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By Anthony Moreno

December 20, 2012 (San Diego) -- Not many people would give their personal cell phone number out on live television, but Jeanne McAlister, Founder and CEO of McAlister Institute, will do whatever she can to get someone suffering from substance abuse into treatment.  She founded the institute, a 501(c)(3), in 1977. Thirty-five years later, it operates 25 drug treatment programs throughout San Diego and is one of the largest and most diverse AOD (Alcohol and Other Drugs) treatment providers in the county.

With 56 years of sobriety, Jeanne’s passion for recovery is deeply-rooted and brought on by her own experiences. If you are looking for a story about the long, vicious cycle of addiction, however, you will be hard-pressed to hear it from her. Instead, Jeanne chooses to focus on what she believes is the most powerful part of her story: recovery works.

Now, with a heart full of empathy, she has dedicated her life to helping people transform their lives. McAlister Institute currently serves more than 2,500 people each month in San Diego. It is headquartered in El Cajon and has locations in La Mesa, Clairemont, Chula Vista, Ramona, Oceanside, Lemon Grove and a recently opened treatment center in Napa County. Its mission is to provide professional services that help heal the lives of individuals and families while improving the quality of life in communities through the miracle of recovery from addiction.

Jeanne carries her personal passion and commitment to recovery into every facet of McAlister Institute. The organization has earned recognition in the region through its dedication to serving every individual who comes through its door—regardless of ability to pay—and offers high-quality services for men, women, children, adolescents, parents with children and pregnant women.

“We treat all clients with dignity and respect regardless of their background,” McAlister states. “Our approach is based on the assumption that recovery is a life-long process requiring a continuum of community support, and that those who are successfully navigating recovery provide the strongest models for hope and change.”

This 80-year-old grandmother of two works with the same passion and energy that she had when she first founded the agency, and this feeling and drive is mirrored by anyone who has ever had contact with the organization. The staff at McAlister Institute includes many who themselves are in recovery; together, the institute represents more than 1,000 years of recovery.

As a nonprofit entity, McAlister Institute relies on the kindness and generosity of the community to help fund its programs and services. For additional information on the McAlister Institute or to make a donation, please visit

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