An unlikely story

Evan FewsmithONCE IN A WHILE I have the incredible fortune of speaking with someone who sees a need for change in the community and makes it happen. Dr. Evan Fewsmith is the Founder and President of Pacific Solstice. He holds both a Master’s Degree in Marriage Family and Child Therapy, as well as a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. He is both an effective and passionate agent of change not only due to his decades of education training and clinical experience, but also from his own personal recovery from childhood sexual abuse/trauma, a severe learning disability, and over 28 years of sobriety from a 12 year long drug and alcohol addiction. He is also the Co-Founder of Strength in Support, a nonprofit clinic that offers support for veterans and their families, housed in the same building as Pacific Solstice.

Dr. Fewsmith believes the Orange County community is at great risk with an oncoming opioid epidemic. “For 20 years I have had a private practice in Mission Viejo. As a result, I treated a lot of the children from Coto de Caza, who went to Tesoro high school. I watched with horror the beginning of the opioid epidemic in the early 2000’s. As a recovering opioid addict myself, I could see the writing on the wall. There was little I could do to stop it. So, I figured if we could find a way to provide mental health services to so many veterans and their families, we could surely do something for ‘my people’ as well.”

Pacific Solstice Behavioral Health is a Jewish owned and operated business. “We are not a rehab, we are a Behavioral Health center. Most people don’t seem to understand that addiction is a mental health disorder. It is not a separate entity. The majority of people suffering from addiction, also have co-morbid issues with other mental health disorders occurring simultaneously. Therefore, it is essential that anyone suffering from addiction, be assessed, diagnosed, and treated by a mental health professional with an advanced graduate degree.

There is such a thing as competent, ethical, and efficacious treatment for chemical dependency and other mental health issues. People do get better!”

Dr. Fewsmith came from a successful Jewish family in Manhattan, however his family was ravaged by mental health and addiction issues. “My brothers and I were good old Jewish boys from a nice Jewish family. I grew up on Park Avenue! All three of us were extremely fortunate to attend the finest schools and best Jewish summer camps around, but the promise of our young lives were derailed by both mental health and addiction issues. I now have 28 years clean and sober and see how important it is to help our youth during traditional ages.” This inspired him to devote his life to recovery and helping others.

What I found so fascinating was the interweaving similarities between both groups – addicts and veterans. Emotionally, spiritually and physically their lives have been taken over, either by drugs or war. Dr. Fewsmith described to me the unlikely and beautiful comradery that occurs between both facilities and how there are many more similarities than differences. Not to mention the empathy and compassion they give one another.

They also believe that war and addiction is a family disease. “People are shocked when a veteran calls and I ask about their wife, their daughter, and their parents. I believe the family has served as well and been harmed and deserving of services.”

If you would like more information about Tricare/Military Services, Young Adults Re-Launch Program, or the Working Professionals Program please call 949-200-7929 or visit
www.PacificSolstice.com.
Tanya Schwied graduated from New York University, studied abroad in Israel, and works as the mangaer of Operations at Jewish Federation & Family Services, Orange County.

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