David Goss started to drink alcohol when he was 13 years old, believing it was harmless weekend mischief.
But it was the start of a slippery slope of addiction that led the Dorchester native also to use marijuana, prescription drugs, cocaine, and eventually opioids to mask his insecurity.
Goss grew isolated from his family. For decades, he faced a vicious cycle of incarceration and homelessness. Scouring Massachusetts Avenue for drugs felt like the only way to cope.
But after years of bouncing in and out of hospitals and care facilities, Goss, now 45, found community and received proper treatment at The Dimock Center in Roxbury.
“I learned [at The Dimock Center] that I matter and I’m important, and I can do whatever I put my mind to,” Goss said. “That’s the path to empowerment.”
Goss celebrated 14 months of sobriety on Wednesday. He said he feels equipped to pursue a career in carpentry and coin grading, and hopes to move into his own apartment within the next 90 days.
The Dimock Center is investing $1 million in federal funding to launch Boston’s first clinical stabilization program for men. Currently, the city doesn’t offer clinical stabilization programs focused on men, said Dr. Charles Anderson, president and CEO of the center. The new program will annually provide more than 1,000 patients with “14 to 28 days of intensive treatment following inpatient detox and preceding longer-term residential recovery,” according to a statement from the center.
The investment will allow Dimock to support patients from detoxification, to clinical stabilization, to residential recovery, helping more men with substance use disorder forge their own success stories.
Representative Ayanna Pressley, who represents Massachusetts’s 7th District and who advocated for the program for nearly a year, celebrated the funding during a roundtable with Dimock leadership, staff, and patients on Wednesday. Pressley said creating the resources for men to achieve sobriety is deeply personal.
“Growing up, my father, Martin, was absent during my formative years due to the fact that his ... addiction to opioids was criminalized rather than being met with compassion and trauma-informed care,” said Pressley. “I am so thrilled to deliver this critical investment to the Dimock Center so that they can expand their substance use treatment and facilities and help men like my father get the resources and care they need to get back on their feet.”
Because of a lack of clinical resources, Anderson said many men with substance use disorder have to travel out of the city for further treatment, putting them at a higher risk of a relapse.
Gross said having to leave the familiar surroundings in the city he calls home played a part in his relapses.
“It’s part of the addiction, I guess you want to be where you’re comfortable,” Goss said.
But the new investment allows The Dimock Center to offer clinical stabilization services on its campus, ensuring that patients won’t have to go far for the next step in their recovery.
“It’s this opportunity for us to really restore hope,” Anderson said.
With the new program, Pressley said she hopes Dimock, which already offers “culturally competent, trauma-informed, and gender-specific” services, will serve as an example to other treatment facilities in Greater Boston.
“The wealth of our nation is the health of our people,” she said. “And this is the type of investment needed to support the health, wellbeing, and livelihoods of folks in Boston and beyond.”