Indiana, PA - Indiana County


This series appeared in 2014.

Mike Donnelly 01

A message from the publisher ... 

Drug addiction. It is one of the most misunderstood diseases, and that is why it is often referred to as “The Disease of Shame.”

This series, which will appear in your newspapers over the next several Sundays, reflects The Indiana Gazette’s efforts to shine a light on the disease so our readers can have a better understanding of what it truly is.

... click here to read more




"Simply put, addiction is not a choice. Addictive behaviors are a manifestation of the disease, not a cause."


- Dr. Raju Hajela, past president of the
Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine





These are the original twelve steps as published by Alcoholics Anonymous:

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.


4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.











Armstrong-Indiana-Clarion Drug and Alcohol Commission: 10829 Route 422, P.O. Box 238, Shelocta, PA 15774, (724) 354-2746,

ARC Manor, 200 Oak Ave., Kittanning, PA 16201, (724) 548-7607 or 800-323-1333,

The Open Door, The Atrium, 665 Philadelphia St., Indiana, PA 15701, (724) 465-2605, (877) 333-2470, 24-hour crisis hotline,

Community Guidance Center, 793 Old Route 119, Indiana, PA 15701, (724) 465-5576, (877) 333-2470, 24-hour crisis hotline,


Support Groups

Alcoholics Anonymous, Pittsburgh area, (412) 471-7472

Adult Children of Alcoholics, (310) 534-1815

Al-Anon, (888) 4AL-ANON

Alateen, (888) 4AL-ANON

Blairsville Support Group Against Drugs, (724) 549-2679

Family Education Support Group, The Open Door in Indiana County, (724) 465-2605

Indiana Area Celebrate Recovery, (724) 599-6699

Serenity Family Support Group, Armstrong County, (724) 297-3861

Narcotics Anonymous, (888) 251-2426

Nar-anon, (800) 477-6291



The Series

A SOBERING STORY: Perceptions on addiction slow to change A SOBERING STORY: Perceptions on addiction slow to change
160 weeks ago - - HEATHER CARLSON
Druggie. Tweaker. Alky. Junkie. [Read More]
A SOBERING STORY: What to look for in treatment facility
160 weeks ago - - SAM KUSIC
Just as it’s a good idea to do some research before choosing a medical specialist, so it is for selecting a substance abuse treatment facility. [Read More]
A SOBERING STORY: A stark wake-up call A SOBERING STORY: A stark wake-up call
160 weeks ago - - MICHAEL DONNELLY
Over the last two months, this series has exposed our readers to concepts associated with alcoholism and substance abuse. In doing so, we had two primary goals we wanted to achieve. [Read More]
A SOBERING STORY: Planning under way for new facility
160 weeks ago - - SAM KUSIC
A nonprofit organization is looking to convert a former personal care home into a residential drug treatment center. [Read More]
A SOBERING STORY: Other treatment efforts also taking shape
160 weeks ago - - SAM KUSIC
SpiritLife Inc.’s proposed treatment center is only one of several efforts that have sprung up locally in response to the area’s substance abuse problems. [Read More]
Letter to the Editor: Addiction as disease questioned
161 weeks ago -
I have followed the current articles in the Gazette series “A Sobering Story,” which are well-informed on addictions. [Read More]
A Sobering Story: Impact of addiction ripples through families
161 weeks ago - - SAM KUSIC, JULIE MARTIN
Addiction is a disease, but the person suffering from it isn’t the only one who feels its effects, according to Robert J. Ackerman, a former Indiana University of Pennsylvania professor and a nationally recognized addiction specialist. [Read More]
A Sobering Story: Mental illness, addiction often go hand in hand
161 weeks ago - - SAM KUSIC, JULIE MARTIN
Just as the body can suffer from more than one illness at a time, so, too, can the brain. [Read More]
A Sobering Story: Addict grateful for second chance at life
161 weeks ago - - SAM KUSIC
This version of Dan, the one who has a marriage and a job and a motorcycle, has come to realize that there is more to life, that there are second chances. [Read More]
A SOBERING STORY: Support group integral to one addict's recovery
162 weeks ago - - JULIE MARTIN
For Brian, a support group with a specific focus made the difference between heading down a road of self-destruction and finding a pathway to hope. [Read More]
A SOBERING STORY: Support groups offer lifeline
162 weeks ago - - SAM KUSIC
Having support that comes from someone other than a clinician is important to recovery, according to addiction specialists. Oftentimes, people find that support in Alcoholics Anonymous and its off-shoot, Narcotics Anonymous. [Read More]
A SOBERING STORY: Seeking change key to renewal
162 weeks ago - - SAM KUSIC, JULIE MARTIN
Recovery from addiction is, in fact, possible. It’s not easy, and it’s not an overnight process, but it is achievable, according to addiction specialists. [Read More]
Screening Wednesday
162 weeks ago -
The Open Door Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Center and a local support group are screening the feature documentary “The Anonymous People” Wednesday evening at the Indiana Theater. [Read More]
A Sobering Story: Drug court offers a second chance
163 weeks ago - - HEATHER CARLSON
On a recent Thursday at the Indiana County Court House, District Attorney Patrick Dougherty gathered in a courtroom with fellow members of the county’s drug treatment court team and discussed the week’s progress of several offenders in the program. [Read More]
A Sobering Story: Education, enforcement both needed
163 weeks ago - - SAM KUSIC
Some might argue that society’s approach to the drug problem should be to lock up the offenders, users and dealers alike. Others, meanwhile, might argue that the approach should be to cease making drug use an offense at all. [Read More]
A Sobering Story: Most crime tied to drug scourge
163 weeks ago - - HEATHER CARLSON
If he had to put a number on it, roughly 75 percent of people entering Indiana County Jail have, to one degree or another, an issue with drug or alcohol use, said Indiana County District Attorney Patrick Dougherty. [Read More]
A SOBERING STORY: Don't put off conversation with addict, specialists say
164 weeks ago - - SAM KUSIC
Talking to a loved one about his or her addiction is difficult. It requires some compassion when anger may be all that’s left, persistence when failure is all there is to show for it, and tough love when instincts say that it’s wrong to be so harsh. [Read More]
A SOBERING STORY: Preparation is the key to effective intervention
164 weeks ago - - SAM KUSIC
One way to approach addicts about their drinking and drug use — and steer them into treatment — is through a formal intervention. [Read More]
A SOBERING STORY: After family intervention, daughter begins recovery
164 weeks ago - - SAM KUSIC
The signs of their daughter’s addiction were there. But Mary (her name has been changed) and her husband simply didn’t realize what they were seeing. [Read More]
A SOBERING STORY: Family, friends must guard against enabling
165 weeks ago - - SAM KUSIC
When it comes to addiction, good intentions of friends and family are sometimes bad medicine. [Read More]
A SOBERING STORY: 'The drugs become the value'
165 weeks ago - - SAM KUSIC
The behaviors associated with addiction are ugly. [Read More]
A SOBERING STORY: Now sober, teen looks to rebuild his life
165 weeks ago - - SAM KUSIC
Mark’s habit began with a bit of marijuana. It progressed to heavy abuse of alcohol, party drugs and sleep aids. [Read More]
A SOBERING STORY: Some users can mask their problem
165 weeks ago - - SAM KUSIC
Oftentimes, the symptoms of alcohol or substance abuse are obvious. But sometimes, those with a problem are able to conceal it. [Read More]
A Sobering Story: Son's addiction becomes a nightmare for mother
166 weeks ago - - SAM KUSIC
The numbers and statistics, they say something about addiction. They tell us about its prevalence. Or its scope. Or its mechanisms. [Read More]
A Sobering Story: Early substance use increases risks
166 weeks ago - - SAM KUSIC
Genetics are a powerful factor in addiction, but so is the age at which substance use begins. The earlier that point occurs, specialists say, the more likely it is a person will progress to more serious abuse. [Read More]
A Sobering Story: Experts say genetics play key role in addictions A Sobering Story: Experts say genetics play key role in addictions
166 weeks ago - - SAM KUSIC
Addiction isn’t a problem of mind over matter. Really, it’s a matter of the mind. [Read More]
A Sobering Story: Addicts must confront their demons, experts say
167 weeks ago - - SAM KUSIC, JULIE MARTIN
To understand what alcoholism and drug addiction are, it’s necessary to first understand what they aren’t — a character flaw, a moral weakness, or a personal decision on the part of an inherently bad person. [Read More]
Addiction crushes a family, dreams
167 weeks ago - - SAM KUSIC
At some point long in the past, I took to answering middle-of-the-day phone calls from my mother by asking, demanding, actually, “What’s wrong now?” [Read More]
Think you can recognize the face of an addict? Think again
167 weeks ago - - SAM KUSIC
John (his name has been changed), who works in the addiction recovery field, recalled the one time he was talking to a police officer while at work. [Read More]
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