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Healthwatch 16: Addiction recovery

A recovery specialist at Geisinger Medical Center is sharing a personal story, hoping to make it easier for others to get help.

DANVILLE, Pa. — When someone ends up at Geisinger Medical Center, and it's determined that substance abuse may have played a role, one of the first faces they might see is Franca Dalibor's.

"I'm now getting referrals from residents, doctors, nurses, anyone who has seen someone who could use peer support," said Dalibor, a certified recovery specialist for Geisinger.

Dalibor says since coronavirus became a household word, heroin and fentanyl use is up, and alcohol use is way up. In her words, people are drinking themselves to death. She wants people to know not only is she there to help, but she's already been through it herself.

"I just want to let them know that I'm a person in long-term recovery. I've experienced where they're at. We have some things in common; let them know there's a friend."

Dalibor is open about her 13-year addiction to alcohol and drugs, which started when she was in high school. She's been sick, through hospitalizations, and she's been in trouble with the law.

A court-appointed addiction counselor eventually helped her see things in a different way.

"I was like, 'Oh, my gosh! This is what's wrong with me.' All those endless nights on the dock in Florida journaling, trying to figure out how I keep ending up here, it all clicked. It made sense."

Dalibor uses that knowledge to help others who may find themselves in an all too similar position.

"When I stopped putting substances in my body —alcohol and drugs —after about six months, my perception of how I viewed life began to change. I now understand my brain was healing."

Dalibor says Geisinger has a number of different addiction treatments at different locations, even using telemedicine if necessary. If you need help, addiction counselors are ready for you.