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Seabrook House founder honored by Livengrin Foundation

October 11, 2012
by Shannon Brys, Associate Editor
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Seabrook House Founder, Margaret "Peg" Diehl, was recently honored with the Standish F. Hansell Award for Excellence in Addiction Treatment.  This distinctive recognition lauded her dedication to providing assistance for those struggling with addiction, along with offering support services to a patient's family members.

The award is made by Livengrin Foundation, of Bensalem, PA, to acknowledge significant efforts in the field of addiction services and related cultural, medical and policy advances undertaken by its honorees. 

"It was truly an honor to see my mother be recognized for her hard work and dedication over the years by others in the addiction treatment field," said Ed Diehl, President of Seabrook House and son of Peg Diehl.  "My mother co-founded Seabrook House in 1974, and has been devoted to a 'family treatment approach.'  She saw firsthand the importance of providing support services to spouses, parents and the children of those struggling with addiction. It was her desire to establish a treatment center closer to home in South Jersey, where both patients and family members could work towards recovery together."

Mrs. Diehl began a nearly 45 year journey of healing from the effects of living with alcoholism and addiction when she, along with her alcoholic husband, first reached for help in 1968, stated Ed Diehl. As Peg and Jerry began to discover how to follow and truly begin to live their programs of recovery, they witnessed families much less fortunate try, but slip repeatedly in and out of AA. 

At that time, the newly established National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, was seeking innovative projects to discover new approaches to treatment.  Jerry and Peg Diehl chose to submit a research application to start a treatment center closer to home in South Jersey, that focused on supporting the family as well as treating the addiction. 

Mrs. Diehl observed that, in earlier times, "Wives would drop their husbands off at the door of rehabs and at best be given a warm smile and an AlAnon meeting list.  We need to treat the loved ones.  Families are deeply affected and deserve professional attention too."

Seabrook House was then awarded two years of NIAAA funding to demonstrate the new organization's "family treatment approach".  Thanks to Peg's personal struggle and the experience of her recovery, Seabrook House was funded as the first project of the new agency.

"My mother led the development of Seabrook House's clinical program when its doors opened in June of 1974, " said Ed Diehl, "Her influence has brought equal attention to the alcoholic's significant others.  Family members were to become Seabrook House's patients, too."

"The Hansell Award is named for our visionary founder, who created the Foundation as one of Pennsylvania's first nonprofit addiction treatment nonprofits in 1966.  It's a singular distinction when we present the award, to honor someone such as Peg who has made the help and hope of recovery a life's work and passion," observed Livengrin CEO Richard M. Pine.