Thirty-three years ago on December 6, 1983, South Boston native Dan Lynch (DL to his friends) woke up in his apartment on Swallow Street sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Later that day he checked himself into an inpatient rehabilitation program. What was a very personal and private journey turned into an admirable and highly respected professional career spanning thirty years and helping countless people just like himself.
Today, the 62-year old father of two, now a resident in Scituate owns the The Lynch Wellness Professional Group, a private rehabilitation practice dedicated “to rebuilding lives and restoring hope for individuals and families facing substance use disorders.” Dan’s team offers “behavioral health services, including intervention and personalized therapy, as part of a comprehensive and balanced treatment program.”
Dan’s lifelong mentor, Paul McDevitt, himself a fierce advocate for addiction counseling and recovery, introduced him to the Paraclete in South Boston.
“I was doing some consulting for Caron Treatment Centers when Paul approached me about helping out with programming and fundraising for the Paraclete,” says Lynch. “When Paul asked me for something, there was no discussion – I would do anything for Paul, and my involvement with the Paraclete began,” he added.
“Addiction and abuse do not discriminate by zip code or tax bracket – its reaches are without boundaries. And especially today, with the opioid crisis and the availability of cheap and highly potent heroin the rise in addiction and overdose is at an all time crisis level,” says Lynch.
“Programs like the Paraclete keep kids occupied, interested and in a safe environment. And it is especially important to talk to these kids about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse and begin EARLY – start talking to kids at home, in school and in after school environments.”
Lynch recalls rampant alcoholism and drug abuse when he was growing up in the Old Harbor (now Maryellen McCormack) housing development in South Boston. He lived there for 28 years.
“We were easy targets for dealers or for latching on to alcohol to make us feel better. There was such a lack of opportunity for us kids to experience different aspects of life. And when you think there is no hope or no way to better your life, it is easy to turn to a substance to ease the pain,” he added.
“Honestly I wish my services were not needed,” he says. “But the reality is that we are a society with a harsh stigma towards those dealing with addiction and that makes the addict and the vice that much stronger.”
Lynch has been sober for 33 years.
“I just want people and families to know that there is help, and it can work. It’s a daily battle – it never goes away. But it can be managed. Help is here.”
Patrick Burke, host committee member and longtime friend of DL is thrilled that his friend is being honored. “As a member of the host committee for the Paraclete event and a longtime friend of DL from growing up together in the in old harbor projects, it is my pleasure and that of the entire committee to honor him,” said Burke. “I’ve watched him grow into an incredibly great person – a caring, kind thoughtful father, brother, uncle and friend, but most importantly a revered professional in the business to helping people help themselves in recovery,” he added.
The Paraclete Annual Reception takes place on Wednesday, March 1st at 6:30pm at BC High. For ticket information visit here!