Kicking Opioids

Cicero clinic offers alternative to traditional addiction treatment

By Stephanie Carlson Miller

As parents, we teach our children to fly out of the nest with unconditional love and visions of an amazing future, but the road ahead is unpredictable and sometimes is not what anyone expects. Aristotle Pappas’ tragic death from an overdose of prescription painkillers gave birth to an innovative life-saving business offering addicts a light of hope where there is darkness and despair. In the midst of his anguish, Ari’s father, Joe Pappas, searched for answers. “When I lost Ari, it became blatantly obvious to me that whatever treatment options we have available right now are not working, he says. “I didn’t intend to start a business. I just wanted to help people.”

Ari, a likable, energetic young man and stand-out athlete at Bishop Chatard High School in Indianapolis went on to join the football team at Ball State University, but broke his hand during his freshman year, which ended his football career. At that time, Ari’s physician prescribed Oxycodone to relieve the pain of his injury. Over time, Ari’s father and family realized there was something wrong, noticed a change in his behavior, but never expected an addiction that would lead to his death at the age of 24.

“I’m not sure he ever got over how those opioids made him feel. Once you’re hooked on a drug, the scariest thing to do is think of coming off of it,” Pappas says. “In my research, I stumbled across NAD therapy. Working with a couple of doctors, we read, we studied, we talked and we finally got Dr. John Humiston, in San Diego, on the phone. We could not believe what he was telling us about the amazing results they were getting using NAD infusions.”

A Last Resort

The NAD protocol, founded by Dr. Humiston, is an alternative solution to mainstream medicine that helps restore damaged brain receptors to normal functioning so the patient can better control self-destructive behavior and fully participate in recovering. According to Dr. Humiston’s NeuroRecover™ website, “the treatment includes formulas of selected amino acids delivered intravenously that assist the nervous system in repairing receptors damaged by substance use, as well as by dopamine-damaging activities such a gambling, pornography and overwork.”

“A couple of months after Ari passed away, I attended a Christian retreat and met Joe Holman. His son was hooked on heroin, and after many treatment centers they had to make the difficult decision to put their son on the streets - he could not quit using and his behavior was disruptive to the family.” Heartbroken, Holman contacted Pappas.

“I said to Joe, I think we can help your son,” Pappas explains. “Greg Holman came in to my office, as truly a last resort. We treated Greg and were absolutely amazed at the results.”

The success of that first treatment led to the formation of Emerald Neuro-Recover Centers, the first clinic in the Midwest to offer this new treatment for addictions. Founded by Pappas, after 35 years working the medical field, and Amora Scott, who has been instrumental in the framework and marketing efforts of the clinic, Emerald Neuro Recover Centers use all-natural ingredients in IV drips to help addicts restore their brain functions to pre-addiction levels.

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Healing on Horseback

Horses connect with people in special ways

By Susan Hoskins Miller
Photos courtesy of Agape

Tucked away in the countryside north of Cicero is a 13-acre horse farm with riding arenas and beautiful wooded acreage with trails. But this isn’t just any horse farm. This farm is Agape Therapeutic Riding Resources.

Miracles

Agape’s motto is “Unbridled Hope.” That’s what they give to their 1,900 clients every year. Most come weekly. Agape’s clients come to them with a wide range of issues they need help with healing. Some can’t verbalize their thoughts, some have memory issues and some have physical disabilities. The horses, guided by professional therapists and instructors, bring out abilities in these students they have never before been able to master on their own or through traditional therapies.

“Agape does equine therapy as opposed to hippotherapy,” said Donita Wire, who, with her husband, Ben, has volunteered at Agape for the past 19 years. “We are people of faith, and we know that God is working here, too. We’ve served in many different capacities as volunteers, and we’ve seen miracles.”

One miracle they’ve witnessed happened with a client named Bill. “He was in his thirties when he came to us,” Donita said. “He was developmentally at a grade school level and didn’t speak much. He was also shy. He was so unsure of himself when he started on the horse.”

Beginners like Bill don’t use regular reins when they first ride a horse until they are a little more experienced.

“They use a large strap that looks like a handle. He was sitting on a big pad and held on to that strap so tight the horse thought he wanted it to go faster,” Donita said. “We worked with him for two or three years and he started improving.”

Soon Bill was able to not only guide the horse, but he gained confidence in his own abilities. The biggest difference, though, was in his verbal skills.

“He’s now a spokesman for Janus,” Donita said. “His guardian attributes his speaking skills to Agape. 

Unconditional Love

Ben said volunteering at Agape is therapeutic for him and Donita, too.

“The staff, other volunteers and the families of the clients are the most loving people you will ever see,” he said. “We learn so much from them.”

The word Agape (pronounced uh-GAH-pay) is Greek for unconditional love. That is the environment that Agape provides for all its clients, their families and volunteers.

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