Guide for Children with ALCOHOLIC PARENTS


Introduction

If you grew up with an alcoholic parent, it may give you peace to know you are not alone. Approximately 7.5 million (or 1 in 10) children in America are raised by at least one alcoholic parent.1 For these youth, childhood memories are not something they look back on with fondness. Childhood was an uncertain and often scary time for them.

What is it Like to Grow Up with Alcoholic Parents?

The children of those struggling with alcohol abuse often live in chaos. They experience situations their peers may never know about because of their parent’s addiction. Children of parents who are alcoholics learn not to trust at an early age. 

Hiding their Parent’s Addiction

It is typical for a parent to tell children to hide their drinking problem. Children learn it is alright to lie for a parent, and the line between right and wrong begins to blur. If a parent allows a child to skip school to aid their alcohol abuse, education for the child becomes less critical.    

Codependency

Without knowing it, children become enablers of their parent’s addiction. The enabling begins with children taking care of their parents and perhaps younger siblings. In these situations, the child often handles responsibilities such as doing the dishes, making dinner, or paying bills. Whatever the parent instructs the child to do, the child often does so to avoid conflict.

There are few, if any, benefits for children growing up with alcoholic parents. As adults, they can draw direct lines from many of their life problems back to their childhood. Adults of alcoholic parents usually have many aspects in common.

Traits of Adults Who Grew Up with Alcoholic Parents

Adult children of alcoholic parents tend to share certain personality traits and characteristics with their parents. Janet Woititz, an American psychologist, focused much of her career on studying the impact alcoholic parents had on their children.2 Her research is well-known in therapeutic and recovery circles.

Janet Woititz Traits

Janet Woititz listed several personality traits that adult children of alcoholics often have in common, including:

  • Not know what normal behavior should look like
  • Inability to finish tasks
  • Tell a lie over the truth
  • Be unforgiving to themselves
  • Unable to enjoy fun activities
  • Take themselves too seriously
  • Inability to form intimate relationships
  • Overreacting to changes out of their control
  • Continually seeking approval from others
  • Feeling like an outsider
  • Being overly responsible or irresponsible
  • Loyal to a fault
  • Extremely impulsive

Adult children often want to feel like they belong and seek approval from outside themselves, but they may not know how to feel “normal.” It becomes challenging to hold a job, keep a relationship, and maintain a home.   

Tony A’s “The Laundry List”

Before Dr. Woititz’s landmark research, Tony A. an adult child of alcoholic parents, developed and published his list of characteristics that children of alcoholic parents develop because of their  environment.3 He named those traits “The Laundry List,” and it includes:

  • Becoming isolated and fearing authority figures
  • Seeking approval from others at their own expense
  • Fearing personal criticism and angry people
  • Developing compulsive behaviors like overeating, overworking, gambling or alcoholism
  • Viewing self as a victim
  • Feeling overly responsible
  • Connecting easily with the feelings of other people
  • Feeling guilty for standing up for self
  • Becoming an adrenaline enthusiast
  • Confusing rescuing or pity with love
  • Inability to express true feelings
  • Having low self-esteem
  • Fearing abandonment
  • Assuming the personality traits of an alcoholic

As a result of Tony A.’s list, other adult children of alcoholic parents began to form communities. Most importantly, people began to heal and no longer felt alone.

There are similarities between Dr. Woititz’s and Tony A.’s lists. Growing up with alcoholic parents is isolating and traumatic for children. They learn to distrust and fear adults while thriving on codependency behavior. Children of parents who were alcoholics often mature into troubled adults.

Adverse Childhood Experiences and the Mental Impact of Alcoholic Parents

Adult children of parents who struggled with alcoholism think differently than other adults. Four distinct adverse childhood experiences have ramifications long into adulthood: 

Alcoholism Leading to Neglect

Parents with alcohol abuse issues tend to be interested in one thing: their next drink. It is not uncommon for them to ignore their children to the point of neglect. Neighbors, family, or school personnel may step in to see why the children are hungry, dirty, or experiencing personality changes.  

Alcoholism Leading to Abuse

When alcoholic parents become abusive, childhood becomes a nightmare. That nightmare continues long into adulthood as adult children struggle to deal with the anger, fear, and other emotional baggage from their youth.  

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is a severe mental disorder that may occur in the children of alcoholic parents. Children who have experienced abuse of any kind are likely to have long-term traumatic effects. As adults, they may have tried to forget about those memories, but the trauma still negatively impacts their lives.  

Addiction

It is common for children of alcoholics to begin using alcohol at a young age themselves. Alcoholism is known to run in families, and adults may try to cope with the negative memories of their childhood through substance abuse. Additionally, parents who are alcoholics may encourage their children to drink with them.

Adult children of alcoholic parents should address and aim to overcome their adverse childhood experiences to have a fulfilling life. Negative experiences from childhood that have no closure continue to fester and may cause irreparable harm to one’s wellbeing.

Relationship Trouble for Adult Children of Alcoholic Parents

Adults who grew up in an alcoholic home tend to have difficulty developing and keeping normal relationships. They did not have healthy relationships modeled for them as children, and they may only know about unhealthy relationships. 

Experience Alcoholism Traits Even if They Do Not Drink

Tony A. referred to this factor as being “para-alcoholic.”4 The term describes someone who does not drink but reacts in distinct ways because someone else close to them drank. Over time, this term has evolved to “co-alcoholic” and then to “codependent.”

Seek Poor Relationships

Adult children of alcoholics are used to dysfunctional relationships. They may be attracted to dysfunctional or unhealthy relationships. These relationships likely are chaotic, and some may describe them as drama-filled or toxic.

Sabotage Relationships

Whether in a good relationship or bad, adult children of alcoholics tend to sabotage relationships. It may be a relationship with another adult or one of their own children. Relationships of adult children of alcoholics mirror those of their parents, even if they do not consume alcohol. Understanding how this is possible can help someone change behaviors and become the best person they can be.

Adult Children of Alcoholics / Dysfunctional Families

If you do not want to end up like your parents, take the first step towards the rest of your life. There are several ways you can deliberately change your thinking and behavior. It is challenging to do this on your own but having a support system makes it easier and holds you accountable.   

12-Step Support Group

A variety of 12-step groups exist to support various family members and loved ones of people suffering from addictions. The 12-step support groups for adult children of alcoholics, often abbreviated as ACoA, bring together survivors of parental alcoholics who learn. ACoA helps these individuals overcome issues related to their childhoods. 

Adults victimized as children because of parental alcohol abuse may seek additional support in support groups that focus on sexual assault. There are also groups for codependency and other issues that may have developed out of a dysfunctional childhood.  

In addition to these groups, you may decide you need treatment to get over your addiction. Sudden alcohol withdrawal can be fatal, so it is vital to take the proper steps towards treatment.

Addiction Treatment

One of the most unfortunate outcomes for adult children of alcoholics is that they may develop substance use disorder as well. Seeking treatment is the best decision you can make for this situation. Physicians and certified professionals help to end alcohol consumption in the safest way. 

Treating Alcoholism

Sudden withdrawal of alcoholism can lead to death, so treatment must be overseen by a professional. The following are ways to treat extreme alcohol use disorder: 

  • Treatments: A variety of treatments exist to stop drinking. A residential treatment facility may be required to help you get sober, especially if you expect withdrawal symptoms. Psychological counseling is also a crucial component of treatment. You will receive assistance with developing an aftercare plan to stay sober after treatment.
  • Medications: It is common to treat extreme alcohol use disorder with drugs like benzodiazepines, which calm down the patient. Antipsychotic medications can also be administered on a short-term basis to help minimize anxiety and nightmares. Other medications such as disulfiram (Antabuse) can prevent a patient from drinking. If you do drink after taking this drug, you will get sick and likely vomit. Professionals use Vivitrol injections for the same purpose.
  • Withdrawal/Delirium Tremens: When sudden withdrawal of alcohol occurs, you may experience sudden confusion. The confusion may last up to three days, along with nightmares, shaking, sweating, and shivering. Benzodiazepines are helpful here to calm down a patient experiencing delirium tremens.5

Therapies

Several types of therapies help adult children of alcoholic parents address unresolved issues from their childhood. Therapy helps these patients stand firmly and confidently in adulthood. Therapies are an essential part of extreme alcohol use disorder treatment.  

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This type of “talk therapy” benefits those struggling with alcoholism by getting to the root causes of their addictions. You can explore dysfunctional emotions and address unresolved issues from your childhood through CBT.6
  • Family Therapy:Alcoholism is often referred to as a “family disease,” so seeking family therapy is appropriate. You might want to involve your parents, siblings, spouse, or children to participate in family therapy treatment.

A professional can help you find the correct treatment. Choosing the wrong alcoholic treatment can prolong your addiction, cause complications, or deter you from seeking proper care. You will find encouraging staff and others in recovery ready to be part of your support network.

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 Admission

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.”