Recovering Professionals Program

Recovering Professionals Program

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The Recovering Professionals Group at La Hacienda Treatment Center is made up of patients with vocations that require them to be licensed or certified by a state board or other authority. They include doctors, lawyers, teachers, airline crew members, engineers, counselors, and other professionals.

In addition to licensing or certification requirements for their fields, these professionals frequently share leadership functions or roles that impact the lives of others. Helping them into recovery not only benefits the patient, but frequently aids those with whom they serve as well.

Their Strengths Work Against Them

The qualities that make professionals good at their jobs can also cause them to deny their illness. They wonder, “If I’m so smart and successful, why is my life such a mess?” Most professionals have tried other ways to kick their addiction before trying treatment programs. If they could have ended the alcohol or drug abuse on their own, they would have.

Admitting Loss of Control is First Step

As with all 12 step programs, the professionals first step toward recovery is to realize their lives are out of control and that they are as powerless as anyone else with an addiction.

Trying to hide their substance use from families, employers and co-workers is exhausting, so self-recognition of the truth is a profound turn for patients who enter the professionals program. They’ve finally admitted they need the treatment process and the emotional support of peers in group therapy to achieve recovery.

Advocacy for Healthcare Professionals in Recovery While state licensing boards have the power to remove a professional’s license, advocacy organizations work with the boards to allow those with substance abuse to first receive addiction treatment and enter the recovery process. Then, hopefully, they can continue their career roles.

Providing advocacy services for healthcare professionals in Texas is the Professional Recovery Network (PRN), a nationally recognized peer assistance program that helps health care professionals enter a safe, healthy recovery.

PRN started in 1981 as the Texas Pharmacy Association to assist licensed pharmacists and pharmacy students and has grown to include other medical care professionals. It helps recovering professionals maintain their licenses and continue to practice their profession with integrity and concern for public safety by providing referrals, monitoring, education, and advocacy services.

Medical Professionals Have Good Recovery Rate

About 10-15 percent of medical professionals will misuse drugs or alcohol at some point in their careers. This is about the same for alcohol as the general public, but higher for use of opiates and benzos than other drug use.

In addition to struggling with a stressful vocation involving life and death decisions and long working hours away from family members, physicians and nurses have the temptation of easy access to drugs.

To their credit, medical professionals tend to have a better success rate in the recovery process following treatment. Approximately 85 percent achieve recovery, compared to 15 to 20 percent of the general public.

Services for Professional Pilots at La Hacienda

La Hacienda Treatment Center has successfully treated professionals from many disciplines for more than 50 years. In 2021, we added industry and government standards for the care of professional airline pilots.

Our clinical and medical staffs underwent thorough instruction by professionals trained in the Federal Aviation Administration’s Human Intervention Motivation Study (HIMS) program.

HIMS provides a structure for pilots who have had substance abuse problems to regain medical certification and return to flying commercial aircraft.

Before 1974, pilots diagnosed with substance use disorders were permanently denied medical certification by the FAA. With funding by the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), HIMS was formed through a joint effort of the FAA, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), and the airlines.

HIMS replaces the lifetime ban with intervention and treatment, fueled by the professional pilot’s motivation to return to their vocation.

La Hacienda is one of a small number of HIMS-vetted treatment facilities, working in partnership with airline company HIMS peer monitors.

HIMS standards are combined with the treatment center’s results-proven processes, including a thorough intake assessment featuring evaluations by addictionologists and psychiatrists along with other qualified professionals.

Cog screening is available on campus to detect subtle changes in attention, memory, processing speed, and reasoning.

Airline pilots and medical doctors also have their own professional group on campus in which they can feel secure sharing and providing mutual support.

Teachers May Feel Guilty

Teachers may feel guilty because they are “abandoning their students” during a school year. Normally in charge of their classrooms, they have difficulty accepting the role of an addiction treatment patient.

Counselors need to work closely with teachers in treatment to help them use treatment as an opportunity to return to their professional teaching career.

A plan developed by teacher, employer, and care giver with a goal of returning to work can be very beneficial.

Recovering Professionals Program at La Hacienda

La Hacienda’s excellent medical and clinical staff assign patients to subgroups based on common factors following an initial assessment.

The Recovering Professionals Program at La Hacienda is designed for those whose profession requires licensure or certification: physicians, dentists, attorneys, nurses, accountants, etc.

It is recognized that these people, by the very nature of their profession, have special issues that need to be addressed in their treatment and recovery.

Specialized Therapies for Professionals

In addition to the core program, recovering professionals in treatment at La Hacienda participate in specialized therapies such as process groups, professional advocacy, community-based 12-step groups for recovering professionals, and individual resource counseling.

The staff help professionals address special needs by assisting with unusual situations not common to the general population. They work closely with referral sources and peer-assistance programs and assist patients in understanding unique requirements for treatment set by referring agents or licensing bodies.

Addiction Treatment at La Hacienda

Professionals Program | La Hacienda

For 50 years La Hacienda Treatment Center has been helping people sufferings from a substance use disorder receive addiction treatment and start on the road to lasting recovery.

Each patient receives a thorough assessment at the start of their stay. This allows the medical and clinical staff to prepare an individual therapy plan.

It also reveals instances where there is a dual diagnosis for other physical health problems or mental illness issues. While La Hacienda only offers substance use disorder treatment, knowing about co-occurring disorders helps make treatment more effective. In turn, the patient is better prepared to address other issues after recovery.

Family Program for Loved Ones

La Hacienda also offers a one-week Family Program for patients’ relatives. Family therapy sessions provide helpful medical information about addiction’s effects, and there are workshops on improving communication and setting boundaries.

If you or someone you know needs help choosing between addiction treatment programs, phone (800) 749-6160 and contact one of our knowledgeable admission specialists.

Licensing Boards Monitoring Professionals | La Hacienda

Rehab for Professionals

By the nature of their professions, doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, pilots, counselors, and other professionals with similar positions have special issues regarding addiction treatment and recovery that are best addressed by a recovering professionals program.
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Professional Recovery Network

The Professional Recovery Network (PRN) is a nationally recognized peer assistance program in Texas that helps medical care professionals transition to a safe, healthy recovery by advocating for them with licensing boards. Monitoring, education, and advocacy are among the services provided.


Substance Abuse Family Support

Family members are key to helping a loved one with substance abuse receive treatment and sustain recovery. They can also be susceptible to the disease. A family support program provides information and training for those closest to patients going through addiction treatment.

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Chemical Dependency Treatment

Treatment begins with a dependency assessment, followed by detoxification, and personal and group counseling to identify and address the patient’s addiction issues. Other therapies to expect include an introduction to the 12 steps, family therapy, medical care, and a continuing care plan for making contact with alumni and support groups.