Eye on KELOLAND: A personal story of how The Link can connect


SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) – The link to downtown Sioux Falls has now been open for almost six months. It helps connect people to resources for addiction or mental health care.

Dylan Doescher, 27, of Sioux Falls, came to The Link a few days earlier this year.

“It was a brief, not even a week,” Doescher said. “I had been here for three days, just for the detox process.”

These are not easy topics to discuss in front of a television camera, and Doescher accepted KELOLAND News’ offer to have his face in the dark for this interview. He explains that he came to The Link because he was battling alcohol addiction.

“I was withdrawing from alcohol because I suffered from alcoholism and just addiction in general,” Doescher said.

He describes The Link as “the perfect fit”.

“It was elsewhere than in institutions like [Avera] Behavioral health and prison where a person who is in this position to overcome these withdrawals can go to go through the detox process in a safe environment with trusted staff, ”said Doescher.

“The vast majority of our clients come to us for addiction and substance abuse care,” said Madeline Miller, nurse manager at The Link. “Sometimes people get drunk and they just need a safe place to be watched until they get more sober. At that time, we have the opportunity to link them to local resources to support them or to provide training on withdrawal management or recovery and treatment services.

Miller says that by mid-November, The Link had received 1,775 hits. Among these 1775, 763 different people.

“The other main service offering we have is a medically monitored drug rehab program,” Miller said. “So we have an inpatient program where individuals can come and stay a few days to visit our care team, go through withdrawal.”

“One thing that I was very surprised to see is just the level of need,” said executive director Bill Earley. “We expected there would be a need, but it was very high. ”

The Link is financed by both public and private funds. Sanford Health, Avera Health, the City of Sioux Falls and the County of Minnehaha have all come together in this project.

“If The Link did not exist we would be back in the days before Link and those who may not have committed a crime or a very low level offender would end up in Minnehaha County Jail , they could end up in our emergency. bedrooms, ”Earlley said.

Dan Santella: If you hadn’t had The Link as an option, what do you think would have happened?

“Well, like the ledger says, prisons, institutions or death,” Doescher said.

He spent the night at The Link where he became more familiar with acceptance.

“I had just come out of the denial phase, and that’s where I started to move towards acceptance,” Doescher said. “It was a much needed stepping stone in this process to get me to where I am today.”

Given the sensitivity of these topics, KELOLAND News offered Doescher the opportunity not to use his real name in this story; he refused. We asked him why.

“Because addiction thrives, it’s been hidden, it’s been pushed in the dark for so long,” Doescher said.

We are approaching that time of the year when we wish people well more often: maybe a “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Holidays” or “Happy New Year”. Doescher, too, has wishes.

“I hope everyone who sees this, if they are struggling with an addiction, whatever that chemical or that substance, hope you reach out, hope you get some help , and I hope you find the peace and love you deserve. “says Doscher.

He shared these thoughts with us a few days before Thanksgiving. But his world can be measured by periods of time much shorter than 24 hours.

“I feel good, I mean I take it day by day, sometimes every moment, second by second if I have to, but I’m doing better than ever before, and it just gave me clarity , and I was just sick and tired of being sick and tired, “Doescher said.” So I’m getting to the point where I can maybe be okay again, and that’s what I really want. , it’s just a calm peace in my life. ”

Doescher tells KELOLAND News he has been sober for over two months.