benzodiazepines guide

What are Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines are a class of psychoactive drugs commonly used as anxiolytics, sedatives, and hypnotics. They work by binding to the GABA receptors in brain cells which reduces stress and anxiety levels, relaxes muscles (easing spasms), induces sleep, lowers convulsions caused by epilepsy, and prevents seizures. Benzo drugs are also used as a general anesthetic.   

History of Benzo Use

Benzodiazepines have been around for over 50 years. Dr. Leo Sternbach first synthesized them in 1955 as an alternative to barbiturates due to their less severe side effects. The first benzo drug produced was chlordiazepoxide (Librium).1 They have been widely prescribed for decades because they can be effective at treating many conditions that cause people to stress or have difficulty sleeping.

Although they were originally developed as a treatment for anxiety and insomnia, they have since turned into the substance of abuse that is most often abused in America.      

Drug Class and Schedule

Benzos are a class of drugs primarily used for treating anxiety, and they work by reducing stress levels in your brain cells to help you feel more relaxed. They also prevent seizures that may happen as well as make it easier for you to sleep.

Benzodiazepines are controlled in Schedule IV of the Controlled Substances Act.2   

Types of Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are known by their generic name or brand name. Some of the most common benzodiazepines include:

  • Diazepam (Valium): Valium is a medication that belongs in the benzodiazepines family. It is used to treat many conditions, including anxiety, muscle spasms, and insomnia. Valium can also be prescribed for patients suffering from seizures or convulsions due to epilepsy and for those going through alcohol withdrawal.
  • Lorazepam (Ativan): Lorazepam, sold under the brand name Ativan, is a benzodiazepine medication. It is used to treat anxiety disorders, trouble sleeping, and seizures.
  • Alprazolam (Xanax): Alprazolam, sold under the brand name Xanax, belongs to a class of medications called benzodiazepines. It is used to treat panic and anxiety disorders.
  • Clonazepam (Klonopin): Clonazepam, sold under the brand Klonopin, is a medication used to prevent and treat seizures and panic disorder.     

Benzodiazepines Guide: What do Benzodiazepines Treat?


Benzos are commonly used for the treatment of anxiety. They affect the brain’s GABA receptors, which slows down the activity in the central nervous system (CNS). The patient may experience feelings of relaxation.

Benzodiazepines were once the most commonly prescribed treatment for anxiety. Today, there are newer and more effective treatments available that carry a smaller risk than benzodiazepines.

Benzos most commonly used to treat anxiety disorders are clonazepam, alprazolam, and lorazepam.        


Benzodiazepines are an important medicine in the treatment of epilepsy. They are primarily prescribed for status epilepticus and seizures associated with post-anoxic insult due to their rapid onset of action, high efficacy rates, and minimal toxicity.3

Benzodiazepines used for the treatment of seizures include clonazepam (Klonopin), clorazepate, lorazepam, clobazam, and diazepam (Valium).    


Benzodiazepines have been used for the treatment of insomnia since the 1970s. They can reduce anxiety and promote restful sleep by binding to the gamma-aminobutyric acid-A (GABA-A) receptors in the brain.

Benzos used for the treatment of insomnia include lorazepam, nitrazepam, oxazepam, temazepam, triazolam, and flurazepam.    


Alongside their ability to slow down activity in the central nervous system, benzodiazepines have a dose-dependent ventilatory depressant effect. As such, they are widely used in clinical anesthesia. The four benzos used in clinical anesthesia include the agonists midazolam, diazepam and lorazepam, and the antagonist flumazenil.4    

Muscle Relaxation

Due to their ability to decrease activity in the central nervous system, benzodiazepines are often prescribed for the treatment of muscle spasms. Benzodiazepines are used along with rest and physical therapy for short-term relief. Diazepam is the only benzodiazepine that is FDA-approved for the treatment of spasticity and muscle spasms.   

Alcohol Withdrawal

Benzodiazepines are a safe, effective, and preferred treatment for alcohol withdrawal. Various benzodiazepines have a rapid onset of action, a long duration of action, low potential for abuse, and are generally safe. These properties make them the ideal medication for the treatment of alcohol withdrawal.5

Benzodiazepines Guide: Are Benzodiazepines Addictive?

When used as recommended by a medical professional and only for a few weeks, benzodiazepines have a low risk of addiction. However, the risk for addiction increases if the substance is taken regularly for more than a few weeks, especially in higher doses. People with a history of substance abuse are also more at risk of developing an addiction to benzodiazepines.

In 2008, around 75 million prescriptions were written for benzos. It is estimated that the prevalence of benzo use in the general population is 4% to 5%. Most individuals take benzodiazepines as recommended, while 2% escalate to taking high doses and even meeting the criteria for abuse or dependence on this substance.6

In addition, roughly 2.3% to 18% of Americans have misused sedatives or tranquilizers in their lifetime. Around 10% of those individuals met the criteria for abuse or dependence. In 2010, there were approximately 186,000 new abusers of benzos.6     

Benzodiazepines Guide: Benzos Side Effects


Some of the most common short-term side effects of benzodiazepines include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Coordination problems
  • Appetite loss
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Relaxation
  • Impaired memory
  • Slowed motor function
  • Slowed breathing
  • Problems with vision


The most common long-term side effects of benzodiazepines include:

  • Increased risk of addiction
  • Impaired judgment
  • Confusion
  • Cognitive decline
  • Memory problems
  • Muscle weakness
  • Slurred speech
  • Increased risk of accidents

Benzodiazepines Guide: The Dangers of Benzodiazepine Abuse

Withdrawal Timeline

There are three possible phases for benzodiazepines withdrawal, including:

  • Early withdrawal:This phase starts shortly after a patient stops taking benzodiazepines. The patient may experience some of the symptoms of the condition the drug was treating. For example, if the patient was taking benzodiazepines to help with their anxiety, their anxiety symptoms may return or worsen.
  • Acute withdrawal:. This phase begins after the early withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms of acute withdrawal usually last for 5 to 28 days. Most of the withdrawal symptoms happen during this phase.
  • Protracted withdrawal: Although most of the withdrawal symptoms subside after the second phase, some symptoms may linger. Lingering benzo side effects are possible if the patient was taking benzodiazepines in higher doses and for a longer period. Some patients may experience withdrawal symptoms 12 months or more after quitting.     

Benzo Withdrawal Symptoms

Although not everyone experiences the same benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms, there are some of the most common:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Sweating
  • Weight loss
  • Anxiety
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Abnormal bodily sensations (goosebumps)
  • Hyperventilation
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Panic attacks
  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Headache
  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Hypersensitivity to stimuli like light and touch
  • Grand mal seizures    

Benzo Overdose

In 2019, 16% of overdose deaths involving opioids also involved benzodiazepines.7 Benzodiazepine overdose can be fatal if the patient uses the drug with alcohol or opioids or takes too much of the drug.

Some of the most common effects of benzo overdose include:

  • Confusion
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Decreased reflexes
  • Respiratory depression
  • Coma
  • Death     

Benzodiazepines Guide: Misconceptions about Benzodiazepines

Some misconceptions surround benzodiazepinestheir use, and their risk for addictionA few of the most common misconceptions about benzos are listed below:    

  • Misconception #1: Benzodiazepines can be prescribed for many medical conditions.
  • Fact: Many physicians are hesitant to prescribe benzodiazepines due to their risk for dependence.
  • Misconception #2: Benzodiazepines are not addictive.
  • Fact: Benzodiazepines can be addictive and dependence forming, with withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, muscle spasms, and depression.
  • Misconception #3: Benzodiazepines do not lead to a fatal overdose.
  • Fact: Fatal overdose with benzodiazepines is rare, but an overdose can still occur if someone combines benzos with other risky substances such as alcohol or opioids.
  • Misconception #4: Quitting cold turkey is safe.
  • Fact: Quitting benzodiazepines all at once can be deadly. Some benzodiazepine side effects from quitting cold turkey may include paranoia, mania, psychosis, seizures, and convulsions.

Treatments for Benzo Addiction


Tapering involves gradual decreases in dosage over a couple of weeks. The gradual decrease of the substance of abuse can help avoid the negative withdrawal symptoms. Whether the taper will happen more quickly or slowly depends on the patient’s needs.

A patient battling with a more severe benzodiazepine dependence may be put on a tapering schedule that involves smaller reductions over an extended period. It is recommended that the initial reduction should be 25-30% for high dosage users, followed by further reductions of 10-25% every 1-2 weeks.8

Some patients may benefit from switching to a long-lasting benzodiazepine, especially if they have been abusing the drug for a longer time.    

Medically Supervised Detox

The first step in benzo addiction treatment is a medically supervised detox. Detoxification involves eliminating the drug from the patient’s system. During detoxification, the patient receives 24/7 medical care from addiction specialists, nurses, and doctors, helping them safely detox from substances in the most comfortable way possible.     


Detoxification deals with the physical aspects of addiction. However, it does not address any mental health disorders. A patient is recommended to participate in drug addiction therapy to deal with the underlying causes of drug addiction. 

Mental health treatment can consist of different therapies, including counseling, behavioral therapy, art, and exercise. These various therapies aim to help the patient live a healthier life and build the skills necessary to quit misusing substances. The patient’s negative thoughts and behaviors need to be replaced with positive habits that will help prevent relapse even after treatment.     


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?”

Buddy Bowman


J. E. Buddy Bowman whose journey into the treatment field marks an inspiring second career. Buddy’s passion for recovery is deeply rooted in his personal journey, having experienced both therapeutic community and 12-step recovery since 1984. This profound understanding of the recovery process allows him to approach his counseling with empathy, compassion, and an unwavering belief in the transformative power of rehabilitation.

Buddy also comes to us as a “Train the Trainer” in Texas, and has specialized in working with clients involved in the Criminal Justice system. This unique background has earned him a well-deserved reputation as an empathetic and effective counselor.

Buddy finds immense joy in his family, is an avid nature enthusiast and enjoys exploring the breathtaking landscapes of the western United States. One constant companion on his journeys is his beloved dog, Bandit.

Jacob Brown LPC


Jacob graduated with his M.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Texas Tech
University in May of 2021 and has been working towards his Ph.D. in Counselor Education from Texas Tech University. As a counselor, Jacob operates from a Humanistic perspective, utilizing Existential and Person-Centered techniques.

Since beginning his journey in becoming a counselor, Jacob has strived to help people find the meaning in their lives by helping them overcome addiction and embrace a life of recovery. 

Tony Dulaney

Transitional Housing, Men’s

Check back soon to learn more about Tony!

I'm Awesome!

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Check back soon to meet 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

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! 

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!

Tommy Willis

Group Facilitator

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

Kayli Dozier, MSN, APRN

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP-BC)

Check back soon to learn more about Kayli!

Steve Richardson, LMSW, LCDC, CCTS


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 

Stephanie Franklin, LMFT, LCDC


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.

Rommel Hover, BSW, LCDC-I


“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 

Averie Holder, LCSW

Clinical Director

Averie is a graduate from Texas Tech University with her Bachelors of Social Work in 2018 then 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.” 

Ashley Loveless, LMSW


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.  

Lynn Whitfield, LPC


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.

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.”

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. 

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.”  

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.  

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 “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.”