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Online help for addicts

by Paul Bickford
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, January 22, 2009

THEBACHA/FORT SMITH - A former Fort Smith psychotherapist has created the world's first and only online treatment program for addictions.

This month Paul Radkowski is offering a discounted price for the service because of the economic hard times.

Paul Radkowski, a former resident of Fort Smith, has developed an award-winning online treatment for addictions. - photo courtesy of Paul Radkowski

Radkowski, who lived in Fort Smith in 2005, developed the All Addictions Life Recovery Program after leaving the community.

However, he said the idea for the service originated when he supervised the mental health and addictions team at the Fort Smith Health and Social Services Authority.

Radkowski said there were sometimes waiting lists to get into treatment centres, including the Nats'ejee Ke'h Treatment Centre on the Hay River Reserve and facilities in northern Alberta.

"So I basically created a program that someone could access immediately," he said.

It provides information and encouragement to people in their home, he added.

"Mental health and addictions issues do not rest or sleep, so I thought I would create a program that would keep up with the demand," said Radkowski, who is the CEO/clinical director of the recently-launched online initiative.

The program offers help for a wide range of addictions, including alcoholism, drug use, overeating, smoking, gambling, compulsive shopping and others.

Radkowski, who now lives in Waterloo, Ont., said 70 per cent of people with addictions don't seek treatment because of the stigma attached to having such problems.

His online program is being offered for a pay-what-you-can price during January.

For a minimum of $15 (U.S.), a person can access three months of the six-month program. Three months normally cost $297 (U.S.).

The program includes seven video sessions, emails from Radkowski and homework.

He got the idea for the discounted price while debriefing industrial workers losing their jobs in southern Ontario. Such debriefings offered advice on how to deal with the stress of being unemployed.

Creating the All Addictions Life Recovery Program won Radkowski the 2008 Outstanding Addictions Professional Award from the International Association of Addictions and Offender Counsellors.

Information on the program can be found at