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Back to School CEU Workshop

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Join us for our annual Back to School CEU Workshop which highlights important information that educators, counselors, and parents need to be aware of as students head back to school in the fall. Topics include the science of high-risk behavior and prevention, current drugs of abuse, technology, bullying, and youth process and behavioral addictions. Click here for more information.

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Careers at The Council

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We recently updated our Careers at The Council page – don’t miss these great opportunities!

Regional Community Liaison, Prevention Resource Center

Behavioral Health Clinician

Recovery Coach

Tobacco Prevention Specialist (Temp, Full-Time)

Click here for the full listing of available jobs: 

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A Message from the CEO: School’s Out for Summer

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School’s Out for Summer

School is out in Texas. It’s a time when students rejoice, and parents worry. It’s not just fun in the sun… With all that free time and less responsibility comes more opportunities for young people to engage in drinking, drug experimentation, and other high-risk behaviors.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, more than 4 in 10 teens who begin drinking before age 15 eventually become alcoholics. The Council on Alcohol and Drugs Houston has resources to educate and advise parents and communities about how to keep kids safe, sane, and able to avoid high-risk behavior and it’s the long-term consequences.

If you are a parent of a teen, and want to remain informed on the challenges your child may be facing, or if you are a counselor looking to remain up-to-date on drug trends and the science of high-risk behavior, stay tuned for our Back-to-School Workshop in August.  In the meantime, call us today if you or someone you know is concerned about a teen, or just wants some information.  Our caring staff is here to help.

Wishing you and your family a healthy and safe summer,

Mel Taylor
President & CEO, The Council

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Zentangle 101 & Beyond

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Zentangle is an art form that impacts being in the here and now, helping you to create space within yourself and encourage healing. In this three-hour workshop, participants will receive Zentangle supplies and detailed instruction on how to create the art of Zentangle and use it as a tool for healing. For those who have had previous practice with Zentangle, they may join in the final hour of the workshop to further their Zentangle skills. Click here for more details.

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KITS Conference 2014: “Changing Lives – Breaking the Cycle”

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June 18, 19 and 20 mark the 5th Annual KITS Conference—now bigger and better than ever! Join us for three days of educational courses focusing on best practices for addressing the needs of infants & toddlers who have been or are at risk of being abused or neglected. Click here to see the full agenda with course topics and speakers and to register online now.

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Grammy-Winning Singer Natalie Cole Opens Up About Addiction at Houston Benefit

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The Council on Alcohol and Drugs Houston’s Annual Spring Luncheon Raised Over $500,000 for Addiction Treatment, Education and Prevention Services in Houston

Last Thursday, singer Natalie Cole shared her inspiring personal story of recovery from addiction to a crowd of over 1,100 at the Hilton Americas-Houston for The Waggoners Foundation Speaker Series’ 31st Annual Spring Luncheon.  The event brought in over $500,000 for the not-for-profit drug and alcohol treatment, education and prevention organization, The Council on Alcohol and Drugs Houston. This year’s event was co-chaired by Shannon and Jim Braniff, IV and Carol and Jim Farnsworth, and featured broadcaster Lisa Malosky as Mistress of Ceremonies. Luncheon supporters included Ellen Rutherford, Sarah Foshee, John D. Schiller, Jr., June Waggoner, Randa and Charlie Williams, Jerri Duddlesten Moore and Jim Moore.

Addiction affects one in four Houstonians and is included alongside cancer and heart disease as one of our nation’s most fatal diseases. Established in 1946, The Council is committed to fighting this disease by providing best-in-class care while turning no one away.  This annual fundraising luncheon series raises critical financial resources for the agency to provide services to as many Houstonians as possible each year.

“You are not alone… you struggle, but so did somebody else” said Natalie Cole during her keynote about how she got through her addiction and found recovery. “I can’t tell you how blessed I feel for what I’ve come through… All you have to do is stick out your hand, and someone will take it.”

“It doesn’t matter what you look like, who you are, or what you do for a living – this disease will grab you,” remarked luncheon co-chair and Council Board member Carol Farnsworth during the luncheon presentation.

“Today, Natalie reminded us that addiction knows no boundaries, whether you are a celebrity’s daughter and star yourself, or someone growing up right here in Houston,” said Mel Taylor, President and CEO of The Council on Alcohol and Drugs Houston. “When someone of her profile is unafraid to open up and admit to her struggles, it gives hope to countless others that they can do the same, and also find happiness again.  The Council is proud to have helped her share this message.”

The event also included a touching tribute to Virgil Waggoner, who passed away in November.  Virgil’s widow, June Waggoner, was present at yesterday’s event to accept a Legacy award on his behalf. June and Virgil are the benefactors of The Council’s luncheon series, named The Waggoners Foundation Speaker Series in honor of their son, Jay Waggoner, whom they lost to addiction.

Since the luncheon series’ creation in 1999, it has attracted over 25,000 people and raised over $11 million. Past luncheon speakers include Jamie Lee Curtis, Ashley Judd, Carrie Fisher, Paul Williams, and Jim Belushi.

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A Message from the CEO: The Power of Recovery

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Last week, as one thousand of us gathered at the Hilton-Americas, we felt the healing power of recovery.  We were surrounded by others who, in some way, have been touched by the disease of alcoholism and addiction.  We all had that in common, and together, we felt the hope that comes from the promise of recovery.

Natalie’s story, while incredible in many ways, is also like so many others that we hear.  What can start as experimentation can lead to an existence that is enslaved by addiction. Luckily for Natalie, her friends and loved ones stepped in and insisted she get help before it was too late.  The result? A life happy, joyous and free. 

The happy ending Natalie is living today is possible when one gets the help that they need and continues to work on their sobriety. Though the sad reality is that many never get the opportunity to feel the healing power of recovery – families are destroyed and loved ones are lost every single day.

So while we are riding this natural high from the fellowship and excitement of last week’s luncheon, let’s take action to help someone else towards their own happy ending.  You know someone who needs us.  And when they are ready, we are here.

Mel Taylor
President & CEO, The Council

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Supporting Children Affected by a Parent’s Addiction

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Supporting Children Affected by a Parent’s Addiction
By Elizabeth Devine, M.Ed., LPC-S, Director of Treatment Services at Austin Recovery

What if cancer was a secret?

Imagine a child who has a mother suffering from untreated cancer but no one explains this to her. She sees her mother growing weaker and sicker, but her mom smiles and tells her she’s fine. Many times her mother is unable to provide her with adequate care or attention. The girl begins to wonder if she’s done something wrong. She wonders if her mother loves her at all sometimes. She tries to make her mother feel better, but nothing seems to help. The other adults in her life make excuses for her mother’s fatigue and fragile moods. Everyone in the family seems somber and burdened but tell her she should be happy.  The adults in her life grow impatient when she becomes upset by what seem like small matters. The girl is chastised for causing a fuss when her balloon floats away. One day, she sees her mom struggling to stand and is quickly ushered out of the room. She is told that she didn’t see what she thought she saw. “Your mom just tripped,” she is told. She is instructed not to tell anyone about her mom’s “accidents” because no one would understand. They would think something was wrong with her and her family, that they were bad. They may even get in trouble. When this child repeatedly acts out at school or refuses to do her work, her teachers become frustrated and assume she is unmotivated and spoiled. She is told in numerous small ways, “Don’t talk. Don’t trust. Don’t feel.”

As you imagine the scenario above, you likely feel as though this girl’s experience is senseless. She needs an understanding of what her mother is going through so that she can also sort out her own experience. She needs to understand that her mother’s sickness makes it difficult for her mother to be available in the way that she needs to be, but that this girl is valuable, deserving of love and attention. She needs to accept that there is nothing she can do to fix her mother, but there are things she can do to help care for herself. She needs to feel validated, to know that she is not crazy for feeling what she feels or thinking what she thinks. She needs to know that there is nothing inherently wrong with her or her mother simply because she has a sickness. She needs someone to advocate for her to explain the family situation to her teachers and school counselors so that they are sensitive to this girl’s struggles and able to provide her with much-needed support. She needs to understand that she is not alone and that many families struggle in the way that she has. She needs to know that there are people who understand and can help.

In the same manner, the secrecy of addiction within the family is just as senseless. It is true that there is a stigma around the disease of addiction and that some will look on with judgment. Nonetheless, children need to be empowered to speak to someone who can understand. It is reasonable to explain that this family problem is private, but not a secret. Many times adults feel it better not to burden children with the facts related to addiction, but, even if a child has never seen an adult drink or use, they have often sensed the tension in the home. They’ve witnessed fights or the absence of someone who had promised to arrive. Unfortunately, without an understanding of addiction, they will often assume that what they are experiencing is in some way because of them, a perception worse than the reality. It is imperative that children growing up in a home where someone is abusing substances know they are not responsible for the problems in their family, nor are they responsible for fixing them. They need to feel empowered to ask for help, to express their feelings, to ask questions, and to learn healthy ways to cope.

With the care and support of healthy adults, children growing up in homes with those suffering from addiction have the capacity to develop resiliency. The challenges of living in such a home can cultivate excellent problem-solving skills, emotional depth, and a witty sense of humor. Many grow into appreciative, grounded adults. By learning how to talk, trust, and feel, they are better equipped to break the family cycle of codependency and addiction within their own families. They can put an end to the secrecy and shame, senseless pains to endure.

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A Message from the CEO: Are You Ready for An Unforgettable Time with Natalie Cole?

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It is hard to believe that we are about to celebrate our 31st Annual Spring Luncheon!  We are honored that the Waggoners Foundation Speaker Series has become such a tradition in the Houston recovery and philanthropic community. 

On May 1st, we are sure to have an unforgettable experience. The talented Natalie Cole will share her personal story of experience, strength and hope, as we share in the fellowship of 1,000 others who trust in the “hope” of recovery.

It is hard not to be moved and awed by the power of so many people coming together with a common desire to raise awareness for the issues that alcoholism, addiction, and mental health disorders raise in our individual lives, families, and community.  Many of the folks in attendance have seen first-hand the destructive power of these issues, but gratefully, many of them have also seen the happy, joyous, and free side that comes from recovery.  This is where the “hope” comes in… we wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t know that recovery is possible.  And we want everyone to see and feel that same hope, even at the depth of their despair.

Come join us, and feel the power of hope on May 1st.  It will surely be a day you will never forget.

Mel Taylor
President & CEO, The Council

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Houston Run for Recovery 5K Fun Run and Walk

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Join us for the 2014 Houston Run for Recovery 5K Fun Run and Walk celebrating National Recovery Month on Sunday, September 28, 2014 at Fish Plaza at The Wortham Theater Center in downtown Houston! The Houston Run for Recovery, now entering its fourth year with its annual race and community celebration, is showing its staying power in a community known as one of the strongest in the nation’s burgeoning recovery movement. Click here for more information and to register.

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