Eric Bolton, CEO of Duffy’s Napa Valley Rehab, hasn’t always worked in the addiction treatment industry.
Growing up in the San Gabriel Valley, “Like a lot of people in L.A. I got hooked on acting and then pursued it professionally,” he said.
Bolton received a degree in theater but later decided to earn a graduate degree in social work.
“I wanted to work in a field that was geared towards helping people,” said Bolton.
In 2013, Bolton was hired by Duffy’s in Calistoga, “and it changed the course of my career,” he said.
1. How did you get into the addiction recovery industry?
A number of my friends and family members were encountering health and mental health challenges, including addiction.
I always had a strong empathetic response to those who live with the burden of overwhelming personal challenges, and since deciding to change my life course, doors have continued to open up for me.
It might sound cliché, but I felt I was led into this field.
2. What is one of the best parts of your job?
Seeing people transform from when they arrive here — feeling sick, helpless and hopeless — to become well again.
3. What’s a typical question you get when people find out you work for Duffy’s?
It doesn’t take long for the conversation to lead to “I know someone that has a problem.”
4. What’s your reply to those people?
It’s very common. The disease touches all of us. There’s undoubtedly someone in your life somewhere either struggling with it or genetically predisposed to struggling with it.
The good news is there is treatment. I get to see that happen all the time.
5. What is the biggest challenge your industry has faced?
The opiate /opioid epidemic sweeping our country (more than 33,000 deaths in 2016, according to the CDC) and the lack of affordable healthcare options for individuals who need treatment.
6. If you could change one thing about your industry, what would it be?
To provide educational information to those people who still believe alcoholism and drug addiction are a result of a moral failing, rather than see it for what it truly is, a medically classified, progressive disease.
To remove the stigma and shame attached to this cunning and baffling disease, which tragically leads to so much hopelessness and can prevent people from reaching out for help.
7. What’s on your to-do list?
Make a stronger connection within the local community and make sure our neighbors know Duffy’s is here to provide support to those who suffer from the disease of addiction.
8. You acted professional on TV for a time. What was one of your bigger acting jobs?
My most visible role was as the bookie Mickey Five Hands on General Hospital.
9. What ever happened to Mickey on GH?
He vanished from the story. He just never came back.
10. Are you able to do any acting these days?
I host an open mic at the Calistoga Arts Center.