The organization’s mission is to educate families about drug addiction, codependency and recovery.
DENVER – Drug addiction is a disease that affects more than the addict. This can take a toll on all those close to the person who is trying to cope.
Kevin Petersen is a family and mental health therapist and the founder of the Chronic Hope Institute.
The institute focuses on educating families about substance abuse, codependency, and recovery in order to hopefully create bigger changes in the future.
Petersen’s journey to help others began with his own rocky past.
âI grew up in a drug addiction home,â Petersen said. âWe had a big, beautiful house and all the accessories for a nice lifestyle, but we also had a big secret. Mom was a prescription drug addict â.
He says his family hid the truth, but keeping the family secret hasn’t stopped the addiction from spreading.
âWhen I was thirteen, I started experimenting with drugs,â Petersen said.
He passed high school but failed college and lied to his family about it, even giving them a fake diploma.
A conversation with his father in 1990 is a conversation he will never be able to forget.
âKevin, you are my only son and I love you, but I don’t believe a word of your mouth, I think you are a liar, a cheater and a thief,â Peterson recalls as his father said. re a drug addict and alcoholic. I am convinced that you did not graduate from college and we have decided that you are no longer welcome in the family until you resolve these issues. ”
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He started seeing a therapist who suggested he follow a 12-step program.
âMy therapist told me, ‘I think you’re an alcoholic and drug addict and you need help or you’re going to die,’â Peterson said. “My sobriety date is May 5, 1991. I’ve always been sober and just turned 30.”
He went back and finished his college education and got a master’s degree in family counseling. In 2014, Peterson lost his mother to long-term prescription drug use.
In the same year he started Petersen Family Counseling and in 2020 he started the Chronic Hope Institute with a mission to help the family with the addict.
âIt’s traumatic to have someone trying to kill themselves with drugs and alcohol and the family feels like there is nothing they can do about it,â Petersen said. “You are not responsible for this person’s addiction, but you are responsible for how you react to it.”
The work he and his team of professionals do at the Chronic Hope Institute falls into three categories. The first is to go into treatment, and then during treatment he engages with the family, working to change the family system.
âThen the third is reinstatement and seeing how everyone is doing,â said Petersen.
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Petersen believes that counseling, coupled with case management and coupled with training and education, will not only help the addict, but also restore family and de-stigmatize mental health and addiction.
âIt’s okay to have a problem, but let’s go help you, get some help, and fix the whole system,â Petersen said.
Chronic Hope Institute offers online videos and podcast which are free to the public.
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