THE BRONX - A Bronx organization has combined two forms of therapy to reach out to substance abuse patients in a unique way.

The Riverdale Mental Health Association has started the Lifeworks Project, which aims to help patients find their calling in life, in addition to focusing on the root of their addiction.

Directors of the program explain that vocational therapy is more than helping patients find a job. They say the concept behind the combined approach helps start the healing process.

?They need to come to an understanding of what it is they want to do with their lives,? Assistant Director Mark Sturgeon says. ?It?s your identity in a lot of respects. So somebody who has been out of work for a number of years has in a sense lost their identity.?

Groups meet three hours a day, three days a week for 12 weeks. In the sessions, they receive therapy that helps them recover from addiction while also combating isolation.

Patients say the project makes the journey to recovery worthwhile. ?It bridges the gap and takes us to the point from where we were at ? very low ? to another level,? recovering addict Carmela says.

Directors say that while some patients face a more difficult road to recovery than others, their greatest wish is for the Lifeworks Program to touch as many lives as possible.