trusted network in your fight against this devouring illness.
Through our family’s experience of establishing recovery, I now have the privilege of helping other families. I am so blessed to be able to offer to them, what I didn’t have for my own family years ago: a deep bench of help.
Frank Donatucci is a big part of that deep bench – I think of him as the Coach. He serves as Chief Admissions Officer at Ark Behavioral Health, and day or night, when I ask Frank to counsel a family, he always generously gives his time and wisdom. Frank isn’t about pushing a particular program. He simply shares sound advice based on 15 years of experience in the recovery field.
Frank speaks to families with great compassion about the challenges inherent in the illness of substance use disorder. He knows the struggle is real. He has a huge heart. He listens and offers sound advice based each family’s particular situation – not some cookie cutter remedy.
Frank is a gentle, soft-spoken man who never sugarcoats the cunning, baffling, and powerful adversary of addiction. But like a good coach, he gives families hope that they can achieve the goal of recovery. Frank encourages them to have proactive strategies for dealing with the illness. He is familiar with a vast network of recovery programs and knows how to fit those to a family’s needs.
Time and again, after parents have spoken to Frank, they tell me they have greater peace of mind and greater clarity because of his understanding and his guidance on a solution-based plan. That plan can encompass many things, such as boundary setting at home, his speaking directly to the loved one about their need for help, or arranging treatment.
Like all great coaches, Frank has a mantra that inspires his work: Helping families is what it’s all about.
I have seen firsthand how his dedication to that mantra has saved lives.
Nancy and her son, JP, are co-authors of Unchained: Our Family’s Addiction Mess Is Our Message. Their book tells the true story of JP’s descent into opioid and alcohol addiction and homelessness to recovery to become co-founder of a national treatment healthcare system.