When Terry Smith became sober in 1997, he decided to change careers and work in addiction treatment. “So many people had helped me into recovery. I wanted to give back in my way, to do more than sponsorship.”
Besides, continuing in a family-owned business that rented party equipment in the Houston area was not the best environment to maintain sobriety. Terry trained and earned his counseling license. He then worked for Houston Area Recovering Teens Extended Aftercare and in private practice.
With experience working with all ages and veterans, he joined the La Hacienda team in 2012 and is now Adult Program Director.
Invited to Join the La Hacienda Staff
After working a while as an addiction treatment counselor, Terry said he was “fishing around” for his next workplace.
“I had bought 300 acres near Rocksprings and was thinking about moving out here. I put feelers out.”
Sherri Layton, a longtime acquaintance and now La Hacienda’s Director of Outpatient Service and Public Policy, asked him to interview for a position. That one did not pan out, but the center soon hired him for another. Terry holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Finance from Houston Baptist University. After graduation, he worked in the oil fields, and for a natural gas company in the Houston area.
Everything and Everyone in the Right Place at the Right Time
Terry’s responsibilities involve matching clinical staff with patients. He studies the information about incoming patients and decides which clinician will be their case manager and which subgroup, such as Professionals in Recovery, in which they should go through treatment. He deals daily with concerns from patients and their family members. Making the right match of patient to counselor is his goal, but he will make changes if it is in the patient’s best interest for successful treatment.
Terry’s regular agenda also involves ensuring that all group meetings are staffed and speakers are present. “I like juggling things, making sure that everything is in the right place at the right time.” He meets with the clinical staff as a group to help improve cooperation. And they come to him individually to discuss specific patient issues.
From Detox to Recovery, He Saw Changes in Patients
In his first years at La Hacienda, Terry often counseled patients during primary care, their first days on campus when many are detoxing and still feeling the effects of their addiction.
After going through the complete program, they would return to his office to ask him to sign their departure paperwork. “Few of them remembered me from that first week,” he says. But that parting visit allowed him to assess the results. “You get to see an automatic growth in a person.”
Proud to be a Part of La Hacienda
The entrance sign at La Hacienda Treatment Center bears the slogan “Simply the Best.” Terry says it is an accurate description. “I take a real sense of pride to work in the position that I’m in for one of the best addiction treatment facilities in the nation. I take a lot of pride in helping make it function daily.”
“It is ‘simply the best,” and that’s pretty neat!”
Family, Land, and Hobbies for Free Time
Terry is married and has two daughters and four stepsons. His wife, Elizabeth Byers, works in activities therapies at La Hacienda, leading workouts for patients. On their 10 acres of Hill Country, they have sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, peacocks, dogs, and a large garden.
Terry’s hobbies include fishing—he does his own fly-tying and rod-building–hunting and archery.
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