John Derry Addiction Specialist

John Derry is a man who understands addiction, and more importantly, he understands the recovery process. John Derry had a profound experience in 1998, and everything changed for him. John left the corporate world of success, the board meetings, suits and ties, big expense accounts, prestige and guaranteed big income. John wanted to move from the research and development role he played in a leading pharmaceutical company, to working one on one to help people heal emotionally and spiritually.



It takes a whole lot of courage to leave the safety of that secure life style, but John Derry was led by his faith that God was calling him to change. John went on to study at the world renowned Hazelden Graduate School for Addiction Studies. True to his character, John graduated at the top of his class, and was the valedictorian for his fellow graduates.  John learned a lot at Hazelden, and he learned alot about the bureaucracy of a large addiction recovery institute. Hazelden has an incredible addiction recovery program, but it also has the mountains of charts and paperwork for each client, that somehow, many times, becomes more important than the client him/herself. Being able to prove to an insurance company that some predetermined outcome is being achieved takes top priority. Funding depends on it. What the individual needed really is second place in many of these insurance based treatment centers.

What John really wanted was to have a small, private retreat like center. A place where people suffering from the disease of addiction could come and feel safe. He envisioned a homelike setting, with minimal intrusion by government and bureaucracy.  John saw his vision manifested in a previous bed and breakfast locale, overlooking an interior lake of British Columbia. John and his therapeutic team helped 100's of people recover. With a maximum of 8 guests, chef prepared meals, a beautiful serene setting and a great dog, John's retreat was one of a kind and very successful.  John met and married Jane during this time, both of them sharing the same passion for recovery, and for sharing what they learned.  

God had a twist up his sleeve though. Most people seeking drug and alcohol addiction treatment are ready for help. Treatment is never easy - it is hard work. There are painful things to look at, and only one thing has to change - but that is everything.  About 85% of the guests at the retreat did extremely well. The individualized attention, the empathy and the serious challenges to ways of thinking and acting, worked wonders. Guests were leaving the facility in Recovery with a plan to keep moving forward in sobriety. About 15% of people were not prepared for what they found in treatment. Maybe they weren't ready, or changed their minds. Addiction is a powerful disease. Of the people who left early, about 40 percent of them came back later, when they were ready, and they did very well. Another 50% of that 15%, we never heard from again, or their families let us know they had succumbed to the disease. That leaves a very small number of people - about 5 in total. 

And these 5 people played a crucial role in the lives of John and Jane Derry. They turned the Derry's world upside down.  It was a long and very painful story, but the short version is that this handful of people chose to turn their own pain, hurt and bitterness into a full out, onslaught of attack to try and ruin the career and lives of John and Jane.  This was actually stated by the 'leader' as her goal. And so, with repeated attacks on all fronts, the retreat was slandered online in dozens of different ways, and neigbourhoods were rallied and municipal counsellors and mayors were inundated with 1000's, yes 1000's of emails.  

When a person is looking for help for addiction online, they are scared and nervous. Faced with the numbers of negative reviews found online, people stopped coming. The Derry's understood that. Trying to defend was impossible. Lawyers and internet reputation specialists recommended not defending. It would only add fuel to their fire of vengefulness. So the Derry's did what they knew to do. They prayed. And prayed. They trusted God, and they refused to let their hearts grow bitter. They understood that their attackers were sick and hurting. The Derry's did not attack back. They continued to pray.

Finally, the Derry's were able to sell the real estate they had, gave away everything that couldn't fit on their 36 ft sailboat, and sailed down the Pacific Coast to the Republic of Panama. The Derry's still had a dream and a vision of that same recovery model of a small, private facility that eschewed bureaucracy and insurance company requirements.   They found a beautiful home in the mountain highlands of Boquete, in the province of Chirqui, and opened a new center, called Serenity Vista. 



John Derry understands addiction. He understands life. Many men faced with the attack on themselves in this way would have turned bitter, turned against God, turned back to the bottle. John Derry believes fiercely in sobriety, and fiercely in his relationship with his Higher Power.  John and Jane had faith that God was leading them, and so Serenity Vista began. They thought that their new life and new business were beginning, a fresh start. Unfortunately,  the Derry's plans were not to go as smoothly as they hoped. Of the 5 people who had campaigned tirelessly in the river of slander, one of them followed the Derry's to Panama.  Her pain and suffering and her addiction convinced her that the best thing she could do was to connect Serenity Vista to the ton of cyber garbage that the 5 of them had created. With this person's one report online, Serenity Vista had now fallen prey to the same disease of slander and bullying. What to do?

The Derry's just keep continuing to do what they know best. They love, they help, they share. Serenity Vista in 2 years has helped over a dozen addicts recover from addiction. There are no resources left to start over. There is no where to sail to, there is nothing left to sell. There is only the 12 Steps and the Spiritual Principles that the Derry's use to guide them.  The Derry's would love to have Serenity Vista full and thriving.  Getting people to look past the online slander and garbage is often just too much for scared families and addicts looking for help. The Derry's understand this. So, one day at a time, John Derry is living recovery principles, and trying to continue to do God's will with a pure heart.  Serenity Vista is open for business and the Derry's welcome anyone who is looking for a new life. 

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Focus On Today,
Jul 26, 2014, 11:41 AM
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