INTERVIEWS with addiction aftercare programs: STAGES

To inaugurate a new interview series, we talk to Cole Watts of STAGES of Recovery in Lubbock, TX a sober living aftercare program targeting college students. STAGES three core concepts of recovery support, education and career development help guide university students in recovery. Can newly recovered university students really achieve sobriety in a college town? See for yourself.

minute read

1.  What was the impetus to start STAGES?  What is its mission, core beliefs and how is it funded?

STAGES of Recovery, Inc. began as an idea that people needed help in multiple areas when coming out of residential drug and alcohol treatment.  Halfway houses and sober living homes have worked in the lives of many addicts and continue to do so.

We wanted a program that has the opportunity to be even more effective.  There is a lack of care after treatment in the United States and STAGES (Sobriety Through Aftercare Guidance and Educational Services) comes as a direct result of that.  The result is to provide a segue for the recovering addict to get into a vocational school, college, or university, gain a career, and learn life skills as they continue down the path of success in recovery.

STAGES of Recovery, Inc. is a privately funded, structured aftercare program.

2.  How is the program managed?  Any best practices in management you’d like to share?

We have a very organic, horizontal organization structure where each staff member is involved in the decision making process on many of the business functions, with the Program Director organizing day to day activities.  STAGES of Recovery, Inc. is designed to be gender specific.  Therefore, a co-educational facility will never exist. The program itself is intended to be intimate with a high client to staff ratio in order to grant better service.  We use this configuration to create accountability for staff and clients as well as provide an avenue for personal and professional success.

3.  What demographic of people are you trying to reach today, and how might that change going forward?

STAGES is catered to the life of the 18-25 year old college student.  We continually find that this demographic stands to benefit the most from our program.  The requirements for entering the program are maintained abstinence from drugs and alcohol, completion of a drug treatment program, and a desire to go to school.  Each application is reviewed by multiple staff members and a decision is reached on an individual basis.

4.  Do you search for partners, or are you focused on being a self-reliant program?

We are always looking to partner with the recovery community.  We will not create a formal partnership but we believe there are companies, organizations, and individuals that can increase the success of the clients that we serve.

5.  What new programs or features do you plan for the coming months/years that we should know about?

Currently, the STAGES program only serves the male population.  One of the new projects we are looking forward to is a newly renovated home for women.  Beginning early 2009, this new women’s home will offer the same structure as the original while accommodating the needs of the female student.


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About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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