Hill Country Homecoming

John SniffenAlumni, La Hacienda

Chris Raymer, Recovery Community Director

Photo: Chris Raymer in the door of his new office at La Hacienda.

By Chris Raymer, Recovery Community Director

It was a beautiful cold December morning as I drove into La Hacienda for my “first day” and “new hire” orientation after an eight-year absence.

Memories of my 17 years here flooded back as I walked across the campus. “Overwhelmed” pretty much summed up my emotions. You might remember I’m not a big hugger, but I got me a bunch that day!

I spent those years here mostly working in the alumni department with some of the finest folks ever. They were blessed years. (There is still a picture here with me with no grey hair!)

In 2010 I left to pursue other opportunities, and ended up working for an excellent treatment center at the southern tip of Texas. During long bike rides (yep, still ride that bike!) I often reflected on my time in the Hill Country.

Grateful to Return

Lots of traveling for work and speaking around the country started to be too much for this old geezer who turned 65 last September. Thankfully Elizabeth Olson and other folks in La Hacienda leadership made my return possible. I am forever grateful! And my wife loves LaHa as much as I do!

Working with our Alumni Department and helping our patients get connected to good recovery in their communities is one of my priorities. There will also be time meeting with our alumni groups around the state.

I’m excited about a special group we are starting for folks who have relapsed and are struggling to get a solid footing back in recovery. We call it the Lurking Notion Group (makes me smile). I get to lead these groups as I have a little personal experience with that relapse stuff–they’re my favorite people!

In my 26 years in this business, I have watched thousands of seemingly hopeless folks finally get it that the recovered life that all of us want is absolutely possible!

Blessed to Share the Message

Bill W. wrote in a letter in 1942: “Our chief responsibility to the newcomer is an adequate presentation of the program.” I spent seven years sitting in meetings trying to sober up. Met some of the nicest folks on earth but never got connected to the life-changing steps. No spiritual experience for this kid.

In 1987, however, God led me to a North Texas group that shared some real solution with this one-eyed guy. Couple old guys took the time to show me how the “Spiritual Program of Action” worked.

It saved my life. Never been the same since. I’ve been blessed to share that same message and more with a lot of wonderful people. I am honored!

I am looking forward to reconnecting with a bunch of my old alumni friends soon. Y’all call me anytime at 800-749-6160 ext. 512.

Remember – Alumni Reunion is the first weekend in May.

I expect all of you to show up! We’re gonna laugh a bunch!