Cenikor Foundation Celebrates 45 Years
Talk to five people who seek out Cenikor services, and you’ll hear five different stories of addiction and recovery.
You’ll also hear good news. People who find Cenikor at a time when they consider themselves losers, complete the programs knowing they are winners.
Cenikor got its start in 1967 in a Colorado penitentiary. Inmates gathered to form a self-help group and worked toward overcoming drug and alcohol problems.
The early program was harsh. It relied on verbal confrontation and included only two rules: no physical violence and no chemicals. Impressed with Cenikor’s work with inmates, Houston Mayor Louie Welch asked Cenikor to expand to Houston to provide services to individuals struggling with substance abuse.
In 1972, Cenikor expanded the program to Houston, Texas, where it was welcomed by the community. First located in the old Jefferson Davis Hospital, Cenikor later moved into the downtown William Penn Hotel.
Cenikor residents went to Fort Worth in 1978 to investigate the need for a facility there. By 1980, thanks to the donation of a warehouse by the Winn Dixie Corporation, the new facility was accepting residents.
Records of this period show that Cenikor continued to be independent of federal, state and municipal funding. Residents worked for service stations, landscapers and the Astrodomain Corporation, among others. Cenikor considered itself a family: "tightly knit and dedicated to the common family tasks of living, feeding, earning, learning and achieving personal and collective goals."
There were other significant changes in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. The organization’s financial health improved. Staff members, who were previously unpaid and relied on Cenikor for room and board, moved out of the facilities and began receiving salaries. Management was shifted to an outside, newly elected board of directors.
During this time, the program gained the attention and respect of President Ronald Reagan. While visiting the Houston facility in 1983, he told residents: "We believe in many of the same things, such as opportunity, hard work and [the] self-confidence that work can bring. ... This center is self-sufficient, just like all of you will soon be. ... You’re learning again, or in some cases for the first time, what self-confidence, pride and respect mean to you personally. ... I just wanted to stop by and tell you how proud I am of what you’re doing for yourselves. I believe that the only limits to your achievement are those that are self-imposed."
|First Lady Nancy Reagan|
In 1994, the Houston facility moved to Deer Park where it remains today. In 2001, Cenikor addressed the need for treatment in Louisiana by opening a residential facility in Baton Rouge.
The turn of the century was the beginning of warp-speed changes at Cenikor. Licensed counselors led the therapeutic community, while Cenikor began to employ business professionals that attended to the administrative functions. Long-term residents began attending colleges and vocational training programs to prepare for life after recovery. Employers became vital business partners.
In 2004, our current president, Bill Bailey, joined the Foundation. He became the first president who was not a Cenikor graduate.
Because of its excellent reputation and financial stability, other recovery programs began turning to Cenikor for help. And in offering its help, the Foundation began to provide a full continuum of care for people of all ages – from medical detoxification through recovery to outpatient support.
In 2007, the Foundation expanded to include a prison program where Cenikor gained more than five years of experience. It formed an alliance with Odyssey House Texas in 2010 to provide short-term residential treatment for adolescents. In 2011, Lake Charles, LA, welcomed new leadership in a medical-detoxification and short-term residential facility.
The Freeman Center in Waco, TX, also turned to Cenikor, and in 2012 the Foundation’s newest facility was receiving referrals from around the state for medical detoxification, short-term residential care and outpatient services.
Cenikor has seen drastic changes over the last 45 years, but one thing remains constant: it helps people learn to live productive lives free of substance abuse.
At Cenikor, where you’ve been doesn’t matter — where you’re going does.
For more Cenikor Historical Photos, please view ourCenikor Gallery.