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substance abuse outpatient treatment

Rebuilding a Life is a Daily Decision

Stacie Woodall, MCJ, BS, LCDC, understands what it takes to rebuild a life. She’s done it. As the Outpatient Manager of Cenikor’s Care Counseling Center in Waco, Texas, she sees her clients’ challenges from both sides of the street. She was in and out of recovery for 17 years before she got sober eight years ago.


Men and women new to recovery “obsess about drugs and alcohol,” she says. There are so many things to draw them into the old lifestyle. She tells them it gets easier with time. “They need a support system and a structured routine. I believe in schedules. Every day needs to be planned, and they need to follow the plan.”


After detoxing, immersion in recovery is essential. That’s where Cenikor’s short-term inpatient program comes in. “Removing drugs and alcohol from the system is physically and psychologically shocking. We have just ripped away their ‘solution’ to all issues, so they must begin a new way of thinking. They’re a captive audience, surrounded by others in recovery and a team of professionals who have their best interest at heart.” Every counseling session, meeting or activity prepares clients for a new way of life. Before they leave inpatient care, it’s crucial to have an appointment with an outpatient counselor. “It’s too easy to leave the residential program and think, ‘I’m good. I can handle this. ’ They need to leave with a referral in hand.”


Clients who can’t return to a stable living environment may choose Cenikor’s Sober Living, which offers a safe place to live with peer accountability. “As they work and become financially independent, they live as sober, productive members of society.”


Participating in an outpatient program is the next post-inpatient right choice. Reinforced with the right mindset and a good foundation in recovery, clients return to a life with all the challenges, but without the crutch. They need a strong support system and a community of people who also are making good daily choices. In Cenikor’s outpatient programs, clients participate in education groups, processing groups and individual counseling one to three times each week.


“Somewhere along the line, adults forget what it’s like to have fun,” Stacie explains. “We have a creative staff of counselors who know that simple activities can help us enjoy life. We give assignments – go to a park, cook a meal, ride a bike. Have fun.” A strong 12-step program is another right choice.


In Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Celebrate Recovery and similar programs, men and women support each other as they rebuild, repair and maintain their lives. “It’s important to have others close by who understand the journey.


“Recovery comes down to this: Are you doing the next right thing? If not, then you need to make a different choice. It’s a daily decision,” says Stacie Woodall, MCJ, BS, LCDC – Outpatient Manager


Cenikor Prepares Clients for Ongoing Success

When Cenikor clients complete their treatment, they are clean and sober and have the tools and resources to maintain their sobriety for the rest of their lives. Each new day begins with choosing recovery.

In both short-term (14 to 40 days) and long-term (18 to 24 months) programs, Cenikor clients begin to understand their behaviors and lifestyle choices. They learn that addiction is a chronic disease, one that never ends and needs daily attention.

“When they leave our programs, they have a 12-step or spiritual foundation to help them face day-to-day challenges,” said Jerry G. Hall, LCSW, LCDC, Senior Vice-President.

Long-term care
Long-term treatment’s cognitive approach addresses distorted thinking, attitudes and behavior. The view of right living is a central tenant: honesty, responsibility, integrity, loyalty, work ethic, doing the right thing and more. The program’s longer length-of-stay allows each person the time to examine old behaviors, then establish and stabilize new ones for a positive outcome.

Before the re-entry phase, about 15 months into the program, treatment shifts to preventive work. Jerry describes it as “working toward recovery, rather than running from it.” In addition to developing financial and career plans, clients work on relapse prevention. They examine problematic triggers and develop plans to avoid pitfalls.

“If 5 p.m. on Friday afternoon signifies time to go drinking with friends, you might plan a get-together with AA friends and a Saturday morning volunteer project,” said Jerry. “Triggers and solutions are different for everyone.”

Now it’s time to go into the community, find a job, manage daily activities and deal with negative influences. Cenikor’s Vocational Services and alumni help with the transition to employment, financial stability and a positive living environment.

This foundation is essential to success. Janet (testimonial on page 2), who completed the program in 2001, always thought she’d return home to Memphis after Cenikor, but she decided the better choice was to stay in Fort Worth. She has a great job and relies on a big and healthy support system in her recovery community.

Short-term care
In an abbreviated length-of-stay, Cenikor’s short-term program prepares clients for the life that is waiting for them. “We don’t just address substance abuse, we work with the whole person,” Eric Jeter, Senior Manager in Waco, explained. “Our program is not about stopping using. It’s about meeting life on life’s terms. The same problems will be waiting when they walk out our doors. Clients must be prepared for them.”

Preparation starts on day one. Working together, counselor and client develop an individual treatment plan, a living document that includes measurable goals and objectives. Each week, clients attend 10 hours of individual and group counseling; 10 hours of classes: life skills, anger management, relapse prevention and others; and 10 hours of alternative activities—recreation and community events that remind clients it’s possible to enjoy life without alcohol or drugs. Sundays are given over to family visitation. Family groups explore what it looks like to support—not enable—someone in recovery.

Clients are introduced to 12-step recovery and are referred to outpatient aftercare, case management, community resources and mental health support.

When they complete the program, clients who are looking for a job or working with a case manager might opt for Cenikor’s Supportive Residential program. Others choose Cenikor’s Sober Living, a peer-accountability environment.

Eric explained, “When clients leave our program, they have the skills and support to place a priority on recovery. They must understand recovery is a journey, not a destination.”


Outpatient Services: Meeting Clients Where They Are

Consider these scenarios: A woman is set to graduate from short-term treatment care for substance abuse and is afraid to go home. She wonders how she will handle her old environment, and maintain her new sobriety. Or imagine a man who knows he needs help, but cannot leave his job for a month or longer when his family depends on his income. Or a teen, home from 60 days of rehab, who worries relapse is imminent because life struggles are challenging her sobriety.

All three need support. Derrick Lott, LCDC, is Facility Director of Odyssey House and previously Senior Outpatient Manager in Tyler and says, “Outpatient care keeps our
clients connected to treatment as they function in everyday life. They learn and practice the tools needed to maintain sobriety.”

Cenikor’s adult and adolescent outpatient programs can be a great first step in seeking treatment. It can also be a great second step for people who complete long-term and short-term care and need a bridge to the sober community. It is also ideal for those who need clinical help but must remain close to home with their families, maintain jobs and participate in day-to-day activities.

Cenikor’s evidence-based outpatient programs provide behavioral health and recovery services on an individual, group and family basis, including screening, assessment, early intervention and recovery after-care. Adult services address chemical dependency, family in recovery, gender-specific issues, codependency, and some focus on pregnancy and post-partum intervention. Depending on the program, clients meet several times a week and and receive both group and individual counseling.

Adolescents learn daily life and independent living skills; drug education, counseling and relapse prevention; family in recovery; parent and guardian education; and biopsychosocial and educational assessments. Looking at family and social systems is essential to each teen’s success.

Cenikor also offers outpatient care to remote and rural areas typically lacking treatment services. There are many obstacles to treatment in rural areas and small towns including availability, travel time to larger cities, expenses and transportation, among others. Cenikor outpatient helps eliminate barriers to treatment.

Employers also value our outpatient program because we can help their employees successfully move through Employee Assistance Programs and provide care for early or manageable symptoms of substance abuse during active employment.

Derrick is one of many licensed clinical professionals who believe in the outpatient paradigm. He began his career working in a prison facility. “I didn’t always see the dots connect. I wanted to meet clients in their regular habitat. That’s what I love about Cenikor’s program – the commitment to meet clients where they are. The outpatient programs are perfect examples.”

If you, or someone you love is in need call us today at 1-888-CENIKOR.



Treatment for Teens Helps Create Healthy Adults

Former First Lady of the United States Lady Bird Johnson once said “children are likely to live up to what you believe of them.” At Cenikor, we believe adolescents in treatment can be anyone they want to be. Their addiction does not dictate their future. Through sobriety, teens can change and meet their highest expectations.

Cenikor’s Adolescent Program – Odyssey House – offers inpatient substance abuse services for males and females age 13-17. Odyssey House is tailored to suit adolescents with addictions and their unique needs for recovery. Adolescence is a critical stage in body and brain development, which can be significantly stunted by substance abuse. Working with adolescents requires an understanding of the physical, mental and behavioral impacts of abuse. At Odyssey House, teens receive individual, family, and group counseling. “Through quality clinical care, adolescents in our program address the issues that led them to abuse drugs and alcohol, and find ways to cope and heal without returning to substance use” says Bill Bailey, President and CEO. Our counselors strive to rebuild trust with authority, build rapport, and address the challenges with confidence and care.

Challenges can be many for the teen user. Teens may come from environments with emotional, verbal or physical abuse at the hands of those adults who are supposed to offer protection and care. Adolescents often turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with hardships. Teens are largely dependent on their parents or caregivers for financial support, transportation, and other basic needs. Therefore improving familial connections is crucial for success.

Nick Vache, Senior Manager of Cenikor Temple and Killeen Outpatient Programs says “Cenikor Foundation takes a unique approach to adolescent treatment. We look to treat the family system, not just the adolescent because the best outcomes occur when the family is involved in the recovery process.”

Adolescent care is most successful with multidisciplinary treatment, integrating clinical and psychological care, with academics, socialization and recreation. Socialization support focuses on issues such as self-esteem, peer pressure, eating disorders, depression, self-harm and other psychological issues. Through therapy, education, wellness, recreation and clinical care, we help rebuild each adolescent with a solid foundation for long term sobriety and recovery.

Helping teens in need impacts their behavioral health today, their lives tomorrow, and their foreseeable future. If you know an adolescent in need, please contact us today.



Sober Living: A Critical Piece of the Journey

“I can’t go home!” That realization was certain for Denise as she neared completion of Cenikor’s Detoxification and Short-Term Inpatient in Waco, TX. Though detox was a difficult process, she says Cenikor “made the unbearable tolerable.” During her time in the program, Denise learned vital tools and gained behavioral health insights. Despite the hope for a fresh start, Denise knew that if she went back to her home environment, with all of its inherent stressors, it would be easy to return to the prescription painkillers that had dictated her life for so long.

Cenikor had an answer: Sober Living. Cenikor’s Sober Living Program provides a safe, supportive environment for those in recovery ready to reintegrate into their respective communities. With both men’s and women’s Sober Living homes, we offer an intermediate phase between the controlled environment of treatment and the challenges of the real world. Denise spent six months in a Sober Living House with other women also committed to sobriety. She found a reliable job, forged new supportive relationships, and worked her recovery with Cenikor’s Outpatient Services.

“Being with other women who accept and understand each other is huge,” Denise says. “Sober Living was a time of peace to continue healing which gave me space to build a strong foundation of recovery.”

President and CEO Bill Bailey is proud of the addition of Sober Living to Cenikor’s Continuum of Care. In his words, “sober living provides those in recovery with essential support, structure, resources and security to take their first steps toward independence.” In our Sober Living homes, we provide stable living environments with freedom for our clients to grow in their recovery. We offer the support and guidance to help our clients maintain long-term recovery to be responsible, employable citizens free from substance abuse.

“Why help someone get sober and not help them continue their rehabilitation?” asks Waco Advisory Board member Bruce Neatherlin. “In 1974, when I first got involved in the recovery community, we didn’t understand this. We simply said, ‘Good luck!’” Sober Living is one more program that allows Cenikor to help people rebuild their lives with a stable foundation.

The challenges that face people who complete treatment are as varied as the people themselves. “Some come into our programs homeless or with no safe environment to return to, and some have experienced trauma, so the prospect of finding safe housing is daunting.” says Eric Jeter, Senior Manager of Waco’s Detoxification and Short-Term Inpatient Program. Peer accountability, oversight, and the freedom to begin rebuilding their lives with safeguards help our clients sustain the momentum of success in Sober Living. Residents are required to complete a treatment program, build on 30 days’ sobriety, attend local support groups and maintain steady employment.

Cenikor is very grateful to the Waco community which has been immensely supportive. Both the Cooper and Waco Foundations provided grants to help offset costs of purchasing the Sober Living homes. Economic Opportunities Advancement Corporation assists Sober Living clients with financial and transportation assistance. Texas MHMR provides counseling for mental health issues. Compassion Ministries helps women reintegrate into their children’s lives. Local 12 Step programs are a continuous source of strength, hope and experience. It is wonderful to see community support rallying behind our clients.

Eric believes Sober Living is indispensable. “It’s the piece of the recovery puzzle that is often missing. This safe environment is a critical piece of the journey.”



Women on the Path to Recovery

Women are the fastest-growing segment for substance use disorders in the United States. According to the Federal Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, about 2.7 million women in the United States abuse drugs or alcohol and suffer from substance use disorders. Sadly, many women are reluctant to acknowledge their struggles and seek support.

Some of the more common and challenging obstacles include:

Child Welfare – Women with children often confront the possibility of being temporarily separated from their children or losing legal custody. As women are often the primary or solitary care giver, the difficulties are two-fold. Women may turn to substance use as a way to cope with the struggles of life as a care giver, but are also less likely to seek treatment as they do not want to lose their children.

Personal Trauma – Women with a history of physical and/or sexual trauma often turn to substance use as a coping mechanism.

Financial Burdens – Women tend to have greater concerns about paying for treatment in comparison to their male counterparts, as many women often earn less, are underemployed or unemployed.

Psychological and Emotional – Women often view their own substance use as a temporary coping mechanism, turning to substances to help them manage the demands of the work/life balance. Women often believe that their substance use is the outcome of anxiety or depression,  treating the behavioral health issue while ignoring the addiction.

Luckily, each day more and more women are turning to treatment for their substance use disorders and are finding a path to recovery. Despite the stigmas that persist about substance use disorders, the women on the path of recovery are so much more than their past or their addictions. They are our mothers, daughters, granddaughters. They are our friends, teachers, mentors. They are innovators, entrepreneurs, leaders. “We recognize the obstacles women face with addiction, and offer tailored care to
suit their special needs. From our specialized female and PPI programs, to our counseling and women’s only areas, we strive to help women rebuild their lives,” said Bill Bailey, CEO. At Cenikor, we are driven to help these women find their way along their path of recovery.

Carla’s powerful story is a testament of a woman in recovery.

“I grew up in a great house and my parents were not addicts. I had everything I needed, including love, but something was always missing.” says Carla Crochet, Cenikor Graduate and Business Manager. Carla was introduced to drugs at 13 which temporarily filled that void with false strength and power, but her drug use put her on a downward spiral eventually resulting in homelessness.

“I came to Cenikor at 37 years old with the mentality of a 13 year old. I had not grown-up and had no idea who I was.” Carla had her share of struggles in the Cenikor program, being terminated from Deer Park and later admitted in Baton Rouge, but she learned to find her way outside of her negative behaviors and to a place of self-respect. “While working my program, I focused on being a true role model for the females in population. Learning the true meaning of respect was powerful for me.” Carla completed the Baton Rouge long-term program, took part in Cenikor’s intern program and now serves as Business Manager for Deer Park.



The Chicken or the Egg: The Nature of Self-Esteem

Addicts often suffer from extremely low self-esteem brought on by multiple negative life experiences and crises. Often as individuals begin in recovery, they are plagued with guilt around their actions and behaviors during their addiction. At times this is so strong it is one of the factors that keep individuals in their addiction.

This guilt may be associated with many different experiences, including events that often happen to individuals because of their addiction. Obtaining one’s drug of choice can often be difficult and addicts often engage in behaviors they would never dream of doing if they were sober. Addicts often put themselves in dangerous situations. They steal, engage in prostitution, sell drugs, become involved with the wrong crowd and other such negative activities. These behaviors often lead individuals into dangerous situations which can have serious and damaging consequences. Often addicts get beat up, hospitalized or jailed because of their addiction. All of this destructive behavior can lead to self-blame and contribute to low self-esteem.

Sometimes it is hard to tell what came first, the chicken or the egg. Sometimes an individuals’ low self-esteem leads them into their addiction. Often a trauma such as child abuse/neglect creates self-blame in children which in turn manifests as low self-esteem. This can often cause an individual to use substances to escape that pain.

At times, the emotional pain of traumatic events, such as losing a loved one, can lead to substance abuse and addiction. The addiction eventually adds to the pain of the loss, then again leads to guilt, self-blame and low self-esteem.

In short, the majority of addicts suffer from low self-esteem in one form or another and for some reason or another. Often the fear of feeling the sadness and shame associated with low self-esteem is used as an excuse to continue to use.

The good news is, there is help for low self-esteem. Treatment through the recovery process can help individuals heal, forgive themselves, learn and grow. When one decides to choose sobriety, it is very scary. The first thing to know, however, is facing the feelings of low self-esteem is not nearly as painful as the fear of facing those feelings. With help, individuals can begin to see their own self-worth and begin to contribute to others and society in a meaningful way which then increases self-esteem.

Treatment can also help individuals face their traumas and change the negative recordings that run through their heads and contribute to the feelings of self-blame and low self-esteem. Treatment helps provide the strength to look at the scary things of the past, face them and move forward. This in turn provides individuals with the ability to make choices for themselves that are positive and that move their lives in a positive direction.

At Cenikor, we believe that treatment is three-fold and consists of counseling to heal and grow on the emotional level, behavioral to learn how to change negative behaviors to enable individuals to make positive choices, and occupational to provide an avenue for individuals to contribute to society and make a living wage. If you would like further information, please visit our website at or contact us at 888-236-4567. We are happy to help.


Substance Abuse Treatment is a Cost Effective Alternative

The number of adults involved in the criminal justice system has soared from about 1.8 million in 1980 to 7 million today. The connection between drug abuse and crime is well documented by research. Drug abuse is implicated in at least three types of drug related offenses: (1) offenses defined by drug possession or sales; (2) offenses directly related to drug abuse (e.g., thief to acquire money for drugs); and (3) offenses related to a criminogenic lifestyle that predisposes the drug abuser to engage in illegal activity.[1] For instance, one-half to two-thirds of inmates in jails and State and Federal prisons meet standard diagnostic criteria (DSM) for alcohol/drug dependence or abuse. Yet only 7% to 17% of these inmates receive substance abuse treatment services in jail or prison, so that most of the over 650,000 inmates released back into our communities each year have not received needed substance abuse treatment services.[2]

The total estimated costs of drug abuse and addiction due to use of tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs are estimated at $524 billion a year. Illicit drug use alone accounts for $181 billion in health care, productivity loss, crime, incarceration and drug enforcement.[3] Studies demonstrate it is actually less expensive for jurisdictions to treat substance-abusing offenders than to house them untreated in jail or prison. It is estimated that every dollar invested in substance abuse treatment yields $7 in benefits. The net benefits are primarily due to reduced costs of crime and increased employment earnings. The total costs related to crime and incarceration decreased by $7,500 per person treated, while employment earnings increased by $3,400.[4]

Community-based treatment is an effective alternative and provides a workable solution to reintegrate substance-abusing offenders back into the community. Community-based treatment provides a pathway to employment, education and other prosocial and non-criminogenic behaviors that build communities and promote public safety. An in-depth study of a Delaware prison revealed that compared to in-prison substance abuse treatment, a transitional program composed of a combination of work release, drug treatment, and aftercare services provided a more effective environment for successful offender reentry. [5]

Substance abuse treatment services can be incorporated into criminal justice system in a variety of cost effective ways. These include treatment as a condition of probation, drug courts that blend judicial monitoring and sanctions with treatment, treatment in prison followed by community-based treatment after discharge, and treatment under parole or probation.[6]

At Cenikor, we believe that treatment is an effective alternative to prison. Treatment is an important aspect of assisting individuals in curbing their habits and forming new goals that make them become productive citizens in the communities in which they live. If you would like further information, please visit our website at or contact us at 888-236-4567. We are happy to help.


[1] National Institute on Drug Abuse (July 2006). Treatment for Drug Abuser in the Criminal Justice System

[2] National Institute on Drug Abuse (May 2011). Treating Offenders with Drug Problems: Integrating Public Health and Public Safety

[3] Ibid

[4] Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (August 2006). Economic Benefits of Treating Substance Abuse Outweigh Costs

[5] Justice Policy Institute (January 2008). Substance Abuse Treatment and Public Safety

[6] National Institute on Drug Abuse (July 2006). Treatment for Drug Abuser in the Criminal Justice System


Tips for Parents: Signs Your Child May Be Using Drugs or Alcohol

In a perfect world our children would get good grades, respect us at all times, and never ever use drugs. Unfortunately, drugs and alcohol are prevalent in our society today. We cannot shelter them from all the harmful things in life so we must become educated on the signs and symptoms. This will allow us, as parents, to educate our children and intervene before things go from bad to worse.
Most people are aware of the physical signs of drug and alcohol use, but often times, the mental and behavioral symptoms go unnoticed. Some of the most common physical signs of drug use are losing/gaining weight, too much/too little sleep, red eyes, intense hunger or lack of appetite, decrease in energy, slurred speech, a staggering gait, increased cough and colds, and dilated pupils. It is the mental and behavioral changes in a child that could mean many different things, so asking the right questions is key. There could be memory loss, inability to concentrate, irritability, withdrawing from family and friends, dishonesty, grades declining, and secretiveness. Some of these mental and behavioral signs could mean other things as well, such as, being bullied or picked on, depression, anxiety, or self-esteem problems. If you are beginning to see a combination of the physical, mental and behavioral symptoms in your child, start asking questions.
Do not yell, accuse, or demand answers. Just talk calmly and ask about the recent changes you have noticed. You would rather your child get defensive and angry for asking (and they will), then to stick your head in the sand, only to find out later that they are using drugs and you now have to live with the guilt of not confronting them. If you do have a strong suspicion of your child using drugs or alcohol, intervene and get them the help they need before it escalates to more serious consequences and addiction.
It is difficult to face the fact that our child needs treatment. Cenikor Foundation is dedicated to providing quality behavioral health care services to the communities we serve through a continuum of care for adults and adolescents. If you have a loved one needs help and is struggling with an addiction, call us at 888-236-4567 or visit us online at to learn about our programs.


Common Myths of Substance Abuse

In my time as an addiction counselor, I have come across many myths of addiction that undermine recovery.
First myth, addiction is a choice. In my experience, most addicts would not choose to be addicts. For many people whose lives have been affected by addiction, their lives have turned upside down. Addiction has destroyed their relationships, jobs, education, health, and has created havoc with their emotions. Would you choose this for yourself or a loved one?
Second myth, addicts must hit rock bottom before they seek help. I feel this is one myth that hurts addicts more than any other. This myth causes addicts to continue to go back into using time and time again because “I haven’t hit rock bottom”, or “I haven’t lost everything.” There is always something more than could happen to you. The lowest rock bottom is the loss of your life. Do you really want to lose that?
Third myth, addiction is the addict’s problem. In my time working with addicts and their families, I have been told time and time again from families, “that’s their problem, they’re the addict.” However, addiction affects all aspects of the person’s life, including their communication and relationships with their families. It is important for families to be involved in their loved one’s treatment in order to work on improving their communication and learning more about addiction and recovery.
Lastly, the myth that addicts are bad people. This is a common myth until someone in your life is impacted by the disease of addiction. Addicts are people, who have made some bad choices. Addiction does not discriminate across socioeconomic backgrounds, career paths, age, gender, etc.
Cenikor assists individuals understand the facts and break down these myths of addiction. Cenikor Foundation is dedicated to providing quality behavioral health care services to the communities we serve through a continuum of care for adults and adolescents. If you have a loved one needs help and is struggling with an addiction, call us at 888-236-4567 or visit us online at to learn about our programs.

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