MARTINSVILLE — A few years ago, Michael Banham had a great job in education, two degrees, and a doctorate in the works.
"Before this thing took hold I was...people would probably have the perception I was quite successful,” Banham said.
But then his substance abuse took over.
“Addiction trumps everything. So it was opiates, speed, cocaine, a little bit of alcohol,” Banham added.
His struggle with addiction spans more than a decade and had a major impact on his life. His marriage suffered and he was convicted for dealing narcotics.
Prior to the pandemic, Banham started to get ahold on the problem, but when COVID-19 took over, so did his addiction.
"I was desperate. I was fearful. I was isolated, lonely being in the pandemic. I was self-loathing. I was all those things that led me to a slow path to suicide that I didn't want to be on anymore,” Banham explained.
He decided to seek treatment in May of 2020 and contacted Recover Works, a Pinnacle Treatment Center in Merrillville. Unfortunately, the facility had a 10 to 14 day wait list and Banham felt he should not wait. When he voiced his concern, the staff made arrangements for him at their facility in Cambridge City. He started his recovery two days later.
The wait lists at recovery facilities and the lack of services in communities compared to the growing need exacerbated by the pandemic are issues Joe Pritchard, CEO of Pinnacle Treatment Centers, is aware of.
"What we're also finding because of COVID-19 is that in 46 of the 50 states there has been an increase in overdoses and a combination of mental health issues that we're going to continue to deal with,” Pritchard said.
Which is why the company broke ground on a new treatment center in Martinsville this week. They chose this city with good reason.
"We're not in major urban areas, we're in pockets of the state where there is great need and limited services. Martinsville was one of the areas that the state identified as an area of need,” Pritchard said.
When the treatment center opens there will be 64 beds in the residential program and 30 to 40 beds in the transitional program. They will also be providing out-patient services.
The goal is to help more people like Banham, who, after 65 days in recovery made some positive changes. He has since moved from Gary to West Lafayette, gotten a job, and is spending time with his daughter. He also has another little girl on the way. Banham will have maintained sobriety for one year on May 18.
"It's taken me 12 years to get here, but now I have it," he said.
Once he’s more settled in, he plans to finish his doctorate degree.