Scott Coffman was typical of many young men in 1980. He had long hair, rode a Harley, and was into having a good time and partying with friends. He also started having trouble with the law. Things suddenly changed for Scott when his back was broken in an industrial accident. He spent 19 days in the hospital. After his release, he found himself dependent on his pain medication as well as other substances.
Scott moved to Kentucky with the intent to start fresh. He wanted to get away from his lifestyle, drugs, and trouble with the law. The move was good for him until he discovered that he was becoming just as dependent on alcohol as he had been on drugs.
It’s not that Scott didn't try to get clean. Numerous times there was effort, success, and then a lapse. Eventually Scott started thinking there was no way out for him, that “this is just how I am.” After moving back to Dayton, the troubles with the law got worse. Scott was in the chemical dependency program when the court sentenced him to six months in the Workhouse. After seven days in the Workhouse, a judge moved Scott to a minimum-security reform home, with the threat that he could always be put back in the Workhouse.
The six months that followed were instrumental in initiating a dramatic change in Scott. Part of the agreement was that he attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and enroll in Miami Valley Hospital's (MVH) chemical dependency program that would become known as Turning Point. But all didn't start perfectly. Those who were in charge of Scott’s care found him to be unsettled, opinionated, and in denial that he really needed help. After all, this was his problem. How could anyone else tell him how to fix it, or even determine that it needed fixing?
Scott credits those overseeing his care as developing a well-choreographed recovery program for him. Knowing that he loved nothing better than riding his Harley, they arranged for him to get his license back. And he was given rights to ride his motorcycle, but only to AA meetings, the aftercare group at Turning Point, and to his community service. This seemed to be the key incentive Scott needed. His caregivers were willing to give some, so he became more willing to give and ultimately trust. Eventually the relationship went from “them and me” to “us.” Sure there were setbacks, but Scott got clean. He had done what he swore he couldn't do when he was at the bottom.
Recovery is not a cure. Every day for those like Scott, there's the opportunity to give up the fight and retreat to old habits. Eventually Scott realized that he may have something to give those who needed help. That included a personal experience and a personal success. Scott enrolled at Sinclair Community College and received his Associate Degree in Mental Health Technology. And as fate would have it, he was offered a job at MVH in Turning Point, the same program that he had been enrolled in.
Turning Point is known for its high success rate. Part of the reason for the program’s success is the commitment from its staff. It's that same attitude that Scott saw as a patient: we won't give up on you. Patients can slip back into their old habits, but many come back to Turning Point to try again and finally succeed. The staff members at Turning Point are sometimes the only people in a patient's life who believe in them, and this makes a difference. For many patients, knowing there's someone who won't give up on them fuels the motivation to not give up. Scott is happy to share his story, but doesn’t initially tell patients he was once enrolled in the program. Many eventually figure out he once faced the same issues they face and is living proof that Turning Point can work for them too.
It's been over 25 years since Scott was enrolled in Turning Point. Since then he's gone on to get a Bachelor's Degree at Antioch College and a Master's Degree at the University of Dayton. Scott is currently working on his Master of Management at Antioch University McGregor in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Scott is also licensed as both an Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor and a Professional Clinical Counselor. He was recently promoted to Program Manager of Behavioral Services, which includes Psychiatric Outpatient Services, Dual Diagnosis Services, and Turning Point.
There's quite a difference in the Scott of 1980 and the Scott of today. He's been a happily married family man for 15 years and has been at the same job for almost 25 years. When you compare the partying, long-haired motorcyclist to the clean cut, professional Scott of today, he admits that he’s “become the square I never wanted to be.” But Scott is fine with that.