By Starrla Cray
WINSTED, MN Alone. Angry. Afraid.
When David Yurek counsels people caught in alcohol and drug abuse, he understands the challenges they often face.
“I spent 20 years as an addict,” Yurek admitted, explaining that the problem began in college.
A turning point came at age 38, during a six-month treatment program in prison.
After Yurek’s release, he was determined to lead a different life.
“I knew I wanted to help people, because people were there to help me when I needed it,” he said.
Aptitude tests had always shown that counseling would be a good fit for Yurek, so he earned a degree in psychology while considering his career options.
“The more I researched it, the more I knew this was it this was where I was supposed to be,” he said.
In 2010, Yurek began working at Winsted’s outpatient treatment center, Recovery Resources.
“I was very passionate about inpatient, but then I did my internship here, and I saw the good it was doing in the community. People can learn to be sober while they’re living their lives,” Yurek said, explaining that participants can keep their jobs and provide for their families while receiving help.
Yurek recently purchased the center, and renamed it Lone Wolf Recovery.
“I always saw myself as a lone wolf,” he said. “I thought I was independent and strong, but I was separated from society.”
Yurek said that in nature, lone wolves are sometimes adolescents looking for their place in the world, or wolves that have been kicked out of the pack.
“A lone wolf doesn’t have a good chance of survival,” Yurek said. “I want to help other ‘lone wolves’ come back to the pack.”
Lone Wolf Recovery offers education classes for chemical abuse, driving with care, and anger management.
“We get our referrals through the county and probation, and some walk-ins,” said Betty Rehmann, who has been a licensed alcohol and drug counselor since 1987.
Rehmann began the treatment program in Winsted in 2002, and plans to continue her involvement with Yurek as the new owner.
“My philosophy was, focus on the client and their needs, and the rest will fall into place and it really did,” Rehmann said.
Clients are sometimes reluctant to accept help at first, but by the end of their treatment, most are extremely grateful.
“It opens the door to their life,” Rehmann said.
One of the first things clients do is write down their “use history,” which details their age when they started using certain drugs or alcohol, the amount they were using, frequency, consequences, major life events, and emotions.
“That process helps them realize it’s more than what they think,” Rehmann said.
For example, a person might have started drinking beer at age 16 to fit in and feel happier. Later on, however, drinking led to depression, anger, and loneliness.
Clients also calculate how much the addiction has cost them financially, which is typically a shock.
“The first step is for them to realize how powerless they are,” Yurek said, explaining that when people recognize that the addition has taken over, it enables them to make a change.
“The bottom is when you decide to stop digging,” he added.
Yurek said the vast majority of people who have problems with drugs and alcohol are good people who made a series of bad decisions.
“Prison is full of extremely talented and gifted people,” he said. “If they focus that talent in a positive way, great things will come.”
Lone Wolf Recovery
• What: A center to help people who struggle with drug and alcohol abuse.
• Where: 471 2nd St. N in Winsted, in the lower level of the Winsted Dental building.
• When: Open Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Wednesdays and Fridays by appointment.
• Contact: Owner David Yurek can be reached at email@example.com or (320) 485-2323.