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In August of 2014...

In August of 2014 I attended my first ala-non meeting. Within a few months, I acquired a sponsor. She introduced me to Eugene Middleton and Penny Pennachi of Spirit and Associates. I was in deep despair over my daughters alcoholism and she highly recommended Gene and Penny. I was feeling very alone and very much in need of guidance.


I reached out to Penny and began regular coaching and counseling sessions. My daughter’s life was going downhill and my life was spiraling down with hers. I didn’t know how to appropriately respond to her alcoholic behavior nor did I know much about the disease itself.


I eventually met Gene in October 2015 and we conducted an intervention At ST. Luke’s Hospital - where my daughter was hospitalized for alcohol related complications at the time. I was impressed with Gene and Penny from the very beginning of my affiliation with them. They were very professional with providing knowledge of the disease, guidance with how to respond to alcoholic behavior and continually encouraged self-care. They remained “just a phone call away” which gave me comfort and security that I didn’t have to handle a crisis alone.


I totally relied on their guidance which put me on my path to recovery. Additionally, Penny and Gene set up a recovery program for my daughter who remained in adamant denial, - declining all the help that they offered.


Penny and Gene have provided me with many resources, all of which I have and continue to utilize: DVD’s, library books, educational materials and education on the intervention process. They have always offered personal support and compassion to me and my family members. I trust in their experience and wisdom.


Penny and Gene have always been respectful even when they pointed out my enabling behaviors. I would not hesitate to recommend Penny and Gene to anyone who needs help with addiction problems. I will keep them on speed-dial in the event of a future crisis.


My mental, physical and spiritual health are much better for having known Penny and Gene.


Although my daughter was not accepted or sought help with her alcoholism to date, I will continue on my own path of recovery. With the help of Ala-non and Gene and Penny I have regained my life.


-Mary Ellen K.

I met Penny and Gene...

I met Penny and Gene during my then teenage son's active addiction about 10 years ago. Following my son's initial time spent in treatment, I began attending the Families Helping Families Group which they facilitate. Through this community outreach Penny and Gene provided excellent education on the disease of addiction as well as support and guidance for family members and addicts. Over the years while my son continued in his active addiction Penny and Gene provided additional support through counseling and facilitating family interventions. They met with his father and me on several occasions to assist use in dealing with various circumstances that arose dude to his addiction. Always making recommendations on possible courses of action with gentle reminders that whatever was decided was our decision and we have to be comfortable with it. Since no town situations are alike and there is not one single solution for assisting families in recover, I have found that over the years they each bring a lot to the table due to their knowledge, education, and own personal experience.

My son and I both benefited from one on one counseling sessions with Penny. There was a point where she would see us separately and then together. Over the years I had tried to engage him in counseling server times with little to no success, however, he seemed to be receptive to his sessions with Penny and I believe during their sessions valuable seeds were planted and sown.

Penny and Gene were available to us by phone, text, and email. They were able to provide valuable counsel to me and my son when he was arrested. Gene made an appeal to the judge stating that my son would benefit more from inpatient and long-term rehab than incarceration. During that time, they also monitored and managed his treatment plan and checked in with me to see how we were doing as a family.

Currently, Penny is counseling me due to my relapse into depression and co-dependency. Through her counsel and guidance, I have come to understand that whether we are the family member or the addict, recovery is not a destination but a life-long journey to be embraced one day at a time.

As I said, it's been ten plus years that I have known Penny and Gene, and I am grateful every day for the services that they provide. Over the years, I have directed many folks to the Families Helping Families Group so they too could benefit as my family as from their support, compassion, help, and guidance during one of the most challenging times our of lives.


-Lynne W.

We became associated...

We became associated with Penny Pennachi and Gene Middleton when our youngest son decided to experiment with drugs and alcohol. It is typical for children to try things out but in our son's case he became an addict. We were devastated and did no know where to turn. In passing I had mentioned it to my sister who had a very close friend whose brother was going through the same thing. That friend of my sister's was working with Penny and Gene who had done an intervention with her brother. We contracted them to do the same for our son after he had overdosed and was rushed to the emergency room in a very bad state.

This was the beginning of a long process that had Penny and Gene guiding us through territory that we have never encountered before. They were always available to us whenever we needed them and were instrumental in getting our son the care he needed through the various rehabs and institutions that he became associated with in his journey. The list goes on and on for our son. Mental institutions, hospitals, out-patient and in-patent rehabs, prison, and drug counseling. They never wavered or left us hanging no matter what time of day, no matter what day. I remember that the holidays are the worst for anyone going through something like this, and it was so reassuring to pick up the phone and contact one or the other and hear their words of wisdom, compassions, and understanding which kept us calm and sane.

What was most impressive is that they always had a plan of action which included, but not limited to, individual counseling, drug and alcohol education, family therapy, direct intervention, and case management for our family. Impressive because it wasn't a one and done deal when you are dealing with a 15-year-old who has become an addict. It was countless times that we had to get him to rehab, get him to detox centers, get him where he needed to be to try to get the help he needed. Penny and Gene were always there and guided us in navigating the judicial system, drug courts, prison systems, and parole boards.

They started a support group called 'families helping families' which indicates how much they want to work with families. They structured it so that they first hour is a lecture on drug / alcohol related topics, speakers, films, and discussion. After a short break the next hour is sharing and open discussion on anything that is on anyone's mind. What's good about this support group is that it is family based and usually includes the addict as well as the family members.

We have known them now for 14 plus years and they have always been there when we needed them. The son who lead us to them is in recovery but not working any program per se, but it is because of the efforts of Penny and Gene that we are in a better place and so is he.

Interestingly enough even through we still go to the support meeting that they do on occasion, we have no had to use them as we did until recently. Our second born son has now developed an addiction with alcohol and the first person we contact was Penny and Gene. Once again they came through and have been instrumental in getting him the help he needs. This son has yet accepted the fact that he has a problem, but both Penny and Gene are there when he is ready. He and his wife are attending that support group which once again shows the latitude that Penny and Gene provide to people who are in need of help. From all the help that Penny and Gene provided over the many, many years, the biggest thing that we had gotten out of it was that there is hope and that self-care is paramount.

Along with that self-care is to develop and understand boundaries. These go hand in hand and much time has been spent with Penny and Gene in gaining the tools to ensure that we are taking care of ourselves. The best method used by them in teaching us how to use the concept of self-care is by example and there has been many opportunities that they did just that. Little known fact on boundaries that they share with us, is that those boundaries are for us not for the addict of family member going through crisis. This was something that we did not understand initially since we have been and still are dealing with children and usually set boundaries to punch and correct the situation. What we learned is that boundaries are for us and part of the self-care that we need to do to be able to cope with what we are facing. Boundaries are only effective if you follow through, and this lesson was not realized until we received the counseling that we did through Penny and Gene.

Much of this is trial and error and it is nice to know that there are competent people out in the world who have the knowledge to help those of us that do not. There is no manual handed out when someone is born telling us a step by step approach in dealing with life and what life throws at us. It is nice to know there are folks like Penny and Gene who are out there and know what to do to guide those of us through such things. We continue to utilize their professional services for individual as well as family counseling as needed.

It is always a good thing to know that there are resources available for those that need help. Penny Pennachi and Gene Middleton are such professionals and we have in the past referred others to them. We constantly tell other who approach us about their support group meeting - Families Helping Families as a starting point in getting to know them and what they do. There is no hesitation and it is with complete and thorough confidence that Penny and Gene come with our highest recommendation.


-Debby M.

In 2015, my family and I...

In 2015, my family and I were referred to Penny and Gene by a previous client of theirs. That referral changed our lives and saved my son. At the time, the active addiction of my 20 year old son reached a level at which professional assistance was required. Immediately, Gene and Penny developed and executed a comprehensive treatment plan specific to my son and me. For months, Gene and Penny routinely met with my son individually and I joined several of those sessions for family counseling. At one point, Gene and Penny came to our home to work with my son who had taken a significant amount of pills. Within a day, Gene then drove my son to inpatient rehab where my son stayed for 30 days. After inpatient rehab, Gene and Penny coordinated stays from my son at group houses for addicts in recovery. For tow years, Gene and Penny took calls and texts from my son at any time of the day when my son needed to talk about the temptation of addiction, or any other issues which created stress for him. Gene and Penny were also available to me at any time of the day and taught my how to cope as the mother of an addict.

Gene and Penny saved my son and my family, by helping us through a very difficult time. My son has been in recovery for 3 years, thanks in large part for the tools Gene and Penny provided to him to cope with the strong pull of addiction. To this day, we stay in touch with Gene and Penny.

I would not hesitate to refer anyone to the "powerhouse team" of Gene and Penny for assistance in dealing with drug/alcohol addiction issues.


-Annmarie G.

My husband Dave and I...

My husband Dave and I met Gene Middleton and Penny Pennachi in 2016. I reached out to them as our son is an alcoholic and was spiraling out of control. His addiction was not only his problem, but quickly became a family crisis as well.

Gene and Penny were a "lighthouse in a storm" for us. Their calm demeanor and expansive knowledge and experience was comforting from the first day. They met with us as a family to explain how addiction affects the whole group, and to address our fears and concerns. The education they provided was profound, and yet presented in a way that empowered us. We learned that we are not alone, and about how to break the cycle of enabling my son's addiction.

We found Gene and Penny to be available at every turn, always answered the phone or called right back. They were the crisis intervention team several times during the ordeal. They provided reassurance and instruction, giving us the concepts, words and ideas to employ. They were also very helpful getting us through the conflict between us as we all attempted to navigate through the rocky, emotional journey.

We all felt supported and respected as we asked questions an/or expressed our fear, frustration, anger, fatigue, confusion and despair. They showed us we could be happy, even in the presence of a difficult situation. Gene and Penny always responded patiently, with stead demeanor, a listening ear, and compassionate guidance. They guided us through our son's 1st rehab, his near lethal relapse, a second hospitalization at a psych facility, and his three month rehab in Scranton.

Today, we have our son back, he will celebrate three years of sobriety in Sept. And we also have our family back, though our healing is an ongoing process. I attend Gene and Penny's family support meeting weekly to keep up with the skills needed to support our journey. They offer education, as well as the opportunity for the attendees to share their experiences and help each other, in the presence of experienced instructors.

In summary, Gene and Penny provided incredible help, education, compassion and support for my family during a very difficult time. They are knowledgeable, professional and compassionate. I have an will continue to recommend their services to others in need of this help.


-Melissa N.

We became associated with...

We became associated with Penny Pennachi and Gene Middleton when my husband and I utilized their services to assist our family in dealing with active addiction in two of our children. Penny and Gene provided a comprehensive therapy treatment plan specific to the needs of our family. The initial one year plan encompassed several modalities including individual counseling, drug and alcohol education and counseling, family therapy, direct intervention and case management for our family. They assisted us in placement into appropriate drug/alcohol addiction inpatient rehabs, detox centers and extended treatment programs. One of our children was incarcerated related to heroin addiction. Penny and Gene guided us in navigating the judicial system, drug courts, prison systems, and parole boards. All of these areas were unfamiliar to our family until this addiction crisis became part of our life.

Penny and Gene were available to us constantly via phone, text and e-mail. They met with us not only in our homes, but also, whenever they were needed to assist in supporting the recovery plan for our family. Unfortunately, that means hospitals, mental health facilities, rehabs, course, and prisons. Gene and Penny helped us navigate the insurance companies and Medical Assistance programs in order to gain needed access to care. They monitored and managed the treatment plans specific to the needs of our children at a time of major crisis and dysfunction for our family. Their efforts and guidance allowed us to gain back physical and emotional strength in order to focus our attention on fighting this disease in more healthy ways.

Both of our children are currently in recovery. We continued to utilized their professional services for individual counseling as needed. We would not hesitate to refer them to others in crisis. Their support and caring interventions saved our family.


-Dorothy B.

We will provide contact information for additional references upon request.

Special People Inspiring Recovery In Time

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