ST. ALBANS — Hal Porter, Melinda Lussier and Jody White, three people with varying years in recovery, shared their life stories with the Messenger this winter, each outlining their unique pathway to recovery.

Now, as professionals in the recovery world, Hal, Melinda and Jody have highlighted the obstacles their clients have to hurdle to find recovery and the challenges they face working in the industry.


“Treatment services are not available for people when they need them,” said Hal, who works as a recovery coach and pathway guide at Turning Point-Franklin County, a recovery center located on Lake Street in St. Albans.

“When the window of opportunity is there, and it can be a small window,” said Melinda, “telling them, ‘Okay. We have a bed for you in about two and a half weeks.’ That doesn’t work.”

“Wait lists are not an option,” agreed Hal, but are a reality. People can wait between one to three weeks for placement in an inpatient program, according to Melinda.

One of the three residential treatment centers in Vermont, Maple Leaf Treatment Center in Underhill, closed indefinitely in February. The facility housed 41 beds or 30 percent of the state’s total.

However, Valley Vista in Bradford, another residential treatment center, hopes to create an additional 20 beds or so at a former nursing home in Vergennes in the coming months.

“There’s even times that Act One is waitlisted,” said Hal. The Howard Center’s Act One Bridge Program is a detox center based in Burlington.

To read the full story, pick up a copy of the Thursday Messenger or subscribe to our digital edition. Part 2 of this story will appear in Saturday’s paper.