Indiana Rehabilitation Unit, Now a Year Old,
Is Praised by Patients and Experts
Special to The New York Times

NEW CASTLE, Ind, Sept. 10, 1955
     The Indiana Rehabilitation Center, which treats alcoholics, will celebrate its
first year of operation Sept. 15.
     State health officials and national leaders of Alcoholics Anonymous will
attend, according to Bob W., administrator of the home, which some thirty
patients now under treatment whimsically call "the finishing school." Patients
and staff will join in the celebration.
     The first patients were received at the center Sept. 1, 1954. Patients
volunteer for admission. An alcoholic merely asks a Circuit Court judge to
commit him. After a brief medical and psychiatric check-up at a state hospital,
the patient, is admitted to the center. He is under state jurisdiction for six
months but the average stay here has been only forty-one days.
     The patient can still vote, drive a car and exercise other legal rights, under
the 1953 Indiana law concerning alcoholics.
     This year the Indiana Legislature provided for upkeep of the home by
increasing the license fees of liquor dealers by $30 a year. Patients, if they are
not adjudged indigent pay about $10 a week for their treatment.
     Therapy is conducted along lines recommended by Alcoholics
Anonymous. Medical and psychiatric care is provided.
     Only a few states have similar institutions and none, according to Mr. W.,
is exactly like the Indiana center. Results so far have been encouraging. Many
of the patients had not been cured at private institutions or Alcoholics
Anonymous meetings.
24 Hours a Day
     "One reason the state home succeeds where we sometimes fail is that the
rehabilitation center gets a man twenty-four hours a day while we get him only
an hour or two a week," a leader in Alcoholics Anonymous explained. "We
think they're doing a fine job out there."
     The home was formerly used by the Indiana Epileptic Village. It is a brick
mansion in picturesque farming country. Patients have cut timber and
constructed an annex to receive twenty additional patients. They are making a
small lake. They are kept busy at manual work, mostly outdoors, from dawn to
dusk. The only rules are that a man must keep his bed and his clothing clean,
shave every morning, wear proper clothing at meals and not smoke in bed.
     Otherwise, they are on their own. Mr. W., who is a member of Alcoholics
Anonymous, says "freedom is part of the treatment."
     "We want a man to build up confidence, in himself and straighten out his
thinking." he said. "He can do this best when he's not nagged and lectured."
     Dr. Fred E. Lawrence, medical director of the Indiana Commission on
Alcoholics and a psychiatrist, interviews patients on admittance and visits the
home several times a week. He uses no unusual psychiatric procedures. Nor is
there any psychiatric couch for lengthy analysis procedures. Dr. Lawrence
regards the alcoholic as an immature, egocentric individual who needs to learn
to think and act for himself and to cooperate with others.
Week-End Passes
       "In many subtle ways we teach him to become a free man again." Dr.
Lawrence said.
Patients are allowed week-end passes and relatives may visit them any time.
Alcoholics Anonymous members from near-by towns come to the home for
Thursday night discussions. Patients advise and help each other. They come
from all walks of life and many have held excellent jobs. No women patients
are admitted.
     Nearly 300 patients have been treated at the center. After they leave,
officials keep in close touch with them and their families. The first 100 patients
had been discharged by last March. As of July 22, sixty-two of these were
reported sober and gainfully employed. Dr. Lawrence, without pronouncing
them cured, says better than 60 per cent of discharged patients to date have not
been reported as regressed.
     Several patients interviewed commented on the good treatment they
received at the home and expressed confidence in their ability to avoid drinking
in the future.
     "This place has saved my life," a Navy veteran said. "I bummed around all
over the country and was on Skid Row in dozens of cities. A fellow in the
Richmond, Indiana jail told me about this place. I applied for treatment and I
think I've got the thing licked."
The Indiana Rehabilitation Center