Recovering addicts helping Fresno's addicted at CAP

Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Recovering addicts helping Fresno's addicted at CAP
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At Comprehensive Addiction Programs (CAP), more than 90% of the staff are former addicts themselves, and many came through the CAP program.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Comprehensive Addiction Programs - or CAP - provides a place for people struggling with addiction to recover. Nearly all of the staff members have walked in their shoes.

"I'd just like to see everyone get sober, there's no future in drugs," said Dane Dowdell. He's been working at CAP in the maintenance department for 12 years, but before that, he was a client.

"I did every type of drug there was," Dowdell said. "Coming to CAP was the best decision I ever made, ever."

The recovery home is located in southwest Fresno, to the west of Chandler Airport. There are 50 rooms in the residential area, 30 more in sober living and 27 beds in the detox unit, one of the only ones available to Valley residents who need it.

"This is the only detox unit within about, I've been told, about a 100-mile radius," said Joe Hebert, the programs executive director.

He took over the program about a year and a half ago. The home is run out of a motel that was built in the 40s, meaning there are always improvements to be made.

"You get the passion. I was looking or a purpose and be careful what you wish for, I found it," he said with a laugh.

The program itself was launched in 1972 and brings in between 200 and 500 people each year. Hebert guesses about 15-20% of them complete the program, and while that number may seem low, the success can be seen working around the campus.

"The people who do this have a dedication, they have a heart for it, and I've never seen that before in my life," he said.

More than 90% of staff have gone through addiction recovery themselves, many through the CAP program.

"It's important for them in some aspect to know what I'm coming from or going through," said Eric Montez, the operations manager at CAP. As a former addict, he says people come in blaming others, but he hopes the program forces them to start looking inward.

"Bottom line is they need to get to the end of the list and start taking responsibility for themselves."

Meanwhile, Dowdell keeps busy with all the work that comes with keeping up a decades-old campus. After checking in as a client in 2007, he's been sober ever since.

He credits CAP with saving his relationship with his daughter and, ultimately, with saving his life.

The program is funded by contracts made with counties around the valley, but private aid is needed too. They said they could use everything from donations to someone who can help paint.

If you'd like to help, call CAP at 559-264-5096 and ask for Joe Hebert. For more on the program, click here.