Regina Toomey, a senior associate vice provost in marketing and communications, knows the heartbreak of witnessing the destruction caused by alcoholism and substance abuse. The issue arose in her family, but thanks to the intervention of Horizon Health Services, it’s a story with a happy ending.
Horizon Health Services provides comprehensive care for people with mental health or substance abuse issues.
“They saved a life,” said Toomey. “That’s the kind of help they provided.”
Though Toomey wants to protect her family member’s privacy she also knows the importance of sharing this story.
“To have a family member go from addiction to becoming a productive member of society with an education, a job, a healthy outlook on life and a reconstituted relationship with their family is nothing short of amazing,” said Toomey.
Though Horizon provides a full range of services, Toomey is especially grateful for the organization’s residential treatment facility.
“That setting allowed us to understand recovery as a life-long commitment,” said Toomey. “We learned how to respond to the person recovering and how to provide the support needed to rebuild a life and a family.”
But Toomey discovered through her involvement, which includes attending and speaking at advocacy meetings, that organizations like Horizons, do not have unlimited resources. Residential facilities have to place people on waiting lists for treatment. Some die waiting for help.
“That’s why it’s so important to discuss these issues and why I want to tell my story,” said Toomey. “We need to donate to these organizations so that support is available when needed – and one day, as my family found out, you may learn that it’s your family needing support.”
Toomey says working at the university, surrounded by people committed to bettering themselves and helping others succeed, reminds her of similar obligations outside of the UB community. She wants people to know recovery is possible, and that waiting for help only prolongs the suffering.
“I’m filled with joy looking at someone today who is happy and productive,” she said. “That’s a vision I didn’t have before we connected with Horizons.”