Contact Us: 734-712-3456



St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Education Center Auditorium (ground floor,) 5305 Elliott Drive, Ypsilanti, Michigan.

Admission is FREE and open to all.  No registration is required.  A certificate to document attendance can be provided on request. FREE CE is provided for addiction professionals.

People interested in any topic for any reason, personal or professional - ALL ARE WELCOME! 

The series is organized by Dawn Farm, a non-profit organization that provides a continuum of programs for treatment of chemical dependency.

Phone: (734) 485-8725
Web site: 
Download Flier (Note: the flier that is currently posted/linked is not for the Education Series, it’s a flier that St. Joe’s made for the “Teens Using Drugs” series. I attached an Education Series flier.)


TITLE: Positive Emotions and the Success of Alcoholics Anonymous.

DATE/TIME: Tuesday September 20, 2016, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (Reception preceding from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.)

PRESENTER: Dr. George E. Vaillant, MD; Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School and the Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital. 

DESCRIPTION: A 60-year study of adult development performed at Harvard University yielded fascinating information about alcohol use disorders and recovery. This presentation by the study director will present evidence based, prospective longitudinal research on why Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) is the treatment of choice to achieve abstinence from alcohol lasting more than two years. The presentation will suggest the mechanisms by which A.A. achieves these goals. Dr. Vaillant will describe factors that have been found to be predictive of an individual developing alcohol dependency, common patterns found among study individuals in the onset and progression of alcohol dependency and in the initiation and sustainment of recovery from alcohol dependency, evidence supporting the efficacy of Alcoholics Anonymous, and mechanisms by which people with alcohol dependency achieve sustained sobriety through Alcoholics Anonymous participation.

TITLE: Addiction 101.

DATE/TIME: Tuesday September 27, 2016, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

PRESENTER: James Balmer; President, Dawn Farm.

DESCRIPTION: This program will provide a general overview of alcohol/other drug addiction and recovery. The presenter will examine the progression of alcohol/other drug use, review addiction as a brain disease and discuss the process of recovery. Participants will learn how individuals experience initial and continuing alcohol and other drug use and gain a basic understanding of the process and diagnosis of addiction, how the brain functions in a person with alcohol/other drug addiction, and methods utilized to help people with alcohol/other drug use disorders achieve sustained recovery.

TITLE: The Intersectionality of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Substance Abuse.

DATE/TIME: Tuesday October 18, 2016, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

PRESENTER: David J.H. Garvin, LMSW; Chief Operating Officer, Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw County and Founder, Alternatives to Domestic Aggression, Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw County; and Barbara Niess May, MPA, MSW; Executive Director, SafeHouse Center.

DESCRIPTION: There is a strong correlation between domestic violence/sexual assault and alcohol/other drug use – and correlation does not equal cause/effect nor does it define personal responsibility. Intoxication does not explain abuse or assault, excuse a perpetrator’s behaviors, or justify a person being assaulted or abused. Domestic violence/sexual assault offender and survivor alcohol and other drug use/abuse will be central to this discussion. The audience will be provided with a primmer regarding perpetrator tactics, strategies, and core beliefs which hold the perpetrator accountable for abusive/assaultive behaviors while maintaining and promoting survivor safety. The program will help participants to recognize the critical importance of understanding the relationship between domestic violence/sexual assault and alcohol/other drug use/abuse in order to safely and effectively intervene and/or interrupt the perpetrator's behaviors and support the survivor.

TITLE: Trauma and Chemical Use and Addiction.

DATE/TIME: Tuesday October 25, 2016, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

PRESENTER: Tana Bridge, PhD, ACSW, LMSW, ACTP; Professor, School of Social Work, Eastern Michigan University.

DESCRIPTION: Current research highlights the relationship between substance use, substance addiction and trauma. This presentation by an award-winning trauma expert will review events involved with trauma exposure, trauma specific symptomatology, the impact trauma has on the brain and on coping and subsequent substance use, and how to aid individuals struggling with trauma and substance addiction.

TITLE: Intervention to Durable Recovery: The Power of Family.

DATE/TIME: Tuesday November 15, 2016, from 7:30 .pm. to 9:00 .pm. (Reception preceding from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.)

PRESENTER: Debra Jay, BA and Jeff Jay, BA; best-selling authors, speakers and counselors.

DESCRIPTION: Addiction is often described as a “family condition” – but families have often been left out of the recovery equation. Involved, supportive families play a critical role in the recovery process, from initiation through long-term recovery, and families provide an important reservoir of influence and support towards making lasting sobriety a reality. Through extensive work in intervention and family recovery, Debra Jay and Jeff Jay have developed highly effective, detailed Intervention and Structured Family Recovery™ processes that unlock the secrets of lasting sobriety – techniques that help addicted physicians and pilots attain lasting recovery - and make them available to families. The intervention process starts with a concerned family and the Structured Family Recovery™ process ends with a family recovery team that maximizes the potential for a successful outcome for all involved. This presentation will describe how to do an intervention and how to build a recovery team that unites the person with addiction and his/her family in working towards the common goal of sustained recovery. The presentation will provide practical, helpful, hopeful information about intervention and family recovery that will both revolutionize recovery and bring recovery back to its roots. Jeff and Debra Jay are dynamic, highly experienced speakers, whose materials are liberally interwoven with compassion, humor, personal stories and real-life descriptions.

TITLE: In Our Midst: The Opioid Epidemic, and a Community Response.

DATE/TIME: Tuesday November 22, 2016, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

PRESENTER: Stephen Strobbe, PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC, CARN-AP; Clinical Associate Professor, University of Michigan School of Nursing and University of Michigan Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine (Co-Chair, Washtenaw Health Initiative (WHI) Opioid Project.)

DESCRIPTION: Non-medical use of opiates has been called an “epidemic” by CDC Director Thomas Frieden and “an urgent public health crisis” by former US Attorney General Holder. Local and national leaders and media headlines echo and highlight this concern. Communities across the country are in the grips of an opioid epidemic. Ours is no exception. Learn about the opioid epidemic in our midst, and what we are doing as a community to respond. The presenter will discuss factors that have contributed to a national opioid epidemic, rates and patterns of opioid overdose deaths in Washtenaw County, areas of focus for the Washtenaw Health Initiative (WHI) Opioid Project, and actions that can be taken to be part of the solution.

TITLE: Collegiate Recovery Programs: Supporting Second Chances.

DATE/TIME: Tuesday November 29, 2016, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

PRESENTER: Mary Jo Desprez, MA; Director, Wolverine Wellness, University Health Service, University of Michigan; and Matthew Statman, LMSW, CAADC; University of Michigan Collegiate Recovery Program Manager.

DESCRIPTION: The transition to a college environment can pose significant risk to a recovering student and to students at risk for alcohol/other drug problems. Many colleges and universities, including the University of Michigan, have developed programs to help recovering students maintain their recovery, excel academically and have a normative college experience apart from the culture of alcohol and other drug use. This presentation will provide an overview of the national and local efforts to build recovery support programs on college campuses, discuss support that is provided to recovering students by collegiate recovery programs, and provide information about what parents and students can look for as they explore their options for pursuing a degree of higher education.

TITLE: Safe and Effective Management of Pain and Addiction.

DATE/TIME: Tuesday January 17, 2017, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

PRESENTER: Carl Christensen, MD, Ph.D., FACOG, FASAM, ABAM; and Mark A. Weiner, MD.

DESCRIPTION: The Institute of Medicine estimates around a 100 million Americans suffer with chronic pain, and it’s estimated that about 10% of our population has or has had a substance use disorder. Both chronic pain and substance use disorders are major public health challenges, and treating concurrent pain and substance addiction is especially challenging. Common prescribing practices intended to provide relief of acute and chronic pain can trigger relapse in people with substance use disorders and have also fueled an epidemic of opiod misuse, addiction and overdose death. People with pain deserve relief, and the good news is there are many strategies for both acute and chronic pain management that are safe and effective for people at risk of or in recovery from substance use disorders. This presentation will discuss various methods of pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic pain management and their relative risks and benefits, and describe creative approaches to effective pain relief for people in recovery from substance use disorders.

TITLE: How To Support Recovery and Not Support Addiction.

DATE/TIME: Tuesday January 24, 2017, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

PRESENTER: Charles F. Gehrke, MD, FACP, FASAM.

DESCRIPTION: The course of an individual’s substance use may be strongly influenced by family members, friends, employers and others. The disease of addiction is often poorly understood, and the behaviors of a person with addiction are often bewildering to family and friends. Well-intentioned but poorly-informed individuals may inadvertently enable addiction to progress by shielding the person with addiction from consequences that could potentially initiate change. This program will address these common questions: When all else has failed, what does work when confronted with a loved one’s addiction? What does not work? What can others do to help? What does not help? What role does an individual play in supporting another person’s recovery process? The course will outline simple but effective actions for family, friends and others to avoid enabling another person’s addiction, support the person’s recovery, and maintain their own health and well-being.

TITLE: Suicide Prevention and Addiction.

DATE/TIME: Tuesday January 31, 2017, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

PRESENTER: Raymond Dalton, MA, CAADC; Coordinator, Dawn Farm Outpatient Services.

DESCRIPTION: The prevalence of suicide attempts and suicide completion among people with alcohol/other drug addiction is significantly higher than in the general population, and the period of early recovery from addiction is especially high risk. Family, friends and professionals are often strategically positioned to recognize potential suicidal thinking and intervene to help. Learning about the signs of suicidal thinking and how to intervene when a person may be contemplating suicide can reduce the barriers to suicidal individuals obtaining help and potentially prevent suicide deaths. This program will raise awareness of the prevalence of suicide among people with addiction, describe signs of suicidal thinking, and discuss effective ways to offer support and help to people who may be contemplating suicide.

TITLE: Addiction and Families.

DATE/TIME: Tuesday February 21, 2017, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

PRESENTER: Anna Byberg, LMSW, CAADC; Program Coordinator, Dawn Farm Spera Recovery Center.

DESCRIPTION: Substance addiction is often described as a family condition. Each member of the family unit is affected by addiction within the family and often family members do not realize how profoundly they have been affected. To survive within a framework of chaos, family members often develop roles and defense mechanisms that help them to cope. Family members affected by substance addiction often have challenges in supporting each other and taking care of their own health and well-being. Family involvement is an important element of the recovery process for people with addiction, and family members themselves can recover from the effects of having person with addiction in the family, whether the person with addiction recovers or not. This program will provide participants with a basic understanding of how addiction impacts each member of a family. The presenter will describe the roles and behaviors that family members often acquire when living with addiction, ways in which each family member is affected by addiction in the family, and options for family members to obtain help to cope with addiction in the family.

TITLE: Relapse Prevention.

DATE/TIME:Tuesday February 28, 2017, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

PRESENTER: Erik Anderson LMSW, CAADC, Dawn Farm Outpatient Program Therapist.

DESCRIPTION: Substance addiction has been identified as an illness that requires long-term management. Relapse is a process that begins before alcohol/other drug use is resumed and is usually preceded by a pattern of progressive warning signs. Understanding the relapse process helps recovering people develop an effective plan to identify and prevent relapse. This program will discuss the dynamics of relapse, factors that contribute to relapse, signs that may forewarn of relapse, how to develop a relapse prevention plan and creative, effective strategies to handle both every-day and high-risk situations.

TITLE: In the Doctor’s Office: Recovery Friend or Foe?

DATE/TIME: Tuesday March 21, 2017, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

PRESENTER: Mark A. Weiner, MD; Internal Medicine and Addiction Medicine; and Matthew Statman, LMSW, CAADC; University of Michigan Collegiate Recovery Program Manager.

DESCRIPTION: Addiction is widely recognized as a chronic illness best treated with long-term monitoring and support. Primary health care settings are natural places for this care to be provided. However, it's been said that the doctor's office can be a dangerous place for people in recovery from addiction. It's also been said that recovering people can be terrible patients. This program will discuss whether these statements are fair, and why healthcare providers are essential allies for long term recovery. The program will provide a basic overview of the neurobiology of addiction and its implications for health care consumers and providers, list specific concerns related to medications, describe ways in which people in recovery from alcohol/other drug addiction can take responsibility for their health and discuss how health care providers can assist with sustaining recovery.

TITLE: Cultivating Mindfulness to Support Recovery.

DATE/TIME: Tuesday March 28, 2017, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

PRESENTER: Elizabeth A.R. Robinson, MPH, MSW Ph.D.

DESCRIPTION: Mindfulness practices are effective in supporting sustained recovery from substance use disorders. This presentation will describe theory and research supporting mindfulness, demonstrate mindfulness techniques and provide opportunities for the audience to experience and cultivate mindfulness, and review the evidence of the positive effects of mindfulness on recovery.

TITLE: Grief and Loss in Addiction and Recovery.

DATE/TIME: Tuesday April 18, 2017, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

PRESENTER: Amanda Eidemiller, LMSW, Adult Palliative Care Consult Service, University of Michigan Hospital; and Barb Smith, author of “Brent’s World.”

DESCRIPTION: Unresolved grief and loss frequently accompany people throughout the process of moving from the culture of addiction to the culture of recovery. Families of people with addiction experience grief and loss as well. This program will explain various theories of grief and grief recovery, describe losses that chemically dependent individuals and their families experience throughout the addiction and recovery processes, and discuss how recovery program tools can help individuals cope with grief and loss.

TITLE: Emerging from the Darkness: The End of the Drug War and the Rise of Recovery.

DATE/TIME: Thursday April 20, 2017, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (Reception preceding from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.)

PRESENTER: Kevin McCauley, MD; co-founder of the Institute on Addiction Study; writer of the award-winning DVD “Pleasure Unwoven” and the DVD “Memo To Self.”

CO-SPONSORS: The program is co-sponsored by Dawn Farm, a non-profit organization that provides a continuum of programs for treatment of chemical dependency; and the University of Michigan Collegiate Recovery Program, University of Michigan Students For Recovery, and University of Michigan Student Health Services/Wolverine Wellness.

DESCRIPTION: Not only have the ships for which we have waited for so long appeared on the horizon, some of them have now come into port. Parity. Treatment on demand. Stigma reduction. These once seemingly impossible dreams are today a reality. The White House creates an "Office of Recovery" and speaks openly about a "Third Way" for new policy. States legalize cannabis for - not medical - butrecreational use, and create a giant natural experiment that will reveal previous certainties about its dangers as truth or fiction. Films, books, plays, and music put a human face on addiction, changing minds and hearts in the process. But most importantly, people are recovering. As we emerge from the rubble of the Drug War, we can rebuild on the foundation of astonishing brain research that has quietly accumulated through decades of zero-tolerance and mass incarceration. In this lecture, we will stop and realize this moment in history, and compare it to other challenges of health disparity and social inequality. We will review the rising science of recovery and explore concepts of recovery management. We will elucidate this "Third Way," and consider the challenges it entails. We will explore innovative policies, enacted on local and national levels, which hold the promise of preventing addiction before it starts, treating it on a scale never before seen in the US, and re-enfranchising a battered but resilient American demographic. As groups of men and women, formerly living in the shadows, come together, define themselves, and become a people, we should not forget: History is watching.

TITLE: Spirituality in Recovery: The Many Paths to Spiritual Fitness.

DATE/TIME: Tuesday April 25, 2017, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

PRESENTER: Jerry Fouchey, BS, MA, SpA, CADC; Dawn Farm Outpatient and Personal Medicine therapist.

DESCRIPTION: Twelve Step recovery programs challenge participants through the Eleventh Step to “seek through prayer and meditation to improve their conscious contact with God as they understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will and the power to carry that out.” The literature points out that recovering people have "tread innumerable paths" in this process. This presentation will encourage participants to clarify their personal understanding of a Higher Power, examine the quality of their relationship with that Power, and explore vehicles to build their conscious contact.

TITLE: Does Treatment Work?

DATE/TIME: Tuesday May 16, 2017, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.


DESCRIPTION: Recent publications claim to define research-supported definitive truths about the root causes of addiction and efficacy of treatment modalities; however, conclusions are conflicting and have been subject to divergent interpretations. Dr. Christensen will review the recent criticisms of treatment for addiction including Twelve Step, residential, and medication assisted therapy, the scientific studies that do and do not support their use and other controversial issues.

TITLE: Tobacco Cessation and Addiction Recovery.

DATE/TIME: Tuesday May 23, 2017, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

PRESENTER: Anna Byberg, LMSW, CAADC; Program Coordinator, Dawn Farm Spera Recovery Center.

DESCRIPTION: Despite downward trends in the prevalence of tobacco use in the general population, tobacco use remains a significant problem among people with alcohol/other drug addiction. The conventional wisdom that tobacco use should not be addressed during treatment or in early recovery has been shown to be false. Studies have demonstrated that tobacco cessation has positive effects on recovery and relapse rates, and a smoke-free policy does not adversely affect treatment retention. This program will describe the prevalence of tobacco addiction among people with alcohol and other drug addictions, the relationship between tobacco use and recovery, information on tobacco cessation techniques targeted to people with alcohol/other drug addiction, and suggestions for implementation of tobacco cessation support by addiction treatment programs/professionals.

TITLE: Co-Occurring Disorders: Understanding Self-Medication and Complex Recovery.

DATE/TIME: Tuesday May 30, 2017, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

PRESENTER: Jeremy Suttles, MSE, LMSW; Clinical Social Worker, University of Michigan Hospital – Adult Inpatient Psychiatry.

DESCRIPTION: Co-Occurring Disorders, also known as Dual Diagnosis, is the term used to describe having both a substance use disorder and a mental health or medical illness; the symptoms of one influence the symptoms and treatment of the other. Diagnosing and treating these disorders can be challenging, as the two are often so entwined that they are difficult to separate. People with dual diagnosis issues often use substances to self-medicate to treat the symptoms of their medical or mental health issues, but the consequences of that use include poorer mental and physical health. The cycle of dual diagnosis can be a challenge for both providers and patients during recovery. This presentation will provide an overview of what co-occurring disorders are, how they are identified, their prevalence, and the most effective methods of treatment. Emphasis will be placed on a comprehensive model of recovery that provides for emotional and physical health recovery as well as ongoing sobriety.