Ogden treatment center celebrates 50 years helping people fight addiction
OGDEN – Brad Shreeve backed out of his father’s driveway and woke up in jail covered in urine, feces and vomit.
The 58 year-old Mountain Green resident had no recollection of what happened in between — that is, until corrections officers told him.
“I guess I started heading out to Harrisville and I blew the red light and started driving down Wall Avenue,” he said. “I cut a guy off and someone called the cops. Then I went down to where the front of the UTA station is and I drove up on the sidewalk and almost hit a guy on his bicycle.”
The cops were called again. Shreeve then cut off a bus and caused a fender bender before driving up on a residential lawn.
“The police report said I was resisting arrest and trying to bite and spit. They put a spit rag on me and put me in jail,” he said. “That’s what it took for me to find God again and find sobriety and the beauty of living again. To think of what could have happened that night just haunts me.”
That incident happened on Nov. 16, 2014. Shreeve said that’s the day he entered rehab at the Alcohol and Chemical Treatment Center at Ogden Regional Medical Center.
Shreeve is telling his story as the ACT Center is celebrating its 50th anniversary. He hopes he can inspire others to seek the help he received so they can make healthy changes to their lives.
“For me, the place is a miracle,” Shreeve said. “I was eating 20 pills a day and drinking a fifth of whiskey at the height of my disease. I should be dead, but God said, ‘OK dude, this is enough,’ even though the devil was saying, ‘I want to kill you.'”
Shreeve said he remembers feeling a euphoric high after being given Paregoric as a child for an illness. The narcotic is a mixture of opium powder and alcohol and has since been discontinued in the United States.
“I remember the feeling of the medicine and it just stayed with me hidden in the back of my mind somewhere,” he said.
By the time he was in high school, Shreeve was partying, but not abusing alcohol or drugs. When he moved away from home, he began drinking more often. After injuring his shoulder on a construction job, he was introduced to prescription narcotics by a coworker and began a journey into addiction that left his drug dealer was concerned.
“I mean, how ironic is that that a hardened drug dealer would tell me he was concerned about me? But nobody in my family knew about the drugs. I was hiding them and then I would buy two bottles of booze and hide one of them. Things just started to unravel and I hated myself,” he said. “I tried to quit on my own but I had horrible withdrawals. The luster for life was gone.”
It was Shreeve’s wife who confronted him after finding one of his hidden bottles of alcohol. Long story short, he finally ended up in jail.
“I was laying there in jail, aspirating and shivering and trying to remember what I said or did the day prior. I didn’t know if I had killed someone. It was hours of indescribable terror for me not knowing what I had done,” he said. “I am so glad I ended up at the ACT. It was a godsend.”
The Sisters of St. Benedict opened the ACT in 1973 at St. Benedict’s Hospital, then located on 30th Street. Now known as Ogden Regional Medical Center, the hospital continued its services after moving to its current location in 1977.
“At the time, alcohol was the biggest substance they were treating, but now things have really changed,” said Justin Hatch, director of behavioral health services at Ogden Regional Medical Center.
The center treats all kinds of substance use disorders, a term that is now used in place of addiction, abuse and alcoholism, Hatch said.
“It’s about stigma,” he said. “In my mind, if I’m an alcoholic, that’s a term that labels me and defines who I am and that’s not healthy for anyone. Substance use disorder is a disease that affects the way the brain is wired. Rehab helps them learn how to think differently and hopefully rewire the brain.”
The center has four different programs: detoxification, residential, partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient treatment. Detox is a safe way for a person to safely get past the first 48-72 hours, which can be life threatening if they try to quit on their own, Hatch said.
The residential center has 12 beds where patients can stay long term to learn coping skills with a counselor. The partial hospitalization program treats the patient 7 days a week, but releases them to go home each evening. The intensive outpatient program treats patients three hours a day, three days a week for eight weeks.
“We also have an alumni program where anyone can come for two years free of charge and meet in group counseling,” Hatch said. “Our goal is to keep people connected. If we can keep them connected to us and others in the program, the long term success and recovery increases.”
Two years after Shreeve entered the treatment program, his son Landon sought help for his own alcohol use disorder.
Things started going downhill for Landon after a break up with his girlfriend. Rather than deal with his emotions, he numbed them with alcohol. The disease ended up costing him his job, several apartments and left him with a public intoxication ticket from a Weber State University basketball game.
“I just didn’t care anymore. I moved into a really bad location and I remember being there before and being creeped out by the basement. I wouldn’t even go down there, but just to show you how much the alcohol made me not care, I ended up moving into that basement and living there,” Landon said.
Even unemployed, Landon still found ways to earn enough money for alcohol and pizza. Then one night, while watching his parents’ home, Landon got drunk and ended up in the emergency department.
“I was cutting a steak and I just started cutting my left shoulder for no reason,” he said. “I had no intentions of stopping right there, but then this guy — I don’t know whether he was an angel or what — but he came into the hospital and suggested I go to rehab. I said OK and the next day I went in and never looked back.”
Father and son both said they are both doing well today.
“I feel really good, really healthy and very optimistic about everything,” Landon said. “Rehab really helped me because they gave me the ability to believe that things will get better and to be grateful and stuff like that. It teaches you to take accountability. You’re never too young to go to rehab. I think everyone should go whether they’re an addict or not.”
Brad said he wants people to know that asking for help or going in for help doesn’t mean you’re weak or stupid or a loser.
“I’ll never be so arrogant to say I’m cured. You’re never cured. It’s a lifelong journey,” he said. “But today, I wake up every morning and thank God for my sobriety and I thank the ACT for helping me in profound ways and now I want to tell my story to others so they will be encouraged to find help as well.”
Hatch said the need for substance use disorder treatment continues to grow. He said the ACT is looking forward to helping more people in the coming 50 years with satellite treatment facilities, more beds and more locations.