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Community-Based 'Can We Talk' Therapy Program Helping Those Struggling With Addiction

BOSTON (CBS) - Talking about pain in your life can be a powerful healer and it's the idea behind a community-based program addressing mental health and trauma. "Can We Talk" is also helping those battling addiction.

"It was crippling," said Prentice Crowell, talking about his own addiction.

He's been recovering for eight years and now sees how Boston has struggled to clean up the drug hotspot known as Mass and Cass.

The tents are mostly gone, but the problems are still very much here.

"An addict is always fighting his addiction. You know for me I deal with my addition 24-7. Every day I have to deal with the fact that part of me still wants to use," he told WBZ-TV.

What has been a lifesaver for him, he says, is simply talking.

"It's important that we share our pain," he said.

He does that through "Can We Talk," a program with others who've experienced trauma. It was started by a member of our WBZ-TV family, Rev. Liz Walker.

Read: 'Can We Talk' Helps Trauma Survivors Share Stories Of Pain, Loss And Healing

They've been meeting once a week for talk therapy and discovered through their talking that, for most of them, there was something else at play besides just the trauma, and that was a connection to addiction.

"'Can We Talk' has been able to lessen that fear, has been able to give people hope again," said recovery counselor Doug Lomax. "We talk about the pain. Before we weren't talking about the pain, we were medicating ourselves," he said. He and Crowell even started an offshoot of the group, especially for men.

They hope by talking more, they can inspire other addicts into recovery.

"I say I've been homeless all my life. I just now got my name on a lease, so it's definitely possible," said Crowell. "You've just got to want it more than the drugs."

But people can't do it alone, he said. Having a support system, and people to talk to, he says, can save lives.

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