At 83, Father Martin still speaking to pain of addiction

I didn’t attend Ashley, but Father Martin’s chalk talks were required viewing at the treatment center I attended, and his simple explanations of alcoholism were instrumental in getting the things I needed to hear through my thick skull. Along with Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, he is one of the giants of recovery.

At 83, Father Martin still speaking to pain of addiction —

Father Joe Martin and Mae Abraham

His comeback was the worst-kept secret at Ashley.

After a six-month absence, an ailing Father Joseph Martin returned recently to what has been called the Betty Ford Clinic of the East Coast – Father Martin’s Ashley. Arriving in his wheelchair, he waited for the applause and standing ovation to yield before speaking to 80 patients at the addiction treatment center he co-founded near Havre de Grace.

One more time, the 83-year-old priest spoke of the symptoms of sobriety – the ways patients know they are getting better. Recognizing that everyone is in pain. The return of one’s self-esteem and humanity. No more living a lie. Father Martin spoke of his own drinking, his own “island of pain and self-hatred.” He thanked everyone for their prayers. “I’m going to go home shortly now. That took all the steam out of me.”

This has been a milestone year for Joseph Martin. Together with his partner, Mae Abraham, they watch over the addiction center they opened 25 years ago this spring….

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