Author lends her voice to teen recovery effort in Oklahoma

Koren Zailckas speaks at Oklahoma City benefit about blacking out as a teen and her long road to recovery from alcoholism.
BY ASHLEY GIBSON Published: October 9, 2013
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“Therapy helped me to get to the root of some childhood issues and begin to heal. Recovering is a lifelong process, and it's a gift. Hardships can open up new opportunities, and programs like these are so great because they give teens a place to get started.”

Teen Recovery Solutions officials also presented attorney Reggie Whitten with the “Dare to Believe” award. Whitten is founder of Fighting Addiction Through Education.

FATE is a nonprofit organization with a mission to educate the public on alcohol and substance abuse and reduce addiction rates in Oklahoma. The organization also has a special focus on teens.

Whitten spearheaded the organization in memory of his son, Brandon, who was addicted to prescription drugs and alcohol, and died at age 25 in a motorcycle accident caused by substance abuse.

Janet Oden, executive director of Teen Recovery Solutions, said she hopes people are inspired by both Zailckas' and Whitten's stories.

“In the three and a half years that I have worked for this wonderful organization, I have seen teens reclaim their future, integrity and hope,” Oden said. “I have seen families reunited and the wounds of the disease of chemical abuse healed in the process of recovery. I have seen joy returned and success achieved.

“We want people to know that there is hope and that there are solutions to the disease of chemical abuse and addiction. It's important for people to know that together as a community we can make a powerful difference in the lives of teens. Research shows us that the recovery rate for teens without support is 15 percent, but with a recovery group and supportive high school, the recovery rate is 85 to 90 percent long term. Our teens are our greatest resource, and they are worth fighting for.”

For more information about Teen Recovery Solutions, visit www.teenrecoverysolutions.org.