David Pisarra

What began in 1970 as an act of decency by a group of recovering alcoholics handing out blankets and coffee to those still suffering from the disease of alcoholism, has grown into a multi-disciplinary campus of services saving people’s lives. The Clare Foundation heard the call to help others 50 ago, and today is now CLARE | Matrix, a full service residential, outpatient, research and training campus that continues, and expands upon the work of the founders.

This November, CLARE | Matrix will host a virtual 50th anniversary celebration honoring one of my friends, Wendy Adamson, author of Mother Load. You may recognize her name from a column I wrote about her journey from the insanity of drug addiction to recovered addict as told in her memoir. Wendy turned her life around due to the efforts of CLARE and the many donors and supporters who make their mission possible.

Each year hundreds gather to raise funds for the services that CLARE provides. This year, with no in person events allowed for large crowds, the 50th Celebration is going virtual thanks to Champion Sponsors Chuck Lorre and the Werner Family Foundation.

The community of Santa Monica has supported CLARE all these years, “because of the work they do that saves lives. I’ve seen many people go from unhappy, very sad people to successful mothers and fathers. It’s a great thing to watch” said CLARE donor Anne Pearson.

I spoke with Dr. Lisa Steele, the current CEO of CLARE | Matrix on the purpose of this big gala virtual event. “It’s not about the money for us, our number 1 priority is to raise awareness about the fact that recovery can and does happen, and we want to help the people who need it. Our success comes from our core values and what we are trying to do as an organization, helping people that no one else wants to help. Others don’t have the hope for these people that we do. We want to help them see that they’re more than their addiction, and to see a new journey for themselves.”

This dedication to a greater purpose is echoed throughout the conversations I’ve had with people about CLARE and its role in our community. CLARE board member Debra Feinberg said, “I have three big reasons for wanting to help, 1) I believe that addiction is a public health crisis, and the continuing stigma is crushing lives I understand it historically, but it’s pure devastation all the way around. Addiction as a brain disease – I believe in trying to educate people on the fact that it’s a disease, not a moral failing on the part of the addict. Two, I think people should get services to open the opportunity for them to come into recovery and stay alive even if they can’t pay for it, and 3) it’s about saving lives, I can only do so much if I do 1:1 work, but supporting CLARE | Matrix is the stone into the pond where I can impact a lot of other people I would not otherwise be able to impact.”

In these dark days of “what’s in it for me” and pointing the finger of accusation at so many who are suffering through no fault of their own, it is a pleasant change to see that an organization like CLARE |Matrix is providing services to those in need. As their funding faces a near constant threat from the cuts that are being imposed by the Federal government and the state government, now is the time for our community to come together again and support this organization that provides so much to so many.

On Sunday November 15th the virtual 50th anniversary party will go live with special guests Alonzo Bodden, Russell Brand, Josh Brolin, Susan Burton, Jamie Lee Curtis, Billy Gardell, Craig T. Nelson, Courtney Thorne-Smith, and Danny Trejo. There will be a Silent Auction with the opportunity to have one on one time with Jamie Lee Curtis, Russell Brand and other amazing auction items. And yes, there will be the ever popular Swag Bags for those who register early and want the experience of a surprise bag of goodies!

You can register at https://www.clarematrix.org/event/50th-anniversary-virtual-event/ and support one of our community’s great non-profits that is tackling the twin problems of addiction and mental health.

David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at dpisarra@pisarra.com or 310/664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra