Thomas Griffin

Daily Point of Light # 1279 Dec 29, 1998

Osceola County is Florida's fastest growing county and as a result of this sky rocketing growth, the county has experienced a dramatic increase in crime as well as social ills stemming from substance abuse.

Tom Griffin, a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, saw the need for others like himself to reside and recover in a safe environment. In March 1995, he overcame many obstacles and opened the Transition House, a half-way house for recovering addicts. Through total commitment and determination, he accomplished this without any public, charitable or foundation support.

Tom has served as president and executive director from opening without compensation. He is able to maintain a healthy balance between his managerial responsibilities without losing sight of his responsibility to the residents. He has displayed excellent managerial skills, expanding from one to three homes.

The average length of stay at the Transition House is 9 to 12 months and sometimes longer, depending on the needs of the individual. The initial residential program is followed by an ongoing aftercare program, which is based on helping the client implement the changes necessary in order to maintain long-term abstinence.

In the past 12 months, Tom has provided care for at least 50 recovering addicts/alcoholics who have nowhere else to turn. As a result of his help these individuals have been given the opportunity to return to a happy, healthy life. The following is one such example.

Sixteen months ago, a man was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis as a result of alcohol abuse. Because he could not abstain from alcohol each time he was released from the hospital, the doctors gave him approximately three to six months to live. Upon his last trip to the emergency room, his physician treated him for two weeks and signed him into a county psychiatric hospital. It was there that he met Tom and began his journey back to a healthy, functional sober life. Within 8 months of treatment, he earned a seat on the St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce and was given the position of fundraising coordinator at the Transition House. Since then he has been promoted to director of development. In only 16 months, Tom helped him to move from a position of complete dependence upon society to one where he is actively making a positive difference in the community in which he lives.

Tom, a certified addiction professional, was the driving force behind the rehabilitation of this man and so many others.