Announcing Jodie Sweetin as Keynote Speaker for our 38th Annual Spring Luncheon

The star of the classic 90’s sitcom “Full House,” Jodie Sweetin, will share her story of recovery at The Council’s premiere fundraising event on Friday, April 21, 2023 at the Hilton Americas – Houston Hotel.

The Council on Recovery is excited to welcome Jodie Sweetin to Houston as the keynote speaker for our 38th Annual Spring Luncheon! Actress, producer, host, author and activist Jodie Sweetin garnered the love of millions in her role as Stephanie Tanner on ABC’s long-running, hugely popular sitcom “Full House” and the widely popular Netflix spinoff “Fuller House.”

She previously pulled double duty as co-Executive Producer and star in the rom-com Just Swipe and just wrapped production on “Craft Me a Romance” where she once again stars and serves as co-Executive Producer. Jodie also co-hosts the popular parenting podcast “Never Thought I’d Say This,” which is currently in its fifth season. She is a published author of her memoir UnSweetined, in which she chronicles her struggle with substance use disorder until becoming sober more than a decade ago. She is now a passionate advocate for substance use prevention among youth and young adults.

Since its inception 40 years ago, The Council’s speaker series has promoted a message of hope and healing, and helped to reduce the shame and stigma of substance use and related disorders in the Houston community and beyond. The Council provides treatment and recovery support to individuals affected by substance use and other co-occurring mental health conditions, regardless of their ability to pay. Funds raised through our annual luncheons ensure that no family in need is ever turned away.

For more information about our Speaker Series, visit our speaker series website. Tables and individual tickets will be sold at a later date.

The Council and Recenter Partner to Expand Access to Addiction Treatment Services

The Council on Recovery is excited to announce that we are providing our Discovering Choices outpatient treatment program at Recenter’s campus in the heart of Houston! This partnership will expand access to world-class addiction treatment services to those who most need them.

What is it?

Discovering Choices is The Council’s outpatient addiction treatment program that serves individuals who may not have the financial resources to afford them. Our dedicated, licensed staff conducts an assessment of all clients to gather information regarding the severity of use and how it has impacted daily functioning, in order to develop an appropriate treatment plan. Treatment will include individual counseling, process groups and psychoeducation.

Recenter is a nonprofit organization that provides programs and services to help individuals who are predominantly homeless recover from substance use disorders.

Who does this program serve?

Anyone over the age of eighteen and who meets financial and diagnosis criteria can receive these addiction treatment services. They do not have to be a current client at The Council or Recenter. For more information or to inquire about eligibility, please call 713-942-4100, and select option 3.

Why is it needed?

The cost of addiction treatment often prevents people struggling with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions from getting the help they need to live a life in recovery. Discovering Choices is provided at no cost to those who are eligible. While The Council currently provides this program virtually, providing it in-person at Recenter will benefit those who prefer in-person interaction with treatment providers and peers. People who also do not have their own means of transportation could also easily get to campus, as it is on a Metro rail line and bus route.

If yourself, a loved one, or a client/patient is struggling with substance use, contact us today through our website or by calling 713-942-4100, option 3. Click here to view and download the flyer for this program.

Event Recap: Lauren Anderson Inspires and Entertains at Council Fall Luncheon

Houston Ballet star Lauren Anderson inspired a crowd of more than 800 Houstonians with her reflections on recovery, parenting and the arts at The Council’s Fall Luncheon on Friday, October 21. Presented by The Moody Endowment and co-chaired by Chris Flood and Jenifer & Joseph Matula, the event raised $425,000 to help local individuals and families recover from the effects of addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders.

Mistress of Ceremonies Melanie Lawson of ABC-13 opened the program by welcoming the crowd of event sponsors, donors, community partners, and people in recovery. Associate Pastor Andrew Johnson of Neartown Church provided the invocation.

The Council’s Board of Trustees Chair Amanda Polich and President and CEO Mary Beck, LMSW, CAI then spoke on the impact of The Council and its speaker series on the communities we serve.

Said Beck, “Your presence and support send a message that the work of The Council matters – a message that substance use disorders are preventable and treatable and that recovery is not only possible, but that in recovery there is hope for renewal, and an amazingly fulfilling life.”

The event’s co-chairs, Chris Flood and Joseph Matula, then gave impassioned testimonies about their experiences with addiction and how The Council was crucial to their recovery journeys.

“I have found a new peace, a new freedom and a new happiness,” said Flood. “None of this would have been possible without the services of The Council on Recovery.”

The program continued with an emotional video featuring Council clients and their stories, as well as Lauren Anderson’s involvement with the Cradles Project, which serves new and expecting parents who are at risk of substance use disorders. Anderson and her longtime friend Lawson then took the stage for an entertaining and inspirational conversation about addiction, recovery, parenting, and the arts.

Celebrating 13 years of sobriety this year, Anderson said, “This disease can happen to anyone. Even a little black girl from the Third Ward in Houston who became the Sugar Plum Fairy. The good thing is that there is help at The Council.”

The luncheon also celebrated other artists in recovery by featuring an exclusive gallery in the foyer of the ballroom. Curated by Linda Moffitt of the Jack Meier Gallery, this gallery dazzled attendees with its eclectic collection of paintings, costumes, sculptures, photographs and interdisciplinary works.

For more information about the history of The Council’s speaker series and upcoming events, visit www.councilspeakerseries.org.

Common Bond Creates Specialty Macaron to Support National Recovery Month

During National Recovery Month, Common Bond will offer a specialty macaron benefiting The Council on Recovery. A nod to the end of summer, the macaron features a vanilla shell, cherry limeade ganache and nonpareils in our brand’s signature colors. The limited-time macaron will be available at all Common Bond locations for $3, with $1 benefitting The Council’s programs and services that help people to recover from addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders.

recovery macaron

Common Bond is a long-time supporter of recovery efforts through a personal connection of CEO & Owner George Joseph. Before becoming a restauranteur, Joseph’s entrepreneurship began in the drug and alcohol rehabilitation industry. For over 20 years, Joseph has dedicated his career to helping others overcome addiction. He serves as the CEO of Positive Recovery Centers which operates two residential and medical detox centers in Houston and Austin, and volunteers with many recovery-centered organizations, including The Council on Recovery.

“Common Bond is more than just a gathering place for good food. Our restaurants exist to give back to the community we serve. We hope to use our platform to spread the word about the incredible work The Council on Recovery does and to aid their mission of providing affordable services to those suffering from addiction.”

George Joseph, CEO and owner of Common Bond

“This National Recovery Month, we celebrate and honor our friends, family members, coworkers and colleagues who are in recovery from addiction and other mental health disorders. We are so grateful to George Joseph and Common Bond for promoting awareness of this cause and supporting The Council’s mission.”

Mary H. Beck, LMSW, CAI, President & CEO of The Council on Recovery

The Council on Recovery Macaron can be purchased September 1-30, 2022 at Common Bond’s four Bistro locations, seven On-The-Go locations and its Downtown Brasserie & Bakery.

The Origins of Co-Occurring Disorders

This blog post is contributed by Izzie Karohl, NREMT, Policy Research Intern

SAMHSA’s 2020 National Survey of Drug Use and Health estimates that 45% of adults with a substance use disorder also have a co-occurring mental health condition. Because people with mental health conditions make up such a large portion of folks who seek substance use disorder treatment, it’s important to understand the complex relationship between the two co-occurring disorders.

This is the first blog post in a series that discusses current approaches to treating co-occurring disorders. But before we talk about treatment, we should start with one, deceptively simple question: why is the rate of co-occurring disorders so high in the first place? This blog post addresses the three most popular theories–the self-medication theory, the gene variants theory, and the kindling effect theory.

Self-Medication 

Drinking to cope with the distress of an underlying mental health disorder is self-medication. Sometimes, people develop a substance use disorder because the effects of drugs and alcohol alleviate symptoms of PTSD, bipolar disorder, depression, and/or anxiety, just to name a few. Part of recovery is learning how to cope with distress, and this can include symptoms of mental illness. However, it’s important that clinicians identify mental illness as an independent disorder so that the client receives appropriate psychiatric care. 

woman with co-occurring disorders

Gene Variants 

Numerous studies have demonstrated that substance use disorders and mental health disorders run in biological families. The gene variants theory proposes that specific genes linked to substance use disorders are also linked to mental health disorders. For example, you may have heard that people with untreated ADHD are more likely to develop a substance use disorder. The gene variants theory hypothesizes that genetic mutations which result in more hyperactive, impulsive, and reward-driven brains (ADHD) are also mutations that make brains more vulnerable to substance use disorders. Currently, scientists are identifying these specific mutations to create a “genetic risk factor” score that may be able to predict who is more likely to develop co-occurring disorders based on their DNA sequence. 

Kindling Effect 

When trying to start a fire, having one plank of wood only goes so far. But if you add lighter fluid and small sticks around the plank, the likelihood of a blazing flame skyrockets. That’s the basis of the kindling theory. Having an initial mental disorder, whether psychiatric or substance use, changes the neural pathways in the brain: strengthening some, lessening others, and making some more sensitive. These changes add kindling, making it more likely that a future stressor or behavior results in a secondary disorder. Unlike the gene theory that locates risk within one’s DNA, the kindling effect states that the progression of one disease and its changes to the brain are what make it more vulnerable to a second disorder. The kindling effect points to the importance of early intervention to prevent secondary disorder development.

None of these theories are ultimately “right” or “wrong.” Rather, each of them help to explain the various ways co-occurring disorders may develop. It could be that a person is (a) genetically predisposed to both disorders, (b) develops a psychiatric disorder early on and progresses, which increases the vulnerability to developing a substance use disorder and (c) copes with the first disorder by self-medicating. But no matter how a person’s co-occurring disorder came to be, there is effective treatment for both. People can and do recover from co-occurring disorders.

Read more about co-occurring disorders here.

The Importance of Compassion and Connection in the Referral Process

This blog post is contributed by a counselor with The Council’s Outreach, Screening and Referrals department, which provides free screenings and referrals to detox services, inpatient and outpatient treatment facilities, and other recovery options.

A while ago, a client was referred to me from the Harris County Psychiatric Center. During the screening, the client revealed that his meth and cocaine use had destroyed his family and had caused trouble with the law. The client described some of the horrible things that he did to keep his drug habit going. I could see the pain in the client’s eyes as he began to go through the screening process, which made me want to do more for the client.

The only way I could help this client was to disclose a part of my own addiction, to help him know that there is hope, and that he does not have to continue using drugs. The client could not believe that I was homeless for 30 years, living on the streets and going in and out of hospitals and treatment centers. After my disclosure, I saw that the client was motivated to change. Because I went through the recovery process, I was able to help the client develop a plan of action to change his life. I stressed the importance of completing treatment for the next steps to take place.

The client went on to an inpatient treatment facility, completed the 30-day program, and contacted me as soon as he was finished. I was able to get the client into sober living where he landed a job and had a place to stay. The client remembered that I told him I was going to connect him with an organization that was going to pay for his education. I gave the client the contact information, and he is now enrolled in barber school, working on his certification.

The client calls me from time to time to let me know that he is staying on course. He tells me he now has a support system, which includes his family, and that he did not know that he was capable of making the necessary changes in his life. He says that he will forever be grateful for the help that he received from The Council and wants to come back and share his story with our clients to provide them motivation as well!