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Miracle? Miracle!

Terry Shapiro MS,CAC| Vice President and Executive Director

As I write this on December 8, 2020, we are about to enter the third night of the Jewish Festival of Lights called Hanukkah. The story of this celebration details two reasons to celebrate—the first being freedom from oppression by defeating an army of many with an army of few. The second, and most repeated, being the miracle of how a small amount of oil was used to light the lamp, which then illuminated the house of worship and lasted for eight days while the temple was rebuilt.

The Merriam-Webster definition of a miracle is: “an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs.”

Whichever Hanukkah story you subscribe to, there is an underdog theme: a small army and a small amount of oil both performing miraculous feats for the sake of the good of humanity.

In 1986 I took my first addiction treatment position as a “milieu therapist” in a hospital-based treatment program in Chicago. The “crack” cocaine epidemic had city neighborhoods turned into gang-infested turf warzones. How could anyone get help and survive without using this insidious, highly addictive drug sold on every corner?

We had a “Herculean” task ahead of us.

In time, I began to witness the same miracles with “crack” cocaine addicts that I had firsthand knowledge of with alcohol and other drugs. The common theme being that of the “little guys,” namely “underdog” alcohol and drug counselors, recovered themselves, fighting this fight one day at a time and winning many of the battles in the process.

Fast forward to 2020, when I find myself in the trenches as the Executive Director of the Hanley Center at Origins. This historic, iconic treatment facility opened its doors in (you guessed it) 1986, the same year I began my career.

This year will be deeply imprinted in every human’s memories as the year of the “Great Pandemic.”

The team at Origins Behavioral HealthCare has been nothing short of underdogs in the daily battle against addiction’s scourge amidst the dangers of COVID-19. Our team of admission specialists, drivers, housekeepers, chefs, kitchen staff members, maintenance workers, recovery advocates, nurses, therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, family counselors, program directors, recreation therapists, administrative support, compliance specialists, continuing care, and alumni specialists have stayed healthy to serve our patients and their families in the face of tremendous adversity. They have done this with dignity and grace to meet our mission: “Provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration.”

The Hanukkah story I have latched on to since my youth has been the one about the small amount of oil that lasted for eight days and allowed the temple to be reconstructed enough for prayer on the Sabbath. It reminds me of our amazing healing team that brings “light” into the darkness from which our patients are slowly emerging.

We know that a single candle loses nothing by lighting another. Together, the two grow brighter.

Our team members and their daily commitment to our patients and each other is truly divine intervention in these uncertain times. To me, their work is nothing short of a miracle!

As we head into a much welcomed, anticipated, and full-of-hope New Year, I want to thank each member of our team. You truly dedicate yourselves every morning to help bring new miracles to fruition. You are the precious drops of oil that created the gift of Hannukah.


Origins Behavioral Healthcare is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance abuse, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety. For information on our programs, call us today: 561-841-1296.

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