Last month Father Joseph Martin, co-founder of Father Martin's Ashley treatment center in Havre de Grace, Maryland, died at age 84 after battling illnesses for several years. Leaders across the behavioral healthcare field are mourning the loss of one of the most recognized promoters of 12-Step recovery but are committed to carrying his legacy and mission forward.
“We can best honor his memory and his commitment to helping people achieve recovery by ensuring that all those with addiction disorders get the care and supports they need,” says Alexa Eggleston, JD, director of public policy for the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare.
To many of his admirers, Father Martin's greatest gift was his ability to convey a serious message about addiction recovery while not taking the messenger too seriously.
“Our challenge will be to share the twinkle, repeat some of his corny stories, and commit ourselves to the serious business of providing treatment to the disease of addiction without taking ourselves too seriously,” notes Ronald J. Hunsicker, DMin, president and CEO of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers. “That would be a tribute to the Father Martin I knew!”
Father Mark Hushen, Ashley's CEO, says Father Martin, who was in recovery from alcoholism himself, had not made the short trip from his home at the treatment center to talk to patients since late last year, but all of the patients know much about him thanks to Father Martin's “Chalk Talk” DVDs and CDs used time and again in Ashley's programs.
“His presence is always here,” Father Mark explains.
Cynthia Moreno Tuohy, NCAC II, CCDC III, SAP, executive director of NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals, says Father Martin's teaching style was a blend of “warm, honestly caring, passionate, and informed.” She adds, “I feel blessed to have met him in person and to catch some of those sparks.”
Father Martin was profiled in the November 2008 issue of Addiction Professional (Behavioral Healthcare's sister publication). Visit http://addictionpro.com/fathermartin1108.
Behavioral Healthcare 2009 April;29(4):10