|(L-R): HHC Board Member Josephine Bolus, CAB Chairperson Leon Crooks, Director Theodore K. Jackson, Deputy Executive Director Pierre Arty, Senior Vice President Jean G. Leon, Council Member Hon. Letitia James, HHC President Alan D. Aviles, Counselor James Scott
Leon Crooks remembers when he was at his lowest point. The high school dropout’s bouts with alcohol had led him from one job to another. The future was unclear and things weren’t getting any better. It was time for a change. With hesitation, Crooks walked through the doors of the Kings County Hospital Bedford Stuyvesant Alcohol Treatment Center.
Seventeen years later, the 51-year-old Crooks has not touched a drink since and today is Chairman of the Center’s Community Advisory Board. Crooks is one of 18,000 patients who have been treated at the center during the past 34 years. He credits his success to the center’s supportive staff and structured programs. When the center’s newly renovated $2.7 million facility opened in December, he was on hand to share his inspiring story.
“Individual and group counseling helped us to build trust, set goals and have a sense of direction,” Crooks said. “They showed us how to build a support network with other recovering people. In groups, we learned to work as a team, which made us a like a family.”
The center’s vocational program also gave Crooks essential job training and placement and in time, he completed his GED, bachelor’s and even master’s degrees. Crooks followed a professional career in the same field that helped him—social services.
After patients complete the intensive residential treatment program, an outpatient after-care program provides follow-up care. A full medical unit also treats hypertension, diabetes and other secondary diseases that often co-exist with alcohol and chemical dependency, but are sometimes overlooked.
Theodore Jackson, Program Director at the Center, said the new renovation will improve patient rehabilitation, especially for residents coming from shelters and the prison system.
“A fresh new environment is very helpful for treatment, especially for patients who have been institutionalized,” said Jackson. “The new surroundings give them hope and a new, more positive outlook.”
Alcoholism and chemical dependency are serious, life-threatening diseases that can be managed with appropriate treatment. HHC is committed to helping patients conquer alcoholism and chemical dependency. The Kings County Hospital Bedford-Stuyvesant Alcohol Treatment Center is one of more than 20 HHC programs that treat chemical dependency.