Gateway Newsletter Fall Winter 2019

To download the Gateway in PDF format, click here.

Employee Spotlight: Joy Bechtold, Saluting 43 Years of Service

If one word could describe Joy Bechtold, it would be consistent. In her own words, “I’ve had the same husband for 46 years, the same house, and the same job!” This consistency turned out to be the recipe for a fulfilling career and life she feels privileged to live.

Joy was raised in High Point, NC, the youngest child of five. After high school, she earned her nursing degree at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She began her nursing career at Moses Cone Hospital where she worked the evening shift in the medical surgical department.

Her co-worker, Trixie Cruise, told her about Fellowship Hall. She spoke highly of the Hall and told her of an open nursing position. Joy applied, got an interview, but not the position. Two weeks later, after another nurse didn’t work out, Joy received the call and was offered the position.

It was in 1976, at the tender age of 23,  when Joy joined the Fellowship Hall team. “My first impression of Fellowship Hall was just as Trixie said, I loved the place.”

In those days Fellowship Hall offered a 28-day treatment program for those suffering from alcohol addiction, housed in one building with a capacity to serve 48 guests. The nursing department was staffed with five-to-six nurses – and not all nurses were full-time employees.

“We were on the ‘Dupont’ schedule which rotated each week and operated with the fewest number of nurses needed to cover everything.”

And the medical staff was very different, too. “We had a doctor who was in private practice that came by on appointments to visit with the guests here,” Joy recalls. “To be able to treat many different addictions and to have medical professionals on staff is a great thing.”

Not only was the number of staff different then, but also the relationship between staff and guests. “During those days, they encouraged us to mingle with the guests. I learned to play pool, ping pong, cards, and smoke,” she laughs.

In 1981, Joy left Fellowship Hall to work first shift at a private practice in order to start her family. She stayed there for one year and then took a year off to spend time with her first child. After two-and-a-half years away, she returned to the place she loved, Fellowship Hall.

“I belonged here. It has been a good fit. I had other plans for my career, but the Hall is where I felt I needed to be,” she said. In November, after 43 years at the Hall, Joy plans to retire. In the meantime, she’s still working on her plans after retirement, but one thing is for sure, she plans to do more of the things she loves to do.

“I’ll probably make jewelry again, do crossword puzzles, and go to the beach!”

Sandra Barclay, Director of Nursing had this to say, “Joy has been an inspiration to me throughout my entire career at Fellowship Hall. She taught me compassion and understanding for the addicted. This is a bittersweet moment for all of us who have worked with Joy for so many years. We will miss her dearly!”


Message from Mike Yow, President & CEO

I recently enjoyed a nice walk on the Meditation Trail after lunch. The fall temperatures made it especially pleasant as I noticed our newest additions along the Trail, inspirational messages hand-painted by our staff on fist-sized river rocks. They are pretty cool, adding another medium for us to deliver the message of recovery and create a sense of magic for everyone who walks there. A few weeks ago, our staff gathered for an ice cream social and had some fun painting these rocks with motivational thoughts, bright colors, and whimsical motifs.

It’s been a busy late summer and start to fall. To celebrate National Recovery Month, we held our 2nd Annual Ride for Recovery on September 21st, attracting 35 motorcycle enthusiasts and raising nearly $5,000 for the Partner Scholarship Fund. We are so grateful. We also co-hosted the first Empowering Women in Recovery Tea with one of our Scholarship Partners, Caring Services of High Point, NC; it was a tremendous success. Earlier in September, we partnered with the Healthy Relationships Initiative to host a workshop for treatment professionals on the topic of breaking down barriers between women and recovery. In August, our annual golf tournament set a fund-raising record to support our Family Program Scholarships and the Annual Conference which follows the golf tournament, was a hit, offering one of the best lineup of speakers in recent memory. The FH Council did an excellent job presenting the Conference as did our loyal golf committee. We are continually grateful to all of our volunteers for their hard work and ongoing support.

In the last few months we’ve been operating with higher numbers of guests, working hard to serve them well and fulfill our mission. We have been diligently working on different initiatives in the hopes of increasing our census numbers. We are involved in several collaborations and partnerships anticipating they will bring more people and their families in need to Fellowship Hall, including working groups with Wake Med in Raleigh and our Scholarship Partners. We have also met with NC Department of Health and Human services (DHHS) representatives, as well as our local elected state representatives, to see where we can build bridges in innovative ways and open our doors to more people in need. I am excited about the possibilities that are ahead of us.

September 30th marked the close of our fiscal year; each October we take a look back at the year just passed and review our progress. You’ll find our 2019 Impact Report in this issue of Gateway, evidence of the challenges we face as a substance use provider. Not all treatment centers are created equally, and as competition in the treatment industry stiffens, many of those struggling with substance use disorder, and their families, are left with more questions than solutions.

FY 2019 was a tough year for us and many facilities like ours across the country. We saw fewer women in treatment, fewer family members in the family program, and another year with an operating  deficit on our books. On the flip side, we were able to help 6 people get treatment this year thanks to your contributions to the Partner Scholarship Fund – and your support to the Annual Fund was vital, helping us to decrease the gap between revenue and expenses for our day-to-day operations. 

We are so grateful for your support. We’ll be kicking off our 2020 Annual Fund soon with the goal of raising $250,000 to help with our operating expenses. We’ll also be working to raise $120,000 for the Partner Scholarship Program, to help those in need have access to treatment. We hope you are able to continue your support for our mission again this year.

As we continue our efforts at Alumni engagement, we’re also asking for your ideas on how to better serve our alumni. We are looking for Alumni in the Charlotte, Capital, and Wilmington areas who want to be involved in helping us coordinating events in those regions. If you are an Alum of our treatment or Family programs – and interested in helping us plan and coordinate regional alumni gatherings – please contact me, Altina Layman or Warren Lowder, here at the Hall.

Gratitude is my word for this season. Thank you for being a part of the Fellowship Hall family. I look forward to hearing from you or seeing you at an upcoming Alumni Gathering!



Click here to Download a copy of the full report

At Fellowship Hall, we are committed to saving lives form the disease of addiction and serving as a resource for our community. We are grateful for the support of our donors, volunteers, and staff, all of which make our mission possible. Despite financial challenges this year from an operating perspective, you helped us to provide access to care for those in need, financial assistance to help folks complete treatment, and scholarships to family members. We welcome this opportunity to share with you, our stakeholders, the progress we’ve made in providing quality treatment, at an affordable rate, for those who suffer from substance use disorder. We couldn’t do this important work without you. Thank you for supporting our life-saving work.


To help people who suffer from substance use disorder, and to provide compassionate, cost-effective care while maintaining our commitment to a Twelve-Step philosophy.


We believe the success of Fellowship Hall is directly related to a set of collective values that we hold, share, and practice. These values form a basis of every action we take toward guests, family members, volunteers, and each other. They are: integrity, honesty, dependability, quality, responsibility, attitude, service, compassion, and partnerships.

In our second year of raising support to provide access to treatment for those in need, you helped us to award 6 scholarships to individuals in need of treatment this year. With your help, we also provided $135,806 in Financial Assistance to guests experiencing financial hardships during treatment. Through our annual golf tournament, we raised funds to cover 124 scholarships for family members to attend the Family Program.

Total # of Guests Served: 1,685 (1007 Guests in treatment; 678 Family members in Family Program)

Who We Serve:
PRIMARY DIAGNOSIS:    65% Alcohol   |   18% Opiates   |   11% Other   |   7% Stimulants
AREAS SERVED:    91% NC   |   3% SC   |   3% VA   |   3% Other States
AGES:    20% 18-25 Yrs   |   44% 26-45 Yrs   |   36% 46+ Yrs
GENDER:   69% Men   |  31% Women

















Through our Annual Fund campaign, 42% of all donations supported our day-to-day operations. The remaining 58% of donations went to support our Partner Scholarship Fund, Financial Assistance Fund, Family Program Fund, and Capital Improvements. All Donations outside of our Annual Fund are not included in Operating Revenue, as they are restricted to support these specific initiatives.


October is the beginning of a new year at Fellowship Hall, and as we look ahead, we want to share our plans for the coming year. As the African proverb says, “it takes a village” to affect long-term change and that certainly is descriptive of our work to help those suffering from alcohol and drug addiction. Our 2020 Vision is putting our mission into sharp focus and calling on you, our village of alumni and friends, to help us.

YOU play an important role in the work that we do. Many of the individuals and families that come to Fellowship Hall find their way here because you showed them the way. Many of those same people are helped by the gifts that you so generously give to us – as a volunteer, as a donor, and as an ambassador for our organization.

As we begin this new year together, we will stay focused on providing the highest level of care to those with substance use disorder and true to our Twelve-Step philosophy. We invite you to join us, get engaged, get plugged in, and help us save lives. Here’s how:

Nothing is more encouraging than talking with someone who has been through treatment and has found long-term recovery. All year long, we need volunteers to help us conduct 5th steps with guest in treatment and serve as drivers to take our guests to local meetings. Our all-volunteer Fellowship Hall Council plans, organizes, and presents our conference every August and our Golf Committee works to raise support through our annual golf tournament for scholarships to the Family Program. If you’re interested in serving in any of these capacities, contact Wayne Smith at, and he’ll help you find the best place to put your talents to work.

If you’re an alum of Fellowship Hall, we need your help! This year, we’ll be working to grow our Alumni Program across NC. We’re looking for alumni to help us plan engaging gatherings in the Triad, Capital, Charlotte, and Wilmington regions. As a member of the Planning Committee, you can help us develop outings and gatherings that offer continuing support, fellowship, and networking with one-another across the state. One of the essential elements of maintaining recovery is staying connected to like-minded people. If this sounds like something you want to help us move forward, contact Altina Layman at Our goal is to meet before the holidays and map out a plan for Alumni Gatherings each quarter, in each region. If you don’t have time to serve, but would like to send your ideas for outings or gatherings that would interest you, contact Altina so we can build the program to be what you would like it to be.

Through the Annual Fund…We need your help to bridge the gap between providing quality treatment and covering the cost. Gifts to our Annual Fund help us with day-to-day expenses of providing treatment. For the last four years, we’ve closed the books with a deficit – spending more on operations than we generated in revenue. Your gift can help us close the gap.

Through the Partner Scholarship Fund…In 2018, we launched the Partner Scholarship Fund to create access to treatment for individuals who lack insurance and financial resources. Our goal this year is to provide 8 scholarships. The number of scholarships we can provide is determined by the dollars we raise; at $17,000 per scholarship, it takes a village to provide this opportunity for our less fortunate folks.

Click here to donate now!

Being an ambassador for Fellowship Hall is one of the simplest ways you can save a life. The latest data on substance use disorder is that 1 out of every 7 people will suffer from addiction to alcohol or drugs. Every day, you come into contact with people who may need help. If you think they could benefit from our services, we simply ask that you tell them about Fellowship Hall and what we do. Information about our treatment programs is easily found on our website at – or ask them to call us for more information. Our admissions staff is here to help.

Thank you in advance for lending a hand to those in need. As the 12th step so aptly states, “to keep it, you have to give it away.” In order to work the 12 steps, we must all try to help others. We couldn’t do what we do, without you. Thank you.



The 2019 E. Raymond Alexander Jr. Memorial Golf Tournament was a HUGE success! This year’s tournament was held at a new venue, The Cardinal Country Club in Greensboro, and was sold out with a full slate of 132 players comprising 33 teams for a full playing field.

Each year, the tournament is our biggest fundraising event, supporting scholarships for one family member of each guest in treatment to attend the four-day Family Program at Fellowship Hall, free of charge. Thanks to our many sponsors and players, the Golf Committee raised more than $60,000 – the most ever – to support the Family Program. We were fortunate to have many sponsors and supporters and a great Golf Committee to pull it all together. 

Thank you to all of our sponsors and our Golf Committee comprised of Mike Gorson, Tod Collett, Carol Alexander, Bill Benson, Sharon DeEsch, Nick Martinez, Jake Nicholson, Beverly Davies, Earl Huffman, Skip Sevier, Stewart Black, and Nathan Sparrow.

This year’s winners were James Amidon, Steve Johnson, Michael Holshouser, and Rich Vellucci representing Pinnacle Bank. Second place team was Tiger’s Army 1 represented by Chris Anderson, Jacob Mullen, Phil Anderson and Tony Anderson. 3rd place went to Fellowship Hall’s own Richie Wright (facilities staff) and his team with Abe Setliff, Jake Loye, and Jordan Goins. The 2019 Spirit of Ray was awarded to Ogi Overman.

Thank you to our sponsors!



Each Day Brings New Hope was the theme of our conference this year… and it certainly brought hope, encouragement, and insight to the more than 500 alumni and friends who attended.

A big thank you goes out to our Fellowship Hall Council, a group of dedicated volunteers who work all year long to present the Conference, from finding and securing outstanding speakers to presenting our first-time ever panel discussion on Recovery in the 21st Century.

The Council is already at work on our 2020 Conference, working hard to secure another slate of great speakers and a theme that celebrates recovery during our annual homecoming event.

Special thanks to all Council members: Stacy Bottoms, Tyler Byrd, Joe Campagna, Katie Coleman, Brian Coss, Deborah Daggett, Mark Denton, Jerry Eades, Jonathan Elliott, Emily Fannin, Stephanie Graham, Mark Graham, Perry Hunt, Jr., Enrico Jones, Cameron Lane, Lee Lassiter, Ed Leake, Thomas Link, Roger March, Michael McCollum, Scott Patella, Tony Sizemore, Thomas Storrs, Terri Waters, and Don Wingate.




How did you learn about the Hall?
My wife did an intervention on me in 2001. The person who helped her went to Fellowship Hall. My sister asked her, “Where would you send your brother?” and she said, “Fellowship Hall because that’s the place that saved my life.” Looking back at it today, it was the best gift my wife could have ever given me.

I came to the Hall that week to make sure it was a place that was acceptable to me (said my big ego). I drove up to take a tour and an assessment. I took the evaluation and told the person that I spoke to that it was the first test I had passed in years, even lying on some answers.   They told me, “We have a bed for you here, and yes, you need help.”  I know how the dog feels going to the vet!  I think my wife was driving about 85 mph trying to hurry up and drop me at the Hall.

How did you become a Board member?
Jerry Shelton invited me to serve.  I think so much of Jerry; I was honored to serve. I do a lot of work with sponsees and other things in my community, but Fellowship Hall gives me an opportunity to give back. It is an honor and a privilege to give back to the place that saved my life, my marriage and the new life I have today. Before the Hall I wasn’t living, I was just existing.

How does it feel to walk on the campus of Fellowship Hall now?
A buddy of mine (Cal. D – I met in treatment) and I have been coming to the Conference for 18 years. Coming back to Fellowship Hall puts into perspective how much I have grown and how I wanted to continue to change my life.

Who is Robert Lazorik?
I’m a funny guy. I’m a character. I’m spontaneous, love to travel, and I love the beach. I just love to be around water. It’s like therapy for me to get on a jet ski or a boat and feel the wind. I can see God’s beautiful creations everywhere. By being in recovery, I get to do all the things that I never got to do while drinking and drugging, every day  is a gift!  That’s what I call LIVING!  I play golf every Sunday after my AA meeting with men in the fellowship and have been doing that for about 15 years now.

What’s your best tip for recovery?
It’s all about attitude and action. Before recovery, I had a crappy attitude and I procrastinated about everything. Today I have an attitude of gratitude and that helps me with my actions. And it all comes from God. He tells me what to do now.



By Ogi Overman

Maybe I haven’t been paying attention. Maybe I haven’t been going to enough meetings. Maybe it’s a northern thing that hasn’t made its way down south. Or maybe I’m just slow.

But whatever the case, I recently heard an adage at a speaker meeting that I’d never heard, one that made so much sense that it was astounding how it had escaped me all these many years. The powerful speaker was from New York (hence the northern thing) who’d moved south a few years ago. He was describing his early attempts at sobriety, about going to counselors and getting assessments that would determine whether or not he was an alcoholic. He went on to describe an old-timer’s response when told of the list of yes/no questions. The old-timer sprinkled in a few invectives while telling him to forget the list of questions, that there are only two questions he needed to ask himself. This may not be verbatim, but they were:

Has alcohol ever caused you to do something you regretted?

And, has alcohol ever prevented you from doing something you wanted to?

If you answered yes to both those questions, with apologies to Jeff Foxworthy, you might be an alcoholic.

I sat there stunned through the rest of his talk at the simple yet brutal truth contained in those two questions. My mind raced back to all the embarrassing, thoughtless, selfish and illegal acts I’d committed under the influence of alcohol, while at the same time wondering what I may have been able to accomplish had I not ever picked up that first drink. Suddenly, I landed on a contradiction. As we all know, the Promises tell us that we “will not regret the past nor wish to change it.” Yet, here I was, grappling with something I thought I had resolved decades ago. As I sunk into a bit of a mini-depression thinking of all the things I wish I could take back and wondering what might have been, it dawned on me why the founders put that phrase in the Promises. First of all, the past can’t be changed, so worrying about it is futile; second, it impedes our philosophy of living in the moment, one day at a time; and third, if carried to its illogical extreme, it may well sew the seeds of doubt and regret that lead to a drink. And in that moment I was a prime example of the destructive nature of that kind of self-pity and regret.

Fortunately, I’d been around AA long enough to snap out of it pretty quickly. Not long afterward, my mind turned to another phrase, this one very familiar, the one I wrote about last issue in my tribute to Mose Kiser — his mantra from the July 13 meditation in the “Twenty-Four Hours a Day” book telling us to “Be Expectant. Constantly expect better things. Believe that what God has in store for you is better than anything you ever had before. …”

And at that moment, all was right with the world once again. Then I thought of another truism that I’ve carried around with me for years, one that I heard — where else? — at a speaker meeting. It boils the Steps down to three truths and eight words:

Trust Your Higher Power. Clean house. Help others.

I have a feeling that’s what Dr. Bob meant when he cautioned Bill to “keep it simple.”



Check for the latest Alumni Gatherings in your area. We’re working to plan events in January, March, June, and September.

April 26, 2020 in Downtown Greensboro

July 31, 2020 at The Cardinal Country Club in Greensboro

July 31 – August 2, 2020 at the Marriott in  Downtown Greensboro

September 19, 2020 at the O.Henry Hotel in Greensboro, NC

September 26, 2020 for a nice country ride to Fellowship Hall.

VISIT for the full details and registration information!



On September 14, we held our first ever Empowering Women in Recovery Tea in partnership with Caring Services in High Point. A sold out crowd joined us for Tea and to hear the success stories of two local women in recovery. Proceeds went to support treatment at  Fellowship Hall through our Scholarship Fund and treatment at Caring Services.

35 motorcyclists came out for our 2nd Annual Ride4Recovery on September 21 for a beautiful 51-mile ride across the countryside to Fellowship Hall. Guilford County Sheriff’s Department led the group and kept the wheels rollin’! Friends from Greensboro Elks Lodge 602 joined us and presented Fellowship Hall with a check for $4,848 to support the Scholarship Fund. The gift helped us reach our goal and raise more than $128,000 for scholarships to treatment.



The countdown to the holidays is on!  For many, holidays mean delightful aromas, twinkling lights and celebrations with friends and family. For some, along with the anticipation of sharing joyous times together comes the realization that the holidays can be challenging when you’re in recovery. But, there is good news! It doesn’t have to be a struggle if you make a plan for your holiday self-care. Planning holiday self-care promotes your responsibility for recovery.  It requires you to spend time and energy focusing on you and becoming comfortable with being clean and sober. The best part is you don’t have to do it alone. Here are five tips to help you develop an effective self-care plan for the upcoming holiday season:

Make time to attend extra meetings
Look for opportunities to attend extra AA or NA meetings in conjunction with your normal meeting days. Keep in mind that the more meetings you attend during the holidays, the more likely you are to remain clean and sober, preventing a relapse. A special tip: attend a meeting on the holiday before beginning the festivities.

Stay in contact with your support network
Connecting with those who support your recovery is crucial. After all, that’s what they’re there for, to help you through the tough times when you need them the most.  So, don’t try to do it alone. Reach out to your therapist, recovery friends and family, and to your sponsor.

Come early, leave early
Arriving a bit early to the party and leaving early will enable you to have the best of both worlds. You can stay long enough to enjoy time with your friends and family but, leave early to avoid any behaviors that may trigger your desire to use. Special tip: take a friend who is also in recovery with you and serve as one another’s accountability partners.

As much as possible, maintain a normal schedule
During the holidays there may be some deviation from your daily routine but, as much as possible, try to maintain your regular schedule. This means continuing your work schedule, getting plenty of rest and finding time to do productive things that you enjoy. Your holiday self-care plan should create a balance between activities and rest. This will help you to avoid triggering dangerous emotions like stress or boredom.

Opt out when you need to
Understand that it is OK to say no to an invitation. Do an evaluation of who is attending and what type of activities are planned.  Then, determine if going will threaten your recovery in any way. If so, don’t feel bad. Just politely thank the host and decline the invitation. People who are in your corner for recovery will understand.

Investing time to prepare for self–care allows you to think of the holiday season in a different way and marks the start of a new tradition in your life of recovery.

Special thanks to the Fellowship Hall Counselors who contributed to this article.


“The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.” ~ Arthur C. Clarke