“The overall vision for Samadhi is a harm-reduction-based inpatient program, detox, and outreach center. We’re starting with the outreach center,” says McNamara, a Zen practitioner who’s been working in the addiction field for a decade and teaches mindful recovery tactics at two rehabs and a halfway house. “Four years ago, my son’s best friend overdosed. We knew he had been using, but it hit hard. I started going to meetings at Bread Alone, helped start Woodstock’s PAARI (Police Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiative) program. I felt the need to do more.” Working on a documentary about the subject, McNamara became aware that there are treatment options that are only available to people who can pay $300-500 an hour.
He believes that harm-reduction strategies, which differ from the 12-step model in that complete lifelong abstinence is not considered the sole solution, can offer hope, help, and a better life to many who might otherwise go without treatment. “This has grown out of my own experience,” he says. “I started with 12-step recovery and followed the rules, and knew early on that this wasn’t going to do it for the rest of my life. I wouldn’t have been happy, so I started on my own journey.”
Offering other pathways that build on mindfulness, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and trauma-informed therapies is not intended as a critique of AA or NA, but as an expansion of the tool kit. “I was just talking to someone yesterday who said she’s not ready to quit, but wants to taper down,” he says. “She asked if I knew of a meeting she could go to that would help. Well, people who are abstinent don’t want to be around people who are still using; Refuge recovery, or 8-step, and trauma-based groups are very different.”
- Robert Hansen-Sturm
- The Samadhi team (left to right): Bryant “Drew” Andrews, Tara Sanders, David McNamara, Meghan Hetfield, Stacey Nodelman
McNamara does not affiliate with one particular group, but wants to provide as many bona fide treatment modalities as possible. “Through the film, I made friends with a lot of terrific trauma specialists,” he says. “Statistically, 80 percent of the people who present with addiction have some type of trauma, but a lot of the best treatment is not covered by Medicaid or insurance. I asked my friends if they could give three to five hours a month, and we now have a team of nine trauma therapists involved. We’ll be inviting people from SMART Recovery to run DBT-based meetings. We want to offer multiple pathways to the goal of a healthy, centered life.”
You can support all of this by just heading up to Colony and enjoying a fantastic night out. Local great Simi Stone and critically acclaimed band Two Dark Birds will perform. Comedian Julie Novak of the TMI Project will MC, Julie Jakolat will DJ, and Bryant “Drew” Andrews, Executive Director of Kingston’s Center for Creative Education, will keep the crowd stirred for dancing. Tara Sanders of Exhale to Inhale will speak about the trauma-informed yoga work she will bring to Samadhi. Last but not least, there will be live and silent auctions featuring products and services offered by local stores and practitioners.
The event takes place from 6-9pm on Sunday, January 27; tickets are $25 in advance and $35 at the door.