Oxford Houses for Recovering Alcohol and Drug Addicts Establish Reputation for Success; “Believing in Themselves”

January 1994 / Abell Reports / Criminal Justice and Addiction

But skeptics say selective admissions keeps program serving small numbers, and distorts success results.

In Maryland, there are as many as 85,000 alcohol and drug addicts considered by the Maryland Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration as “recovering.” All of them are in need of recovery; but only about 370 are in the Oxford House program. These 370, in terms of outlook for recovery, have reason to be particularly optimistic: the record shows that one year from the day they leave Oxford House, up to 80 percent will still be “clean,” sober and dry, and function­ing in the community. It is a record experts in the field term “highly suc­cessful.” But Oxford House’s recovering addicts do not credit this suc­cess to any breakthrough in profes­sional caregiving; rather, they say, they have only themselves to thank.

And Paul Molloy.

The storybook saga of Paul Molloy and his founding of Oxford House is well known in alcohol and drug recovery circles. In the 1960’s Molloy was a Washington establish­ment lawyer–former Republican counsel to the Senate Energy and Commerce Committee. At the same time, he was a drinker of two fifths of Canadian Club a day, a wife-beater, mental patient, and street drunk. But since 1975, when he was one of a dozen other recovering addicts in a halfway house in Montgomery County closing for lack of money, there has been still another Paul Molloy. This Paul Molloy became a man with a mission: to convert the halfway house where he himself was attempting to recover into what would become the first Oxford House, and then to replicate the model around the country.