Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic to Mark 50 Years of Service

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012
As we enter the New Year, it is important for all of us to assess our past, learning from our previous experiences, while still continuing to prepare for the future. Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic (PHMA), in particular, finds itself filled with fond memories of the past and hopeful aspirations as it nears its 50th Anniversary Celebration, scheduled for September of this year. From its humble beginnings in 1962 in the basement of Walker Chapel Church (pictured below) to its recent affiliation with the Phoenix House Foundation, PHMA has maintained its primary focus: Providing comprehensive, client-centered, quality treatment to individuals struggling with addiction—first, as Alcoholic Rehabilitation, Inc., then as Vanguard Services Unlimited, and now as a part of the Phoenix House family.

Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic has served over 30,000 individuals since that first meeting convened in the church basement in 1962.

Walker Chapel Church

Walker Chapel Church: Where Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic began in 1962.

These alumni remain an integral part of our organization, providing inspiration to each other, our current clients, our staff, and the community, in general. One of our alumni, Valorie, shares her poignant story of recovery below:

My name is Valorie and my story is not unlike that of many other people suffering from substance abuse or addiction, but what does separate me is that when I sunk to my very lowest, I had a caring adult who offered me help.  I promptly accepted that help which came in the form of the Demeter House which provides quality services and care for adult women seeking substance abuse and mental health services.

Ten years ago I was sitting on top of the world looking forward to a full life when I embarked on a gradual stroll downward.  I began taking Percocet but thought I was still in control and balancing my family, life and work.  I was in total denial and didn’t realize that my existence was being controlled by my ability to get my prescriptions.  I used every excuse in the book…my back hurts; my foot hurts all the while not realizing that I was becoming an addict. 

 I allowed myself to lie, cheat and steal my way out of all the things that mattered. I lost my job, my son left and wouldn’t talk to me, my mother suffered and my personal self worth was non-existent.  I had jumped into a bottomless pit and didn’t know what to do, even as I was being hauled off to jail in handcuffs.  I had lost EVERYTHING!

Sitting there powerless, I asked myself, “Where do I go from here?” Then I saw a glimmer of hope and a chance to crawl out of the horrible hole I created for myself…I found the Demeter House.

My journey out from the darkness has been monumental and life-saving.  My recovery from addiction is about my attitude, motivation, belief and expectations.  None of this would have come to fruition without help from Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic.

To any alumni wishing to connect with the Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic organization again, please contact Derick Malis, Alumni Association Director, at or call 1 888 671 9392. As our Senior Vice President and Regional Director, Debby Taylor, states: In 2012, Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic finds itself celebrating the past, while building the future.

We hope you can join us in our continued transformation!

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