From Addict to Advocate
February 20, 2018
In August 2014, Tony Gamm was arrested and charged with multiple counts of theft and possession of a controlled substance. The pharmacist had been stealing OxyContin from his employer since October 2013.
By November 2014, Tony had already weaned himself off his medication and been clean for three months. He came to the Indiana University Health Behavioral Care Center as a part of his mandated recovery program. He didn’t know what he was getting into when he called Jim Ryser, the program manager for pain services, but sensed his enthusiasm to help.
“He found ways to connect with me,” Tony said. “He’s a recovering addict so we speak the same language. He took me under his wing.”
The program at IU Health Methodist Hospital offers outpatient therapy to recovering drug, alcohol, and gambling addicts, including physical and group therapy sessions. Tony found fellowship, compassion and a sense of humility through his recovery program.
“This program saved my life, plain and simple,” Tony said. “It made me realize that I’m not alone.”
Now, almost a year after being arrested, Tony is sober and working as a volunteer in the unit where he was once a patient. He leads two Alcoholics Anonymous meetings a week and works behind the check-in desk. Tony hopes to go back to school and become a counselor.
“I know myself better,” Tony said. “I know who Tony is. It’s the Tony I’ve always wanted to be.”
Nearly a quarter of Americans experience a behavioral health condition in any given year, and detoxification, group therapy, aftercare, adolescent intensive outpatient, family program and programs for chronic pain management are in increasing demand. Your donation to IU Health Behavioral Care Center helps ensure there are no gaps in our ability to meet this need. Watch this video of Jim Ryser's personal story about overcoming addiction.