Julie Dostal has been the Executive Director of LEAF Council on Alcoholism and Addictions since 2006.
Julie Dostal has been the Executive Director of LEAF Council on Alcoholism and Addictions since 2006; she joined the organization in 1998. She’s also an Affiliate Representative on the Facing Addiction with NCADD Board of Directors.
Julie said, “Working with Facing Addiction with NCADD is a pleasure and privilege. It is the only National organization that I am aware of the works in the prevention, treatment, and recovery spaces at once. Covering the entire continuum of care is hard work, but so worth it.”
LEAF Council focuses primarily on prevention, and also works in the community to support people in recovery. Community partnership is the heart of LEAF Council’s work, as they seek to be a “friendly front porch” for people seeking education, information, and referrals related to addiction.
Julie is a person in long term recovery, since July 4, 1992. She is also a family member in recovery and says that multiple generations of her family have struggled with addiction. For the last 25 years, Julie has worked “in and around” the fields of the field of substance misuse prevention and addiction.
She says that, in the beginning, men significantly outnumbered women in recovery.
“When I first started attending a 12 Step meeting 26 years ago, I believe that I was one of only two women who were in the room,” she said. “We were fairly uncommon, so finding other women to socialize with, grow with, and learn with was always challenge. Now there are female specific treatment centers, 12 Step groups, faith groups and other ways for women to connect with each other in recovery.”
Although Julie doesn’t feel that any door has been closed to her because of her gender, she sees progress and supports others on their journeys. She speaks out about recovery and how to make it accessible to everyone. Her work is getting the attention of other leaders and advocates, and helping share the message that people recover when they have the tools they need.
Julie was named a “Woman of Distinction” by Senator James L. Seward of New York State due to her work in her community and on the opioid crisis. She has also delivered a TEDx Talk entitled “Expendable People,” which highlights the impact of poor alcohol, gambling, and marijuana policy on the population.
Julie said, “As a woman in long term recovery, both prevention and recovery are near and dear to my heart. If my work can help someone to completely avoid the misery of addiction, or if it can help someone escape the chains of addiction, I consider that the best reward a job can offer! It is my passion. I believe it is the work I was called to do. When I am teaching, training and doing public speaking, I feel like I am doing exactly what I am ‘supposed’ to be doing. And, by the grace of God, I hope to be doing for a long time to come!”