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Last updateSat, 19 Jan 2019 12am







    Saturday, January 19, 2019-3:26:50P.M.






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HOPE: For our community, for our people

(Office of the Governor) — For case managers Taylor Ada, Alvin Tagabuel, and Becky Mettao, the work they do for the new Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation program is more than just a profession.

Under the Hinemlu O’hala Para Enteramenti or HOPE Recovery Center, the young trio share obstacles and triumphs within the program’s therapeutic process and how it transcends a standard 7:30 to 4:30 job.

“One day at a time comes to mind when I think of addiction recovery. Every single day is another chance at life, and another chance to make things better,” Ada says.

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From left, Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation case managers Becky Mettao, Alvin Tagabuel, and Taylor Ada.From left, Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation case managers Becky Mettao, Alvin Tagabuel, and Taylor Ada.

Addiction recovery isn’t all about learning how to stop the addiction of substances, she adds, “it’s learning how to cope and manage so you can get through your everyday life and know that it’s easier to not use or go back down that road.”

Tagabuel shares that as a case manager, the journey is also one of self-evaluation.

“Working with our participants has opened me up to see their struggles from their perspective, and it has made me change a lot of my opinions about addiction. This journey has opened me up to a whole new outlook on how to help those who are struggling with addiction,” Tagabuel says.

Metaphorically, he notes, being that the recovery center is still a new program, there are a lot of bumps in the road.

“It is not an easy task to start something that has never been done in our community, but with the help and guidance of those above me, I am steadily progressing forward on this journey to make our community a better place for our children,” he added.

In her capacity, Mettao expresses that just like any other journey in life, time is of the essence.

“Just like any other journey in life — this takes time and requires effort. The one thing that keeps me going is truly the journey that our clients are on,” she says.

Being able to see the changes that clients go through, Mettao says, the casework has been really heartwarming as changes happen within the families as well.

“Patience is very important because we need to be able to work with time rather than against it. As part of the commonwealth’s first rehabilitation center, things will take time and we will encounter more changes than expected. As long as we keep our mind on the goal, all the accomplishments and hardships become worth it.”

Working with clients from a variety of backgrounds for the past six months, Ada adds that recovery work is invaluable.

“This program is ours… for our community and our people… We’ve already seen change in our participants in such a short time which is truly amazing. Although we’ve been there to help, all the work and progress has been done by them,” she says.

Reiterating the sentiments of Reuben Chong, the center’s certified substance abuse counselor and license clinical social worker, Ada notes that the true success of treatment begins with full utilization beyond the center.

Ada states that “we’re never going through the battle alone and when we’re ready, there are people who are willing to help and fight with you.”

“Our lead clinician likes to say that our goal is to work ourselves out of a job, it is the ultimate hope that there may come a time where those affected by addiction have all been helped and no longer are in need of our services,” Tagabuel says.

Realistically, Mettao adds that there is hope and clients can continue to see success.

“We are a very new program but there are beautiful changes already taking place. What I hope for the community is for them to continue to have hope.”

Recalling a story focused on resiliency, Ada says that change must come from within.

“If you want change, you have to make it happen. It is not easy, but life is so precious and has so much to offer…when you’re ready to be honest with yourself and those around you and are ready for change, help is available,” she says.

Mettao emphasized that a community struggling with addiction needs to be proactive.

“If you know someone who is struggling with addiction, do something about it. Show them some tough love by providing pamphlets or contact numbers of available services so that they’re aware, push them to get help, transport them if need be – do whatever you need to do get them to take the first step in their road to recovery,” she said.

Tagabuel recounts that with all these experiences as a young caseworker, the work is a very humbling experience.

“I get to see the program develop and see it improve the quality of life in our little community. I think of a person who is struggling internally and it’s a struggle between applying the skills for recovery against the old habits that the addict is trying to get away from,” he says.

The trio exclaims that this struggle is not something that will go away overnight.

“It is lifelong,” Tagabuel says, “But I am positive that with the right treatment and support, a person can stay sober for a long period of time.”

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Hinemlu O’hala Para Enteramenti or HOPE Recovery Center.  Office of the Governor photosHinemlu O’hala Para Enteramenti or HOPE Recovery Center. Office of the Governor photos

Tagabuel expressed that participants who come to the center willing to take the initial step for recovery are stronger than they realize.

“You are not alone. Whatever your struggle is, there are people out there that are going through the same thing and have figured out ways to find healing. Yes, you would have to take the initiative to go out there and seek out the help, but once you get through that process and start getting the help that you need, then you will start to heal yourself.”

At the end of the day, Ada reiterated that full recovery relies on the strength of the community.

“This center is truly a great investment for the CNMI,” she says, optimistic that our community will continue to move forward with recovery and help those who are truly in need.

Gov. Ralph D.L.G. Torres shares the trio’s sentiment and passion for the program, noting that the work towards recovery is a labor of love.

“It’s young people like Taylor, Alvin, and Becky that help move this essential program forward in order to achieve its critical mission. We as a community must continue to support our loved ones afflicted by substance and alcohol abuse. If you know anyone who needs help, please refer them to the drug court and this program. We are here to help our people keep that hope towards a better life for themselves and their loved ones,” Governor Torres added.

Special Assistant for Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation Yvette Sablan adds that all services are free and the center holds excellent staff dedicated to the recovery of each and every one of our participants.

The HOPE recovery center is staffed 24 hours a day and has recently completed four more three-bedroom buildings for safe and sober living with participants from the general public.

For more information or help, please call 323-7277/78.