Recovered addict turned MA, LMHCA seeks to create spiritual recovery campus for Seattle’s homeless
Alfred White brings a unique perspective to the issue of addiction. In May 2004, with prior drug dealing convictions, and in effort to avoid getting caught again, Mr. White swallowed a quarter of an ounce of crack cocaine in a seedy Bell Town neighborhood of Seattle. Days later he awakened paralyzed in ICU at Harborview Hospital. The crack wreaked havoc with his entire body and nervous system and nearly killed him. As he began to recover, Alfred White discharged himself to Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission. It was there that Alfred embraced Spiritual Recovery at the age of 50, in effort to reverse patterns developed during 38-years of addiction to heroin, crack cocaine, meth and alcohol.
He began studies at Seattle Central Community College that would equip him to work professionally with other addicts in recovery. He graduated with Dean’s List honors in 2006, earning his CDPT (Chemical Dependency Professional Trainee). Alfred White’s remarkable turnaround was featured in a front-page story on the June 15, 2006 issue of Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He would later earn his BA in 2008 At Evergreen State College, while working full-time and passed the state exam to be approved by the State Department of Health to embark upon utilizing his skills as a CDP (Chemical Dependency Professional).
In 2006, Alfred White launched a non-profit named “Seattle’s Recovery Support Center”. He opened an office in a recently purchased five-bedroom home where he provided clean and sober housing for program participants (often based on industry referrals) with the idea that lack of connection and community is the root cause of addiction, not just chemical dependency. His new approach is based on several new studies, including Neuroplasticity and Adverse Childhood Experiences(ACE). Alfred has a high ACE score, in that his father left when he was 18 months old, that among other things, led him down the dark path of drug dealing and hustling by the time he was a teenager.
In 2009, Alfred confined his focus to Schick Shadel Hospital, where he had become the hospital’s Continuing Care Program Manager. That year he earned eight, Innovation & Improvement Awards and won the coveted Patient Care Service of the Year Award for 2009. A year later, Alfred enrolled in the Faith Evangelical Seminary in Tacoma to earn a Master’s Degree in Christian Ministry & Counseling with an emphasis on Mental Health Counseling to become a Licensed Mental Health Clinician Applicant. In 2011, Alfred left Schick Shadel and received a letter of recommendation from the Director of Counseling there. It stated that Alfred had created satellite support groups across the US and successfully held strong, continuous care programs that are still in effect today. The CEO of Schick Shadel gave him credit for helping achieve the highest success rate in clean and sober after-treatments in program history.
During this period, Alfred also served as a motivational speaker presenting to recovery venues, and was featured in the invitation at a fundraiser for Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, as the poster child for drug and alcohol recovery programs throughout the Northwest. Mr. White helped the UGM raise over a million dollars at the 2010 Catalyst Gala.
After he left Schick Shadel, Alfred found a home & a duplex to convert into his SPIRIT OF RECOVERY SUPPORT CENTER (SRSC) complex. Alfred then became the property manager, helping the landlord evict a drug-dealer. Alfred invested $30,000 in repairs to make the converted duplex inhabitable for treatment. Remarkably, from 2013-2016, Mr. White successfully housed and treated over 150 individuals.
In 2016, after this string of success, Alfred received some troubling news. Unbeknownst to him and his team, the $70,000+ in monthly payments that he had made over a 3-year period, had been pocketed by the landlord and the house went into foreclosure. The mortgage company subsequently evicted 14 recovering addicts and Alfred. The County Landlord Liaison couldn’t do anything due to lack of tenant rights for a third-party foreclosure on property being rented from a landlord. Today, this property still sits empty with all of the furnishings Alfred bought to accommodate the men housed there, including washers, dryers, stoves, refrigerators, couches, dining room sets, etc.
An eviction record in Seattle is a death sentence to an already marginalized, recovering addict. Now at 64, Alfred has no choice but to continue moving forward. He found a home on acreage that could potentially accommodate 7 homes for his recovery complex. He is currently residing in the home on the property but can’t begin work until the property is purchased from the current owner. The land is prime real estate and could be sold at any moment if Alfred can’t raise funding in time to buy it in its entirety.
The story of Alfred is one of an extraordinary transformation! He has a proven track-record of helping addicts recover and land on their feet, during the time he ran his clean/sober housing-life-skills based treatment complex. Seattle Recovery is meant to be a Role Model for a Clean/Sober Community environment, with supportive spiritual consulting & life management services on site. He believes housing and community is one of the most important and overlooked aspects of a successful, continued recovery plan.
Seattle Recovery will not be using people but empowering them. It will do so by promoting communication, creating relationships, and teaching respect. This is all done through a safe environment and a housing facility with a strong support system. Alfred will help those who truly need it. Unfortunately, the only option for Alfred at this point, is to seek funding from the public, as well as any investors willing to step-forward, so that he can continue to help those, in desperate need of his assistance.
Dustin C. Berg,
GoFundMe Campaign Link