What Pathfinders Is
Pathfinders offers alcoholic men a new life of sobriety through a supportive environment and the guidance of others in recovery, a program known as social-model recovery. Pathfinders is founded in the philosophy and principles of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
Why Pathfinders Is Needed: The Costs of Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a non-curable, and eventually terminal, disease if it is not treated—and the only known “treatment” is abstinence.
In addition to the physical and emotional toll taken on the alcoholic, the disease has disruptive, and often tragic, consequences for the alcoholic’s family, friends, co-workers and employer.
Society, too, pays a steep cost for alcoholism and its effects:
A 2002 study by the County of San Diego put the local cost of alcohol and drug use at $3.8 billion a year—including the obvious cost of medical treatment and law enforcement and lesser-known consequences such as the premature death of a family breadwinner.
Nationwide, the cost of alcoholism and drug addiction has been estimated at about $500 billion a year.
Who Pathfinders Helps
Pathfinders currently serves 40 men in three large residences in the Golden Hill area, near downtown San Diego. Men in the program come from all walks of life, although many are unemployed when they enter recovery. The single most important requirement for admittance to Pathfinders is willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own recovery. More than 5,000 men have participated in Pathfinders since the program began in 1950.
How Pathfinders Works
Pathfinders has long been recognized by county and state officials as a pioneer in social-model recovery. It is a program that relies on self-motivation and peer support. Unlike medical-based programs, which use trained therapists, social-model presumes alcoholics can best understand their problems by closely associating with others in recovery, and Pathfinders’ homes are staffed by men who themselves are in long-term recovery from alcoholism.
The staff is dedicated to helping each resident return to society as a productive, self-supporting individual. Residents attend daily AA meetings and are expected to contribute to the cost of their stay. They volunteer for the many community-support projects in which Pathfinders participates and for which it receives widespread recognition.
Residents typically spend from three to nine months in the recovery home. If, at any time, a resident drinks or uses illegal drugs, he is evicted and will not be readmitted.
Applications are accepted Monday through Friday 9 A.M. – 11 A.M. except holidays and the first two and last two business days of each month.
Shelter Plus Care
The Pathfinders recovery program in recent years has been expanded to include a special group of alcoholic men. The Shelter Plus Care program serves homeless alcoholics with a dual diagnosis of substance abuse and mental illness. This population is considered by health officials as one of the most under-served groups of homeless people in the nation.