On behalf of the Alumni Services team I would like to thank everyone who attended and helped make the 2013 reunion a success. The bonfire meeting was back and a huge hit. We were all very grateful to have a real bonfire. We received a lot of positive feedback about the move back to May, and we could not have had more beautiful spring weather!
We had a sobriety countdown Saturday afternoon as part of the birthday meeting and there were 877 years of sobriety represented by those there! We gave a 23 year chip to one of our alumni and 11 desire chips on Sunday morning. Many celebrated their sobriety birthdays on Saturday. Ernie, David and Marty were fantastic. We are so grateful they told their stories.
The reunion is truly a team effort by too many people to mention. We are so grateful for all the help we received from staff, as well as our 25 or so community volunteers. So, THANK YOU ONE AND ALL for your contribution!
In case you missed the alumni update from the newsletter I thought we would recap in honor of alumni reunion in two weeks.
Krystle Conner is now Alumni Support Representative, jumping in just before reunion last September.
Louis Romano expanded his role with alumni and has begun visiting alumni meetings in our various cities, along with his other duties.
Pam Searfoss joined us as the Alumni Follow-Up Coordinator. She is now the voice on the phone who calls to check in on alumni.
Sherri Layton gives leadership to the department in her role as Outpatient Services Administrator.
As a team –
We have all been more active in our alumni groups around the state and this will continue in the future with Krystle, Louis and Sherri visiting meetings.
Working hard to connect the departing patient with alumni in their home area. We are developing a master alumni phone list. Let us know if you want your number on it.
Speaker Swap - In April we had alumni from one area speak at alumni meetings in other areas. It has been lots of fun and we plan to do this again in September.
We are working with conference committees to create opportunities for our alumni to participate in their local conference around the state.
Our Business Development Department is sponsoring an alumni fellowship activity in several of our cities this year.
And then there’s REUNION – we hope all our alumni will attend the reunion May 3 – 5th. Many of our groups are having a city gathering during Reunion. We can help you with information on who is where; just let us know. We have three great speakers –
David O. from Austin
Marti R. from Austin
Ernie G. from San Diego
This year we have added a sobriety countdown to the birthday meeting and a city shout-out so our current patients can identify alumni from their home area.
We want to hear your feedback about alumni services in your area. Let us know how we can help you achieve the goal of strengthening your group to best reach out to the new alumni returning home. Please feel free to share your compliments, needs, or concerns with Sherri at email@example.com or (830)238-4222 ext 103. We look forward to seeing you in May and at your alumni meeting after that!
The family week program is available to all patients and their families and usually takes place as the patient is ready, generally 3rd or 4th week of treatment. The La Hacienda Family Program staff points family members toward program information on the schedule and lodging on our web page under programs or for those without web access, the team sends out a packet as needed with the same detailed information about family week and where to stay. This contact with information and some guidance is typically made within the first 5 days of the patient admitting. There is information about what to expect from your patient as well as common reactions family members may experience. Below is a list of these common experiences for family.
1. A tendency to keep secrets or avoid talking to staff regarding telephone communication between patient and family during treatment.
2. A temptation to minimize family problems.
3. Blaming staff of the program for the problems you are experiencing in your life.
4. Resentment towards family member in treatment: “He/She’s getting help and I’m not!”
5. A greater focus on problems that could wait until treatment is completed.
6. Believing that non-chemically-dependent family members do not need a recovery support system.
7. Resistance to attending family support groups, Al-Anon meetings or La Hacienda Family Program.
8. Telling yourself that what you are experiencing now or what happened in the past is or was not that bad and that other people’s needs are more important.
With authorization to make contact in place, the Family Program Staff will start the ball rolling toward a rewarding experience for all invited guests. We look forward to the chance to be of assistance.
La Hacienda’s Continuing Care Department links our patients to the next steps in their recovery once they leave treatment. Our staff works closely with the case managers and other treatment team members to find the services that will meet the patients’ needs. We utilize a great number of resources - intensive outpatient programs, extended care facilities, therapists, and physicians. We are continually researching and growing our network of professionals so we refer to those providers whose philosophy is compatible with what we do here at La Hacienda. At La Hacienda, we know that one of the keys to recovery is what happens once someone leaves treatment.
The Continuing Care Plan is made up of three important components — body, mind, and spirit— so La Hacienda includes resources that address medical, clinical, and spiritual needs, in addition to 12 Step recovery groups and alumni meetings . Some patients need additional resources, for example, connections for college-based recovery support. The treatment team will help the patient set goals and determine a plan for staying on course after they have left La Hacienda. Finally, we conduct follow up phone calls with our alumni at one week, ninety days and one year after discharge. We check in with how they are doing and try to be a resource should there be any concerns that arise.
“What’s the story with all these rocks”?
If you have ever visited La Hacienda, whether you were a patient or just a friend, you cannot miss all the beautiful, colorful rocks all over our campus. The rocks say many things; good bye to drugs and alcohol, good bye to deceased loved ones, intentions for the future, prayers, quotes from songs and sometimes just painted with pretty colors and designs. For the month of January we have decided to highlight the La Ha Rocks. I had grand plans to write a great article on the history of the rocks; how it started, why we do it, so on and so forth. However, La Ha has been around 40 years and although we have employees that seem to have been around that long, no one knows the official story. After more investigating it seems the significance and history of the rocks, according to the staff, is as personal and different as the rocks themselves. Also some staff I asked are alumni, like myself, and have more of a personal experience. So instead of a bunch of facts about the history of the rocks, I will be posting some of the feedback I have received. We will start with mine:
The rocks remind me of all the people that have gone on the path of recovery before me. That I am not alone. It reminds me of the work we do every day at La Hacienda. I also feel, as a patient who once painted a rock – it set an intention for my recovery and connected me to the land where my life began to change.
If you have a rock story you would like to tell – email it to me, firstname.lastname@example.org
If these hills could speak, the land where La Hacienda now rests would tell a captivating tale. Elizabeth Compton Joy, affectionately known as “Grandma Joy” was the first to pave the way to healing on our soil. From 1872 to 1920, Grandma Joy served as the local doctor in Hunt, traveling on horseback with her medicine bag.
In 1922, Issac and Elver Ann Zumwalt built a 15-room wooden hotel where La Hacienda now resides. In 1924, the hotel was devastated by a fire. The family moved to the nearby town of Kerrville and sold the property to the Taylors.
For seventeen years, the Taylors farmed, built a blacksmith shop, and raised eight children together on 33 acres that included our hilltop. In September 1943, Nancy Taylor sold the acreage that she and her late husband (who died of a heart attack in 1941) had owned for seventeen years to a fellow named Claude David, or “C.D.” This magical crook of earth seemed ideal for a small, exclusive hotel.
B.N. “Pete” Schumacher was hired to construct the two-story stone building with a red tile roof that is still in use today. The first floor held an office and a dining room with a 130-person seating capacity. The second floor had twenty rooms with private baths and cross-ventilation. This area is now known as La Hacienda’s “Therapy Row.” In 1946, the hammers and nails were finally put to rest and the name “Hill Top Hotel” marked the very same building where a new kind of magic is taking place today.
C.D. managed the property until 1954 when he sold the hotel to a man from Houston named J.W. Colvin. Named after Camille Bermann, owner and chef of Maxims in Houston, the Villa Camille resort was recognized for fine dining and internationally famous dishes. Eventually, the resort went private and access to the facility was limited to its members. Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio are also said to have been guests at the famed facility that now hosts the La Hacienda Treatment Center.
In 1971, the Villa Camille hotel changed hands once again and was briefly called the La Hacienda Resort. In 1972, the word Resort changed to Treatment Center and since that time, visitors have done far more than playing cards and resting up.
The foundation of hard work passed down from the Taylor family lives on, as does Grandma Joy’s spirit of healing. Our founders, owners, physicians and staff consist of a small group of individuals who are passionate and dedicated to La Hacienda’s mission of treating patients and family members who are struggling with the disease of addiction.
Written by Jennifer King, www.jkingmarketing.com - 10/5/2011
 Jeanne Sutton. Hunt. Texas – The Early Years, 1857-1959 © 2011 p. 109
K2 and Spice
These two substances seem to have emerged on the scene in the past year and are becoming increasingly more popular, especially among the younger patients. In actuality, reports from the media indicate the phenomenon has been growing since 2006. Essentially, both of these substances offer the same “benefits” to our chemically dependent patients. They are a mixture of herbal compounds, manufactured in China and Korea, that contain synthetic cannabinoids, or as my patients say, “fake weed” that produces effects in the brain similar to THC. Some of my recent patients talk about using these while on probation because they are not detectable in any of the drug screening methods available at this time. Oddly enough, they were discovered during a cannabinoid research study at Clemson University in the 1990’s .
At the present time, there are no studies available regarding the effect of these substances on the body with the exception of one German toxicology study that concluded that 3 ounces of Spice had potentially the same harmful effects as one pack of cigarettes. Clinicians and physicians across the country, however, are treating the smokers of K2 and Spice and reporting that the patients are having hallucinations, nausea and vomiting, agitation, and increased blood pressure and heart rate readings. They further speculate that the synthetic cannabinoids can have the same detrimental effects as THC.
In addition, both substances are currently considered unscheduled with regard to DEA regulations and therefore technically legal in the U.S. Incidentally, the majority of K2/Spice sales seem to be online.
Since 2010, these substances have been banned or moved into a controlled category by 3 states and legislation is being considered in 6 others to do the same. In 2011, Texas legislated that possession and sale of these products now carry the same penalty as Marijuana. They have also been banned in 18 countries in Europe, Asia, South America, and in the Pacific Islands but are currently legal in Canada, New Zealand and the US. Spice was recently classified and is being regulated in the United Kingdom as a scheduled drug.
While the names of these two drugs are being used interchangeably by patients, they do have some differences. As near as I can determine, the main difference is that they use a different mixture of herbs and cannabinoids. Spice which is manufactured under 21 different brand names is sold at smoke shops as an “herbal smoking alternative.” On the other hand, K2 is sold as incense in other stores and bears the label, “Not For Human Consumption.” Maybe this is why smokers of K2 experience agitation and vomiting when they smoke heavier amounts.
When dealing with patients that have been using these substances and are considering returning to their use, I bring up some specific points. First, since there are no definitive studies on these products, no one knows how much harm they can do. Russian Roulette anyone? Can anything good come from inhaling smoke anyway? I never see people running into burning buildings in order to inhale the smoke. Secondly, I will point at that the use of these substances is an attempt at bargaining in recovery much the same way an alcoholic does when he drinks “non alcoholic” beer. They are in essence trying to hold on to whatever vestiges of their former lives they can. In this case, the patient’s understanding and commitment to Step One is questionable. Finally, it all comes down to trying to change the way we feel. If the patient is working a solid recovery program and is becoming spiritually fit, why are substances like this even necessary? It is food for thought. I am sure we will hear more from the treatment community and the media about these substances as time goes by.
Hello Alumni this is Krystle here at Alumni Headquarters! Wow, I can’t believe that Reunion has already come and gone. I had such a great time this year! I got to meet new faces and get reacquainted with some old ones. It’s always nice to see that the power of God runs deep in each and every one of us! I would like to say a special thanks to all of our Kerrville Alumni Volunteers as well as the folks from Austin, Waco, and Dallas that were willing to help with whatever we needed. We are always grateful for all the help that we receive from the volunteers; anyone who’s interested in getting involved next year please let us know! Our Alumni always make the Reunion as great as it is!
On Saturday, after all the fun festivities were over, I took Bryan K., the Saturday morning speaker, to Billy’s Western Wear here in Kerrville. He decided he needed some cowboy boots before he went back home to Philly! It was pretty fun watching him shop for boots in his green Eagles Jersey. He was so thrilled that he wore them home so that he could get off the plane in his Texas boots! He says he may be dressing up as a cowboy for Halloween this year; I’ll try and get some pictures so you guys can see him Texas style!
I would also like to thank the Waco/Dallas group for inviting us to come out for dinner and fellowship. We had such a great time! We also stopped by the Austin campout and enjoyed getting to be involved in a great meeting, camp fire, and fun - they had done some face painting that was pretty intense! Thank you guys for having us!
Reunion this year was a great success! All the help from you guys and the staff was amazing! Until next time!
Happy, Joyous, and Free,
Our 40th annual reunion is behind us and we are grateful for everyone who helped make it a success. On Saturday we had 424 for lunch and 160 alumni and guests were here for dinner on Friday. Despite the rain we had a larger than average crowd here on Friday night. And speaking of the rain – although it did rain throughout our events Friday night we were blessed to have breaks in the rain on Saturday at just the right times. Everyone seemed to take it all in stride and it didn’t dampen our spirits. That giant tent sure helps keep things dry!
The true blessing of the weekend were the awesome crew of volunteers from our alumni and Kerrville recovery community who helped out in so many ways. There were a total of 46 volunteers, some of whom worked from Friday through Sunday. We also had a lot of help from staff!
During the birthday meeting we gave out sobriety chips ranging from 1 year to 27 years! It was a great encouragement to hear from so many people about how their time at La Hacienda impacted them in such a powerful and life-changing way. We saw so much great recovery this weekend!
Thank you to everyone who helped out. We already are planning a few changes for next year and would welcome your thoughts on anything we might do to improve reunion for future years.
The Alumni Team
We are getting ready for you!! Alumni reunion THIS weekend!