Dr. Hager graduated from Texas A&M University in 1984 with a B.S. in Microbiology. Graduation from medical school at the University of Texas, Medical Branch in 1988 was followed by completion of psychiatry training there in 1992. He was certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in 1995.
Dr. Hager’s career has spanned military, private practice, state hospital, developmental disability, and correctional settings. While working for Prison Health Services, he served as the Director of Mental Health Services for the Indiana Department of Correction.
Jails proved to be a very active firing line for working with addicts and alcoholics. Dr. Hager’s affinity for this was catalyzed by a strong personal interest in the spirituality of recovery.
In addition to work, Dr. Hager is a member of a local cycling team, does website design, and spends time with a family that stays busy with horse shows, shooting sports, golf and flying.
After doing basic training in Ft Jackson, SC in 1966, Leonard Ensminger served with the Army’s 1st Infantry Division in Vietnam for one year. His next tour of duty was in South Korea for 2 ½ years where he met his wife of 44 years, Chong. Upon returning to The States, Leonard attended Cook School, Culinary School and Hospital Food Service School. This training prepared him for another tour of duty in Vietnam, only this time with the 24th Evac Hospital for a year before he was selected to cook at the General’s Officers Club in Vietnam. Back stateside, Leonard spent two years at Ft Sam Houston with the 24th Evac Hospital again, returned to school for the Hospital Food Service Supervisors Course and then served as a Senior Food Service Instructor at the Hospital Food Service School. After 2 ½ years there, his duties changed to being a Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of Food Service at hospitals in Wurzburg, Germany, Washington, D.C., Stuttgart, Germany, and Ft. Hood, Texas, respectively. After 8 ½ years as an NCOIC, Leonard took a break and spent the next two years writing Skill Qualification tests for all Army food service personnel’s promotion requirements. He returned to NCOIC duties for the next two years at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas where he retired from the military in 1988. Since Leonard’s military career prepared him well for a civilian career in food service, he obtained employment for the next 5 ½ years as Food and Nutrition Services Director at the Army Residents Community in San Antonio, followed by another 5 ½ years as assistant Food and Nutrition Services Director with the Methodist Health Care System. Leonard then joined the La Hacienda team as Food and Nutrition Services Director, a position he has held for the last 14 years.
Many people in the addiction field think that education and intellect make it harder to get and stay sober. Although it is true that intellectual people tend to talk more and look for scientific solutions to sobriety, the actual problems are not much different from anyone else’s problems. Individual needs may warrant more time in treatment but the education and discipline of the person is not important. The more someone avoids the basic problem of not drinking or using narcotics, the more time it takes for them to actually address the addiction and not “issue man”.
Some professionals should plan on more time in treatment than other professionals, but I have never seen a profession that has any more effect on sobriety than a spouse. Spouses do not cause addictions but they are convenient for blame. Egos may be larger in one profession than another but all professions have egos and addiction problems. Recovery is about the work that a person does and the honesty that is expressed in that work. I would question a test of humility that did not include working with others for no gain like the work that is done in 12 Step programs. The spiritual solution is about more than intellect or education.
Several years ago, I was at a professional meeting of military men who proudly said their addiction rate was only 5% because that is the percent of people with problems caught at their gate checks. I am someone that was missed by similar gate checks, so I do not always agree with statistics when there is information to the contrary. In my experience, I don’t think gate checks make addiction in the military any less or any more than any other profession.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) advises people to ask specific questions when seeking addiction treatment. Among those questions is “How do 12-Step programs fit into drug addiction treatment?” Gaya Dowling, PhD, deputy chief of NIDA says, “NIDA considers 12-Step programs to be an important component of recovery, based on the research evidence.” She goes on to say they do “not categorize 12-Step programs in and of themselves as ‘treatment’ per se.”
Anyone who knows about treatment here at La Hacienda knows we have believed this, and have practiced it, for many, many years. We believe the 12-Steps are foundational in recovery but we also incorporate the body and mind components of recovery through our excellent clinical care. We’ve been doing it that way for most of our 40 years! It’s always great when science affirms what we have seen work for thousands of people.
Holidays bring on an exorbitant amount of activity for some people. There are things to buy, preparations to be made, cleaning to be done, invitations to send or call in, and sometimes even some home repair. In these times we can be tempted to skip or put off meetings or even start avoiding our sponsors. Our prayer and meditation time can become shorter or even non-existent for a while. Since this busyness brings on more stress, it would stand to reason that we should increase, not decrease, the activities that help us cope. Over the years I have found if I am really busy, I put off doing my self-care practices, then I never seem to get to them. Conversely, when I schedule those things first, I not only have time for them, but also for the other things I have to get done.
In his book First Things First, Stephen Covey, Ph.D. gives an example to illustrate this. He tells how one day he broke his college class into small groups and gave each group the same materials: a jar, several large rocks, several small rocks, some pebbles, and some sand. The assignment for each group was to place all the items in the jar and nothing could be left out. As the items appeared to be too numerous to fit in the jars, several of the students verbalized disbelief that the task could be accomplished. Dr. Covey assured them that the task was possible and encouraged them to begin. After some discussion, debate, and much trial and error, the first group finally accomplished the task successfully while the others quickly followed suit. Regardless of everything they tried, they found out that only one method could achieve the desired result. Put the big rocks in first, and then place the smaller ones around them. After that, pour in the pebbles. The sand can then be poured in to fill up the rest of the space. The conclusion drawn by the students was that when the big rocks go in first, there is room for the smaller ones. For the chemically dependent person in recovery, the big rocks are found primarily in Steps 10-12 and in other self care activities.
I was walking past Ari’s office and saw this rock! This person is obviously has some fear, however, the colors are bright and there is a happy face sun above! Ari probably knows a lot more about this rock and the true meaning.
The picture below is when I took the rock picture; I totally interrupted their meeting :) They don’t look too irritated with me though!