Holmquist to speak about addiction

Free presentation explains, explores alcoholism, drug abuse

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— From the depths of a dangerous drug or alcohol addiction, Fred Holmquist sees hope.

"There's the opportunity to primarily assess if you're an alcoholic and take the first step of getting the information on the basics of addiction, acknowledging and understanding the truth of the issues," Holmquist said.

Triggered by his recovery from alcoholism 30 years ago, Holmquist spent years counseling addicts at Hazelden, a non-profit Minnesota organization that has grown into one of the world's largest private drug and alcohol rehabilitation treatment centers.

Alumni of the Hazelden pro------grams in Steam--boat Springs invited Holmquist, who now serves as director of the renowned Lodge Program at Hazelden, to speak at an upcoming presentation about addiction.

The free event is at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Yampa Valley Medical Center, Conference Room 2.

"I hope to have a diverse audience -- people with problems or in recovery, curious residents, anyone concerned about addiction," Holmquist said. "We're going to talk about what addiction is at its most simple level, in terms of general life principles. It's not difficult to understand, but it's difficult to have and to try and live with."

Scheduled to run until 9 p.m., the event also will feature information from community members and organizations about local resources, including literature and confidential contact information about the following Steamboat Springs' organizations: Al-Anon Family Groups, Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

"Alcohol is America's drug of choice," Holmquist said. "What's helpful is when there's a strong culture of local recovery support."

Local support groups are helping coordinate the event.

"For every addict, there's four people affected by it," said Bill F. of Steamboat Springs Al-Anon Family Groups public outreach spokesperson, who wished to protect his anonymity. "People should know there's a place in town they can go, without religious or political affiliations and address these core problems for free."

Al-Anon is a worldwide non-profit organization that provides mutual support meetings for families and friends of those struggling with drug and alcohol problems. Steamboat's Al-Anon Family Groups have six anonymous and confidential meetings a week. See www.steamboatalanon.org for more information.

-- To reach Dave Shively, call 846-1129

or email dshively@steamboatpilot.com

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