Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Phoenix House Director, Addict-Turned-Advocate, Honored for Helping Others Recover

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Phoenix House Director, Addict-Turned-Advocate, Honored for Helping Others Recover

Article excerpt

Ronnie Colvin's theory is that one addict is best suited to help another overcome a substance abuse disorder.

Colvin has been the executive director of Phoenix House, a residential treatment center in Tuscaloosa, for more than 20 years and went through Phoenix House himself to battle an alcohol and drug addiction.

Colvin has been recognized by the state after years of service in the substance abuse field through Phoenix House, advocacy before the Legislature to obtain more funding for substance abuse and volunteering his time to train peers as lay people to help others with recovery.

The Alabama Department of Mental Health created the McLemore- Colvin Award to honor Colvin and his peer Mike McLemore, director of McLemore Consulting, a drug and alcohol rehab facility in Eva, a town in Morgan County.

"I feel like getting an award from your peers is the greatest recognition you can get," Colvin said. "When you work with clients in a treatment center, you very seldom get thanks, but working with peers ... they're real appreciative."

Pam Butler, coordinator of recovery resources for the Alabama Department of Mental Health, said Colvin has set the example for other workers, advocates and volunteers in the substance abuse field.

"We created this award because Mike and Ronnie have done so much. They received the award because substance abuse is one of those diseases (where) people do the bare minimum. Ronnie and Mike have never let up," Butler said.

Colvin began his journey about 30 years ago. He received treatment for substance abuse and was placed in recovery at Phoenix House.

He became a certified drug counselor in 1985 and again in 1994 before becoming the executive director of Phoenix House.

Phoenix House serves 40 recovering addicts at a time, providing them a place to stay so they don't return to a "user" environment, and rent is based on income, which includes three meals a day and transportation to and from work and appointments for up to three months. …

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