Substance Abuse in the Hispanic/Latino Community

The 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicates the rates of substance use and addiction among the Latino/ Hispanic communities continue to rise similarly to other demographics throughout the United States. Recent data indicates alcohol, marijuana, and psychotherapeutic drugs remain among the most commonly abused substances in these communities. 

Why This Group Is Impacted

Psychotherapeutic drugs are medications prescribed to alleviate symptoms related to a range of mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, and psychosis.

In most cases, the rates of substance use and abuse among the Hispanic/Latino demographic are primarily similar to those of the entire nation. However, several factors unique to these individuals are believed to increase drug abuse prevenance rates, especially for certain substances.1

Many of these factors reflect challenges related to acculturation (assimilation) into the widely different cultural expectations of the United States. Members of the Hispanic community face a range of socio-cultural and sociodemographic variables, including culturally specific gender values (norms), language barriers, economic challenges, and educational difficulties. 

Substance Use to Cope

When faced with challenges such as these, it is not uncommon to look to drugs or alcohol as a means to cope with fear, trauma, stress, and depression. Unfortunately, the harmful effects of using substances as an unhealthy and often ineffective coping technique lead to substance dependency and addiction.

Latinos often face increased challenges seeking help to overcome addiction due to difficulties finding culturally competent or culturally sensitive addiction treatment programs. 

A Look into Latino Identity 

Statistics on Latino Communities and Substance Abuse

Recent U.S Census statistics indicate the Hispanic population will increase to more than thirty percent of the overall United States population by 2050. With that in mind, it is essential to ensure access to culturally competent addiction treatment is available within the Hispanic/Latino communities. It will help make potentially life-saving treatment more accessible and work to decrease treatment barriers and disparities among Spanish-speaking populations. 

Substance Use Disorder

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) data shows that addiction among Spanish-speaking populations generally follows a similar trend line to other demographics, with a few notable exceptions. Data from the 2018 NSDUH indicate approximately 7.1% of Hispanic Americans meet the diagnostic criteria for a substance use disorder or alcohol use disorder. While lower than the total population (7.4%), the rate of addiction in this specific group is high. The rate of illegal drug use (approximately 3%) is similar among Hispanic communities and the whole United States population.

Which Drugs are Commonly Abused in Latino Communities

Specific substances such as alcohol, marijuana, and certain prescription medications are frequently abused within the Hispanic population. In 2018, nearly 50% of those surveyed met the criteria for an alcohol use disorder. Although this was slightly lower than the overall U.S population (55%), it represents only a negligible decline of less than 1% overall in the rate of alcohol addiction since 2015.2

Based on NSDUH data, marijuana is the most frequently abused illicit drug among Hispanic populations, followed by psychotherapeutic drugs, prescription pain medications, cocaine, and hallucinogens. The 2018 survey indicated almost 14% of the population used marijuana. Of the 1.6 million Hispanics who struggle with opioid addiction, more than 98% of those are to prescription opioids such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, and fentanyl.

Addiction Rates Per Demographic

In addition, there are slight differences in addiction rates across specific Hispanic/Latino communities. An example provided in the NSDUH indicates Puerto Ricans have the highest rate of illegal drug use when compared to the total population, at almost 7%.2

In contrast, South Americans have the lowest at just over 2%. Like the total population, the most common substances abused in many Hispanic communities include marijuana and opioids in addition to other problem substances like heroin, ecstasy, cocaine, and alcohol.

Immigration and Risk Factors of Addiction

Immigration is not without difficulty faced only by those looking to come to America. The reasons people immigrate to other countries vary widely and are generally quite personal. Immigration is, for the most part, not an easy process.

There are several steps involved between leaving one’s home country and settling in an entirely new environment. This move can lead to struggles with discrimination, racism, communication barriers, and cultural struggles.3 Each of these challenges and the trauma they cause can lead to mental and emotional health problems such as anxiety, depression, stress, and trauma. 

Challenges Immigrants Face

Moreover, a range of other challenges unique to the immigration process may precede problematic substance use and addiction. In addition to the mental health factors listed above, immigrants face a range of fears and challenges unique to their situations. These may include:

  • Fears of deportation
  • Inability to seek or receive proper medical care or medical insurance due to their immigrant status
  • Religious, cultural, or ethnic persecution
  • Lack of legal rights or protections
  • Employment and movement restrictions (often immigrants are “settled” in a specific location and unable to move or resettle elsewhere for a particular window of time)
  • Inability to see or visit family in their home country
  • Trauma stemming from involuntary or illegal migration processes (such as asylum, human trafficking, etc.)

These stressors and several others may increase risk factors for addiction, including self-medication with drugs or alcohol. 

Acculturation and Addiction

What is Acculturation?

Acculturation explains the level to which an individual identifies with their native culture. It is believed acculturation has a solid link to one’s risk for substance abuse. Some cultures believe that increased rates of substance abuse are directly linked to one’s loss of connection with their native culture. It is an unfortunate yet common occurrence in individuals who have moved from their home country to another. 

Rates of Addiction In Acculturated Communities

A study conducted in Washington State indicated an increased rate of alcohol and drug abuse among acculturated members of the Hispanic and Latino populations. The study showed the illegal drug and alcohol abuse rates were up more than 7% when compared with unacculturated Hispanics. It is believed that recent immigrants held closer to their family and cultural beliefs and therefore had lower rates of substance use and abuse.4  

A Study on Acculturation’s Influence on Addiction 

Signs and Symptoms of Substance Use Disorder

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) states a “Substance use disorder occurs when a person’s use of alcohol or another substance (drug) leads to health issues or problems at work, school, or home.”5

Substance use disorders or addiction are struggles unique to the person. For this reason, there is not one singular “cause” of addiction. It is believed a range of factors contributes to one’s increased risk for developing a substance use disorder. 

Potential Causes of Addiction

Some of the most common factors that contribute towards addiction include genetics, peer pressure, environmental factors, family history, pre-existing medical conditions, and mental health concerns such as trauma, depression, or anxiety. Many people who develop substance use disorder also have underlying mental health or medical conditions that lead to utilizing substances as a means of coping with symptoms or pain. 

Common Signs to Look Out For

Because substance use disorders are challenges unique to the individual, the signs and symptoms of addiction often vary from person to person. They may also vary based on the substance used and the severity of one’s addiction.

Many substances produce effects unique to the drug; however, several common signs and symptoms are seen regardless of the substance used. Some of these include:

  • New or worsening challenges at home, school, or work
  • Weight changes (typically weight loss)
  • Behavior or mood changes
  • Lack of energy
  • Decreased concern about appearance or personal hygiene
  • Appetite changes
  • New or worsening financial and legal troubles
  • New medical or mental health problems
  • Changes to one’s social circle
  • Increased isolation
  • Defensiveness when asked about substance use
  • Avoiding other obligations to get and use substances 

Why is Treatment Unavailable for Hispanic/Latino Communities?

When members of the Hispanic/Latino communities seek help overcoming a substance use disorder, they face a range of challenges. Some of these challenges are similar to those faced by people from all demographics across the nation. In addition to the complex challenges, including fear, stigma, and apprehension experienced by many, Spanish-speaking populations experience other difficulties and treatment barriers unique to the Hispanic community. 

Language Barrier

The first and possibly most common barrier is the language barrier. When a patient speaks Spanish when their treatment provider does not, it makes the treatment process difficult.

Unfortunately, the person seeking treatment is mainly unable to derive any benefit from the program. Because most treatment plans require substantial communication between the provider and patient, a treatment center that does not provide multilingual treatment services is often less than beneficial for someone who does not speak English or for whom English is a second language. 

Financial Difficulties

Another treatment barrier faced by Hispanic populations is the financial difficulties associated with addiction treatment. Addiction treatment can be costly. Many Hispanic community members are either uninsured or lack the financial ability to self-pay for treatment.

As a result, they will often choose to forego seeking potentially life-saving treatment out of fears surrounding how they will pay for services. 

Fear of Deportation

Worse yet, some may avoid seeking treatment due to worries about the legal repercussions of substance use or their immigration status. A common fear associated with immigration is the fear of deportation.

It is not uncommon for individuals who need addiction treatment help to fear the “what if” of acknowledging a struggle with a substance, especially an illegal one. The fear of being deported due to illicit drug use is another likely reason members of the Hispanic/Latino communities may shy away from treatment. 

Lack of Resources in the Area

Similar to problems with language barriers, Spanish-speaking patients may struggle to find available treatment in their area. In many cases, limited access arises out of a lack of treatment centers with multilingual treatment providers.

In addition, it is not uncommon for Latino/Hispanic community members to live close together. In some cases, this means they live far from the nearest treatment center, and therefore the ability to access treatment services becomes limited. 

Resistance to Trust Outsiders

Finally, a significant level of distrust between members of the Hispanic community and those deemed “outsiders” exists. Resulting from years of stigma, misunderstanding, and notable cultural differences, it is not uncommon for Hispanic community members to look to non-Hispanic treatment providers and feel concerned about the type of treatment they may receive.

Members of this community may also be worried about the efficacy of the therapy provided when treatment providers are not part of their lifestyle. 

Further Education on Healthcare Disparities for the Hispanic Community 

What Culturally Competent Care for Latino Communities Looks Like

To enhance treatment opportunities for Hispanic and Latino communities, it is essential to ensure access to culturally competent treatment facilities in local communities. Cultural competence among staff and administrative personnel at a treatment facility is vital to the success of Spanish-speaking program participants. 

Services Available in Spanish

Staff members who interact with the patients must be educated in the Spanish language to ensure cultural competence. At a minimum, staff should be capable of understanding and responding to communications from their patients. This factor will help them better and more compassionately attend to their patient’s needs.

Understanding of Cultural Nuances

It is also essential for staff members to understand the cultural nuances of their client’s culture. Having a clear understanding of their client’s religious beliefs, knowledge surrounding substance use, family dynamics, and other culture-specific characteristics of the Hispanic community will help treatment providers provide supportive and compassionate care that considers their patient’s unique needs. 

Diverse Staff

Employing a culturally diverse staff provides an environment of comfort for the client population. In some cases, patients may feel better or more comfortable communicating with staff who represent their cultural history and background.

Providing this opportunity for more open communication may go a long way in increasing positive patient outcomes. It is also important to ensure available treatment models reflect the cultural values specific to the client’s culture. 

Respect for Religious Needs

Many cultural backgrounds have particular beliefs and restrictions surrounding various forms of medical treatment, including the use of medications and other medical procedures. It is vital for staff to clearly understand these restrictions and concerns before beginning a treatment program. Failure to do so could come across as cultural insensitivity to patients seeking treatment. 

Treatment Options for Substance Use Disorder

When someone seeks help overcoming addiction, there are several different treatment options or levels of care available. The right type of treatment will depend on various factors, including the type of substance or substances used, the severity of addiction, duration of addiction, and one’s history with addiction treatment and relapse.

Other factors that contribute to determining the right treatment option include the history of any co-occurring mental or physical health struggles that could inhibit one’s ability to achieve and maintain lasting sobriety. 

Detox

The first step in many treatment programs is detox. During detox, the body learns how to function without substances. For many, the detox process, whether from drugs or alcohol, can be scary, unpleasant, and sometimes dangerous as it requires the person to experience a full range of withdrawal symptoms which can vary from mild to severe.

Detox is necessary to cleanse the body of any substance that may remain. Someone cannot fully immerse themselves successfully in a drug or alcohol addiction treatment program if they are still under the influence of their substance of choice. The severity of symptoms one may experience during detox are unique to the individual and are best managed under care and supervision at a medically supported detox program. 

Inpatient Care

The part of treatment is therapy. Therapy can occur in different settings, including inpatient and outpatient programs. An inpatient or residential rehab program requires the participant to stay on-site at the treatment facility while they are part of a treatment program. At an inpatient program, participants can expect to receive twenty-four-hour medical and emotional support. Most residential programs last between thirty and ninety days, with some as long as six months. 

Outpatient Care

An outpatient program allows participants to seek necessary addiction treatment while remaining at home. As part of an outpatient program, participants attend therapy sessions at a treatment facility or rehab for a set number of days and hours each week. The number of sessions and the duration of the sessions that comprise an outpatient program will vary depending on the intensity of the program and the individual’s unique treatment needs and goals.

Many outpatient programs are uniquely designed around the individual, taking into consideration their addiction and specific treatment needs when creating their treatment plan. Due to the less intensive nature of outpatient programs, most last longer than residential programs, with some lasting twelve months or more. 

Therapies

The most successful rehabs use a combination of evidence-based therapy models and alternative treatment programs to design a comprehensive treatment program that considers the person’s unique physical, psychological and spiritual needs. Some of the most frequently utilized therapeutic treatments include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), talk therapy, motivational interviewing, family therapy, and a range of others. 

Outlook

A culturally competent addiction treatment center will consider the unique and specific needs of each person seeking treatment. Most importantly, they will remember that an individual is a person who, regardless of their cultural background or ethnicity, seeks help and potentially life-saving treatment.

Treatment centers need to offer culturally sensitive and culturally competent care to ensure they meet the needs of all populations and cultural demographics. Treatment staff at a program that considers the treatment needs of Hispanic and Latino communities will provide those who seek help getting well receive the same caring and compassionate treatment options available to all. 

Cari Renfro

Administrative Director

Cari has worn a variety of hats before coming to Stages of Recovery – in a past life, she was in advertising sales, association management, corporate event planning and property management. Hailing from West Texas, Cari grew up in Midland before attending Texas Tech University. Always creative and an over-achiever, she graduated magna cum laude with a BA in Advertising before moving to Florida for the next seven years. A true Texan at heart, Cari returned to the Lone Star State and pursued a career in property management where she earned national designations in leasing, apartment management and obtained her real estate license. In 2015, she met Stages of Recovery owner Stephen Medley by chance. Recognizing her style and resourcefulness, he challenged Cari to head up the renovation of the men’s Transitional Housing properties in Lubbock and Waco (check them out – they look pretty great if we say so ourselves!). Given her knack for organization and execution, the Stages family officially welcomed Cari in 2020 to assist behind the scenes in administration, operations and marketing – she’s here to make us look good! In her spare time, Cari’s pastimes include cooking, interior design and doting on her Scottish Folds – Birdie and Apollo. 

Words to Live by: 

“Why cope when you can eliminate?”

Rommel Hover, BSW, LCDC-I

Therapist
Lubbock

“Mel” is originally from Angeles City, Philippines. He graduated from Lubbock Christian University with a degree in Social Work. One of the newest clinicians to join Stages in 2020. Mel has over 20 years in Residential inpatient services and is known for his willingness to go above and beyond for others. He is skilled in Mindfulness and serves with a true heart of service. Like many, Mel has had many experiences and challenges in his life that have equipped him to keep pushing forward. These experiences allow him to make deep and meaningful connections with those he helps. When working with clients, he champions the mindset that every human needs three things: TO BE HEARD, TO BE SEEN, AND TO HAVE A SENSE OF PURPOSE. Mel’s motto in life is simply to “Be you” and to not allow anyone or anything to deter you from this. 

Favorite Quote 

“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Empty your mind, be formless. shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” Bruce Lee 

Cole Watts

COO and Program Director

Cole and Medley founded The Door Sober Living Community together. Cole is the details behind the program. As Program Director, he conceived and implemented The Door concept and has written multiple grants for this program and others. He is talented at blending the nature of business practices into the field of social services. Cole was born and raised in Lubbock and has been in recovery for over ten years, proving that you can get clean in the same town you live in. He is a proud graduate of the Lubbock County Drug Court program and advocates that Drug Courts work. He holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in social work from Texas Tech University. Cole has an inspirational wife, Veronica, and two beautiful children, Eliana and Wyatt. His focus in the company is to make sure that the activities stay true to the spirit of recovery and the mission and vision of the company.  

“I’m passionate about guiding people out of their mental sense of lack and into freedom.”

Stephen O’Dell, CFP®

CFO and Business Development

Stephen O’Dell has been with Stages of Recovery for over 12 years. He has served in many roles as the company has continued to grow. He is currently one of the owners and the CFO. He also does direct business development and admissions for those in need of services. Stephen’s time with Stages began when he was a client learning how to live his new life in Recovery. He began his journey at the young age of 18 with big dreams and goals. Stages of Recovery provided him with the tools, guidance, and community needed to build a life worth living. Stephen later achieved his bachelor’s and master’s degree in Personal Financial Planning in 2016 and 2017 from Texas Tech University, with the help of a scholarship from the Center for Collegiate Recovery Communities (CRC). He went on to get his CFP® Mark (Certified Financial Planner) in 2018. Stephen’s unique personal and his extensive professional experience makes him a great fit to help you and your family navigate the complicated process of finding help for your loved one in need.  

Many people think of Wealth as a monetary value. O’Dell defines Wealth as “The relentless pursuit of a desired lifestyle, and the strategic maintenance of that lifestyle”- Stephen O’Dell. With the help of Stages you and your family can begin to define what your goals are and begin the process of healing together.  

Addiction Treatment Admissions in Waco, Lubbock, TX and Oklahoma city, OK

Stephen “Medley”

CEO and Business Development Director

Stephen “Medley” is the founding owner of Stages of Recovery, Inc. and The Door Sober Living Community. A visionary with a passion to help those in recovery, he saw a need in the community and decided to take matters into his own hands. Medley has over twenty years of recovery time. After getting clean at the age of nineteen, he knows firsthand how to show many of our younger clients that it is still possible to have fun in recovery. Medley graduated from Texas Tech University as a member of the Collegiate Recovery Community at the Center for the Study of Addiction and Recovery with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Medley is the leader of the company and an inspiration to all staff members. Medley understands the power of knowing why; why we made poor decisions and the importance of knowing and remembering why we don’t want to make them again.  

“I’m passionate about helping individuals realize and reach their dreams by focusing on their WHY.”  

Anthony McClain

Chief Client Relations Officer, Transitional Living Operations 

A Pennsylvania native, Anthony left home when he was 21 during an active addiction – he thought he had it all figured out. Anthony moved from Wyoming to Montana to Colorado. His addiction progressed, causing him to neglect priorities like relationships, rent, and job opportunities. Eventually, Anthony found himself homeless and broken spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Anthony researched a treatment center in the Dallas area that was able to fly him down to Texas. He was a client there for 57 days. While at treatment, Anthony heard of The Door Sober Living and the recovery that Lubbock had to offer. Anthony took a greyhound to Lubbock and in 2012, Anthony stayed at The Door for six months before moving out. Without The Door’s accountability and structure, he fell back into addictive behavior for several months. Anthony checked into the Ranch at Dove Tree, where he stayed for 30 days. Upon successful completion, Anthony returned to The Door Sober Living on May 19, 2013. This time, Anthony signed a one-year agreement and expressed great willingness to maintain sobriety. In July 2014, when a previous house manager moved in with his fiancé, Anthony was asked to step up and take on his duties. This then, Anthony has grown into the Client Relations House Manager. His continued dedication to recovery and belief in the Stages of Recovery program as a whole led to an opportunity in 2017 to become the fourth owner of Stages. 

Melissa Silva, LCDC-Intern

Clinical Supervisor, Therapist Lubbock

Melissa currently works as a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor-Intern and as the Administrative Director at Stages of Recovery. Along with working at Stages of Recovery, she works with adolescents in the Parent Empowerment Project. She has worked in the recovery field since 2015, with a focus on substance use disorder and helping families heal. She pursued work in addiction because of her academic, professional, and community involvement, as well as her personal experiences. Melissa’s work has allowed her to dive deeper into the field of addiction and recovery and to expose her genuine love for the betterment of other’s lives. Currently, she is a doctoral student at Northcentral University and pursues her degree as a Doctor of Philosophy in Marriage and Family Therapy. Melissa received her bachelor’s degree in Community, Family, and Addiction Sciences at Texas Tech University and her master’s degree in Couple, Marriage, and Family Therapy at Texas Tech Tech. She was a member of The Center for Collegiate Recovery Communities at Texas Tech University.  

“It takes one person to believe in you.”

Lynn Whitfield, LPC

Therapist
Lubbock

Lynn has been an LPC for nearly eight years. By volunteering at the Greater Dallas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, she became interested in addiction and recovery. Her practicum in graduate school included working with veterans and women in recovery through art therapy techniques. Lynn is a member of the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors and the West Texas Counseling Association. Along with her Marriage and Family Master’s degree, she holds a Master’s degree in art therapy. Lynn’s unique background allows Stage’s clients to introduce and foster creativity throughout their personal recovery. Lynn is a former classroom teacher, grades 1-8.  She is certified in all-level art and counseling. 

Favorite Quote 

“Imagination rules the world.” Napoleon.

Ashley Loveless, LMSW

Therapist
Lubbock

Ashley Loveless, Licensed Master Social Worker, earned her Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Social Work and Spanish from Texas Tech University in 2014. Ashley proceeded to obtain a Master of Social Work from Our Lady of the Lake University in 2017. Ashley has been a licensed and practicing LMSW since 2014 and has worked in many private and non-profit sectors including administrative roles, hospice roles, sexual assault counseling, sex-trafficking rescue/counseling, and mental health. She began her career as a Correctional Mental Health Social Worker at Montford State Psychiatric Prison/Hospital in Lubbock, TX in 2014. She has been employed part-time with Stages of Recovery since February 2019 as a Mental Health Counselor, co-leading early recovery groups and taking on individual clients. Ashley works full-time at Hospice of Lubbock as a medical social worker. Ashley and her husband Paul, have four daughters, Sophie, Harper, Sawyer, and Bowen and a dog named Lincoln. Ashley enjoys traveling, yoga, baking, and adventure.  

Averie Holder, LMSW

Therapist
Lubbock

Averie is a graduate from Texas Tech University with her Bachelors of Social Work in 2018 than in 2020 with her Masters of Social Work. Averie has been working within the area of addiction and recovery since August of 2018 when she started her Bachelor of Social Work field practicum with Stages of Recovery. Averie decided to work with addiction and recovery because of her passion for seeing people better themselves. Averie believes everyone can change, and she shows a clear love for being part of the process and empowering individuals along the way. Averie has been in recovery herself since October of 2017. She has two adorable dogs, Rockie and Chewie. In Averie’s free moments, you can catch her spending time with her partner, watching reality TV, or playing video games. 

“I love to get in the trenches with the people that I work with, fight with them for their change. I believe anyone, no matter what they have been through, has the ability to overcome.” 

Stephanie Franklin, LMFT, LCDC

Therapist
Waco

Stephanie moved from her hometown of San Antonio to Lubbock, TX in 2011 to begin a long journey toward self-growth and healing. She graduated from Texas Tech University with Bachelor degrees in Psychology, and Science in Human Development and Family Studies. After a year of work in the chemical dependency field, Stephanie went on to graduate with a Masters in Couple, Marriage and Family Therapy (with a focus in Addiction in the Family) in 2018. After receiving support from countless loving individuals during her struggle with mental illness, it has been Stephanie’s mission to extend the same level of compassion and care to her clients. She believes counseling is a way for individuals, couples and families to share their experiences and pain, and find ways to transform their darkness into light. Stephanie is especially interested in working with adolescents and adults struggling with addiction and substance abuse, at-risk populations, and couples/families. She works from a systemic perspective with all clients; meaning she gathers information about all areas of an individual’s life to assess needs and the effects that each area may have on the others. Looking through a systemic lens offers the ability for individuals to create lasting transformations through self-awareness about their unmet needs in multiple areas. In her personal life, Stephanie spends most of her time with my husband and their five goofball dogs. She’s a PokemonGo, Disney, and Taylor Swift enthusiast and she enjoys creative outlets including make-up artistry, painting and interior design.

Jarrod Bray

Transitional Housing, Men’s
Waco

Jarrod is from Abilene, Texas where he graduated from Abilene Christian University with a BS in environmental science. There he began the journey that ultimately led him to Stages of Recovery. Jarrod was ruled by the disease of addiction for over 8 years and is now coming up on four years of sobriety. He currently resides in Waco where he found sobriety, peace, freedom, and purpose. Jarrod has worked with kids for the majority of his adult life as an outdoor instructor/guide, as well as recreation staff at countless camps across the US including Texas, North Carolina, and California. In addition to providing support at our Transitional Living community in Waco, Jarrod works as a recreation therapist at Waco Center for Youth where he mentors at-risk youth. He also moonlights as a Disc Jockey all around Texas. 

“I chose to work in recovery because it saved my life. I connect with the guys that come through Stages. The same goes for the kiddos at WCY. I know the feeling of hopelessness and I hope to continue helping others out of that pit. The way of life afforded me through sobriety is something I hope to continue to give back to others as long as I am alive.” 

Favorite Quote: 

“I Understood Myself Only After I Destroyed Myself. And Only In The Process Of Fixing Myself, Did I Know Who I Really Was.” Sade Andria Zabala

Steve Richardson, LMSW, LCDC, CCTS

Therapist
Waco

Steve Richardson is a husband, father, and grandfather. He is also a man in long-term recovery and has a son in recovery as well. Through this journey, few would find it difficult to relate to Steve, making him especially adept at developing relationships with clients and their families. Recovery is so central to his life, that at the age of 52, Steve closed a successful consulting firm and returned to school to become a licensed clinical social worker, as well as a licensed chemical dependency counselor. His education includes a BA in Literature from Texas Tech University, a BS in Psychology at Tarleton State University and a MA in Social Work at the University of Southern California. Along with his extensive education, degrees and training, he brings 50+ years of life experience to every individual, family and group session. Steve believes that no one’s illness should dictate the quality of their future and that their pain and struggle are real. Every addict’s life matters and there is always hope. In other words, no one’s future is carved in stone. His certainly wasn’t. 

Favorite Quote 

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein 

Stacy Hobbs, MSN, APRN

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

Stacy has worked in various positions as psychiatric support staff and administration before going to nursing school. After nursing school, she worked for a Level I Trauma Center in the Emergency Department. She realized how many people suffer from mental health and substance use disorders and felt compelled to return to school to become a PMHNP. In addition to working for Stages, she also has a private practice seeing patients with dual diagnosis. She provides extensive care through evaluation, diagnosis, treatment with medication as well as supportive therapy. Stacy has been in recovery since February 5, 1997. The 12-step rooms in Lubbock and the relationships found in them have been the foundation of her recovery. She grew up in Plainview and lived in Lubbock for many years where she pursued her BSN and MSN at Texas Tech University Health Science Center. Stacy has a deep appreciation for West Texas – it’s part of who she is. She currently lives on a ranch outside of Waco with her husband Larry, of 20 years. They have a daughter and two granddaughters, and a son who is attending Texas Tech University.  

“I felt like God was always calling me to work in mental health, but after I got into recovery, I knew. I love my work and I especially love working with college age patients. If I can make a difference in one person’s life, it has all been worth it! 

Tommy Willis

Group Facilitator
Lubbock

Tommy was raised in Tulia, Texas and is married to his first love, Rosalind. They are volunteers for the state of Texas’ program called “Twogether in Texas”, where engaged couples undergo an eight hour workshop. They dedicate their time as a couple to marriage ministry and outreach in the community. Together they have six children and twelve grandchildren. Tommy has been with Stages of Recovery since 2018. He has a Master’s in Addictions Counseling. He is currently in the process of obtaining his LPC Associate and LCDC licenses. Tommy began his recovery in December 2001. He’s driven to give back to the recovery community after seeing so many friends and family who suffered from addiction lose their lives. His journey hasn’t been easy and if he can help the next man, woman, boy or girl choose a different path than he did, it fills his heart with joy.  

Favorite Quote 

“The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” John Wooden

Mechie Scherpereel

business development

Mechie went through Stages of Recovery 10 years ago with the dream of one day obtaining a degree and providing for his daughter. He had his daughter at five months sober and started working as a janitor at Texas Tech University in 2011. After discharging from Stages of Recovery, Mechie received a scholarship at Texas Tech and The Center for the Study of Addiction and Recovery. Not only did he receive his Bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech, he pursued his Masters in 2014. Mechie has committed his life to helping others and lives by the motto that he doesn’t care about their feelings, he cares about their lives. His humble roots, passion to help others, and commitment to being his best self is what we at Stages of Recovery embody! We are ready to make shock waves in recovery with this guy!

Dustin Huckabe

business development

Dustin is in long-term recovery and has been sober since May of 2011. He is from San Antonio, TX and is married to his lovely wife, Emma. They moved to Lubbock, TX where Dustin attended The Center for Collegiate Recovery Communities at Texas Tech University. Upon Emma’s graduation from Texas Tech in May of 2018, they relocated to Moore, OK, where Dustin graduated in 2020 with his bachelor’s degree in Social Work and recently achieved his master’s degree in Social Work from The University of Oklahoma. Dustin is also the recipient of the National Collegiate Recovery Student of the year award in 2019 for his tireless work building a recovery space on campus for students. Dustin was also the BSW student of the year in 2019 as well as a two-time recipient of the Anne and Henry Zarrow Social Justice Award for 2020-2021. Dustin has sat on numerous boards of directors in the Oklahoma community. His passion, education and ability to help others gain a life of purpose and meaning are just a few reasons why we are excited to have him on our team! 

Matthew Vasquez, LCDC-I

Therapist Lubbock

Matt obtained his bachelor’s degree in Addiction Counseling in 2017 and his master’s in 2020 in the same area of study. In 2020 Stages of Recovery welcomed him as an intern which quickly turned into a part-time then full-time position, assisting with groups and transitional housing at the men’s properties in Lubbock. Matt began his journey in counseling because he wanted to help people struggling with the disease of addiction, by being a role model and helping them realize the potential they have in recovery.   

Seeing people succeed in recovery and change their lives for the better fuels Matt to continually offer support and leadership to the recovery community here at Stages. 

“I have experienced the joy and peace that comes with sobriety and want to share that and show others that there is a way out of the darkness that is addiction.” 

Favorite quotes: 

“Pain is certain, Suffering is optional.” Gautama Buddha 

“Don’t compare yourself with other people; compare yourself with who you were yesterday.” Jordan Peterson

Lora Davis

Transitional Housing, Women’s
Lubbock

Lora heads up the Stages Transitional Living Women’s House in Lubbock as a live-in House Manager. She brings three years of recovery and a deep passion for helping women pursue their own journey of recovery. Originally from Amarillo, TX, she lived there her entire life where she married her highschool sweetheart – they have four children and six grandchildren. In 2017 she moved to Lubbock to begin a residential treatment program. While there, Lora graduated from the facility’s Mentor Program as a support peer. She continued that supportive role as she transitioned to Gina’s House, an all-female sober living program. Soon, she became a House Manager and Senior Peer Advisor where she offered leadership and support to women entering sober living for the first time. In 2019, Stages was seeking a Women’s House Manager and the Director of Gina’s House personally recommended Lora for the job. In her time at Stages, it’s clear that “Mama Lo” earns respect through her dedication and approachable nature at our women’s house. In 2020, she obtained her Certification for Trauma Support Specialist and wishes to pursue further education in trauma counseling to continue helping women in recovery. In her spare time, Lora enjoys crafts, crocheting, jigsaw puzzles and crosswords.

Seaver Richardson

Transitional Housing, Men’s
Waco

Seaver is a certified recovery coach and has worked in the treatment industry for over four years. He was born in Irving, TX and was raised in Grapevine. Seaver has been celebrating sobriety since 2015. He’s highly active in the Waco recovery community as a 12-step sponsor and mentor, and has helped found Waco’s first DAA (Drug Addicts Anonymous) meeting. As Chief Client Relations Officer and Lead House Manager at Stages Waco, he works directly with clients on a daily basis, providing them guidance, structure and accountability while helping them develop the coping skills necessary to achieve long-term sobriety. Seaver has completed coursework at Tarrant County Community College, Texas Tech University, and Schreiner University). In addition to working for Stages, he’s a proud son, brother, uncle and dog-dad. 

“My ‘why’ is simple. I want to make a difference. God has allowed me to become a voice for the voiceless. Being able to advocate for other addicts/alcoholics like myself and using my past experiences (good and bad) to help them is the bright spot of my life.” 

Favorite Quote 

“A man’s greatness is not measured by his ability to rise for one shining moment, it is measured by his capacity to remain standing while mired in darkness.” Steve Richardson

Jordan Diaz

Waco

Jordan graduated from the University of Colorado in 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in finance. He joined Stages of Recovery in July of 2020, and has been in active recovery since October of 2018. Jordan was born and raised in Waco, TX. He strongly believes that working with Stages of Recovery adds purpose and meaning to life, and is one way to pass along that which was freely given to him – the opportunity to live a fulfilling life. Stages has entrusted Jordan with several responsibilities including assisting the transitional housing team at the men’s property in Waco, admissions and working as a mentor and accountability partner to men and women in our facility as part of Stage’s Client Development program. 

Stephen “Medley”

CEO and Business Development Director

Stephen “Medley” is the founding owner of Stages of Recovery, Inc. and The Door Sober Living Community. A visionary with a passion to help those in recovery, he saw a need in the community and decided to take matters into his own hands. Medley has over twenty years of recovery time. After getting clean at the age of nineteen, he knows firsthand how to show many of our younger clients that it is still possible to have fun in recovery. Medley graduated from Texas Tech University as a member of the Collegiate Recovery Community at the Center for the Study of Addiction and Recovery with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Medley is the leader of the company and an inspiration to all staff members. Medley understands the power of knowing why; why we made poor decisions and the importance of knowing and remembering why we don’t want to make them again.  

“I’m passionate about helping individuals realize and reach their dreams by focusing on their WHY.”