Jeff Zacharias Social Worker of the Year

Jeff Zacharias

The following is an interview of Jeff Zacharias, New Hope Recovery Center President and Clinical Director, by Triggr.

Q&A with Jeff Zacharias, Owner & Psychotherapist at New Hope Recovery Center in Chicago

New Hope Recovery Center is an alcohol and drug rehab treatment center in Chicago that provides Partial Hospitalization, Intensive Outpatient treatment,Aftercare and Individual Psychotherapy Counseling. They also have a LGBTQI-specific addiction treatment program entitled "New Hope With Pride.” Below is a conversation with Jeff Zacharias, the owner and one of the psychotherapists at New Hope.

Tell me a bit about yourself and your counseling background.

I’m the owner, Clinical Director and a counselor at New Hope Recovery Center. We bought New Hope over 6 years ago but I’ve been working in the addiction treatment field since 2005 in inpatient and outpatient settings. I’m an ACSW, LSW and a certified advanced alcohol and drug counselor.

What drew you to working with people in recovery?

This is a second career for me. Before starting in the addition treatment field, I was in marketing and finance. What drew me to change careers was my own experience in recovery - I’m sober 15 years now. When I went to treatment in 2003 as a gay male and having some trauma related to that, I felt like some things in my treatment were missed. So when I went back to school, I had a drive to help people like me. I felt like there was an opportunity to not only help LGBTQI stay sober but to also deal with the trauma associated with being gay. Because I saw that when I was looking for treatment, there really wasn’t anything available targeting people with this mix of needs. So that’s been the biggest driver for me, providing something for this community.

Tell me more about your work with the LGBTQI community in particular.

One thing that is challenging is that there are different treatment needs within the LGBTQI community. Each designation has unique issues with power, sex, gender, identity and we cater our treatment to the needs of the individual. But one commonality within this community is that there is often trauma associated with shame, fear and oppression that a hetereosexual treatment framework doesn’t really touch on. We have have a framework that directly addresses the needs of people in the LGBTQI community. Because for a person struggling, it’s often not about the substance - that’s a symptom of something deeper. Our clinicians are extensively trained in providing a space where we’re going to talk about everything that’s going on in your life rather than only the specifics of substances. We’re going to talk about things that make people uncomfortable like sex, relationships and money. And I think there is something very powerful about being in a safe space where people feel empowered to talk about not just their substances, but their lives.

How has treatment changed in recent years?

The biggest change I’ve seen and that I’ve been passionate about from the beginning is the move away from the idea that 12-step treatment is the only path. New Hope is not a 12-step treatment center. Because being a 12 step treatment center isn't treatment, it’s using a framework and then just forcing people into that framework. I knew from the start of my career that I wanted to integrate more clinical work. I wanted to make sure we were considering all pathways. We were the first treatment center in the Chicago area to host Refuge Recovery meetings. We also brought in SMART Recovery, which was pretty new in Chicago just 5 years ago when we started hosting their meetings. We did get some shit about it because when we started, the 12-step model was so revered and was treated as the only path to recovery. I just don’t believe that 12-step is the only way and many studies since that time have shown this to be true. Plus we know that in the gay community there is so much spiritual abuse. So, many people just don’t want the religious associations common in many 12-step programs.

The other change I’ve observed is the growth of medical assisted treatment. I’ve seen firsthand the value in using MAT to allow people to heal and have some agency in their recovery process. And to that end we’re big believers in harm reduction and so everything we do is geared toward that. We were early leaders in Chicago in supporting MAT as part of our treatment program.

Another change is there is now more recognition of addiction interaction disorder. For a long time, the treatment community didn’t appreciate the complexity of addressing the interactions of multiple disorders. This is one of the reasons we focus on addressing not just the substances, but other mental health needs and behaviors of our clients.

What would you say are the biggest barriers you see to someone starting treatment?

The biggest barrier is often a person’s financial or insurance situation. I really wish there were more options for people that are unfunded or don’t have access to resources, but sadly the options are limited in Illinois.

Another barrier can be people’s mistrust of treatment based on their negative experience with a past provider or based on a general distrust of governmental, social, financial or other systems. In the LGBT community in particular, this distrust comes from a sense that the unique needs of this community aren’t going to be understood, let alone met.

How would you describe New Hope’s care philosophy?

It’s very personal and individualized and feels like a close community. Our groups are kept at only 8 people tops. We also take a holistic approach and treat the whole person - the mind, body and spirit are treated as equal. This ends up meaning that we’re very open and creatively work to find whatever treatment path is going to work for each individual. We have an “all avenues to wellness” approach.

One of the things we tell people when they call us for the first time is to come in and talk to us. We are very open and honest in talking and listening so we can work together to find the right path for each person, even if it’s not New Hope. We’re very ethical in how we approach treatment and never pressure people into any option that isn’t right for them.

Can you describe what a group session in New Hope’s IOP program is like?

First and foremost our job is to have a place that is safe because we know how vulnerable people feel during recovery. Everything you say here is confidential, it’s anonymous and we hold that sacred. In our groups and just generally in our practice, we work hard to help people feel warm, welcomed and cared for. It’s hard to put a finger on why, but one thing we hear time and time again from people that come here is: “it feels better here” and “I feel comfortable here”. I think mostly this is because they have a family of people here that love being here and have our clients’ best interests at heart.

Our groups are engaging and fun. Our clients often tell us they have never laughed so much in treatment. We tailor our groups for the particular people in the group at that time. We are very open to modifying our planned topics based on suggestions from the group members about what they feel they need most at that moment and based on our observations of the group.

And so with groups, I think the best thing I can recommend to someone is to come in and give our program a try, they can just listen. And I can’t think of one time ever where someone came in for their first session and left because they were anxious or uncomfortable.

How much 1:1 counseling does New Hope do with people in the IOP program?

By the nature of us being small, we may not be doing a formal meeting every day, but we all know every client by name and so there is a constant checking in. People may just check in for 15 minutes, but generally there is some 1:1 interaction nearly every day. And then on top of that, we also check in more officially once per week.

Who would you say is a good fit for New Hope’s program? Who tends not to be as good a fit?

I don’t think there are many people that we can’t assist, but there some constraints. We don’t serve people 18 and under, for example. We do also ask that people are sober while they are here and if they aren’t ready to give up their substance of choice, they may not be right for New Hope. But other than that, there really aren’t any barriers.

Do you have an example of a recent patient’s experience at New Hope? What was their background, and how did New Hope work with them?

There are so many examples but I’ll share about one person I just met with today. He had used since he was a teenager and now is in his early 50s, and in that time never had any significant period of sobriety. He’s also HIV positive, is in an open relationship with someone who also has substance issues and has a mentally disabled son. So he never felt there was treatment that could help someone with his complicated background. But he came to New Hope about a year and a half ago after a suicide attempt. He’s been with us since (seeing an individual counselor here), sober the whole time and doing great. He just expanded his business and has undergone meaningful, lasting life changes. He stood out to me since I think he’s really proof that anyone can overcome difficult obstacles and life circumstances, and make a change, and succeed.

naswilOn October 20, 2016, New Hope Recovery Center President and Clinical Director, Jeff Zacharias, will be speaking at the 2016 Business of Social Work: NASW Illinois Chapter Conference at the Hilton in Lisle, IL on how to start and run a private practice.

Jeff Zacharias Social Worker of the Year

Jeff Zacharias

Read Jeff's article summarizing some of the basics that will be covered in Jeff's talk.

What does it take to run your own private practice business? What do you need to know to increase your chances of success?  What are the best ways to market yourself? The pros and cons of insurance?

If you are interested in learning more about starting or running a therapy private practice, sign up for the conference by visiting NASWIL.  In addition to Jeff's talk, Bradd Easton, New Hope Recovery Center's CEO, will be available to offer insights and tips about running a small business at the New Hope Recovery Center booth at the 2016 Business of Social Work Conference.

 

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

New Hope Recovery Center is located in Chicago and offers individualized alcohol and drug addiction treatment in a loving supportive environment.  New Hope Recovery Center is an independently owned treatment center that is certified as an LGBT-owned business enterprise by the National Gay Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.   Contact New Hope Recovery Center at 888-707- 4673 (HOPE). nglcc-logo

 

buddhism in recovery addictionNew Hope Recovery Center is pleased to announce Two Weekly Refuge Recovery Meetings
in Chicago.   The meetings are held at 7pm on Tuesdays and Fridays at New Hope Recovery Center, 2835 N. Sheffield Ave., Suite 308, Chicago, IL 60657.

Refuge Recovery is a mindfulness-based addiction recovery community that practices and utilizes Buddhist philosophy as the foundation of the recovery process. Drawing inspiration from the core teachings of the Four Noble Truths, emphasis is placed on both knowledge and empathy as a means for overcoming addiction and its causes. Those struggling with any form of addiction greatly benefit when they are able to understand the suffering that addiction has created while developing compassion for the pain they have experienced. 
Refuge Recovery is a practice, a process, a set of tools, a treatment, and a path to healing addiction and the suffering caused by addiction. Buddhism recognizes a nontheistic approach to spiritual practice. The Refuge Recovery program of recovery does not ask anyone to believe anything, only to trust the process and do the hard work of recovery.
Refuge Recovery is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to build an extensive and comprehensive network of Refuge Recovery groups, meetings, and communities that practice, educate, and provide Buddhist teachings and meditations for anyone seeking recovery from addiction.  
New Hope Recovery Center is proud to offer these new unique additions to Chicago's Recovery Community.  For more information, contact New Hope Recovery Center at 888-707-HOPE (4673) or 773-883-3916 or email us at info@new-hope-recovery.com.  New Hope is located immediately North of the Diversey Brown Line 'L stop on Sheffield.

buddhism in recovery

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

LGBT Addiction RecoveryNew Hope Recovery Center is proud to sponsor this year's Chicago Roundup.  The 2016 Chicago Roundup is next weekend, September 9 - Sept 11, 2016 at the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted, Chicago, IL 60613.

There is still time to REGISTER.

The Roundup is a weekend long event of LGBTQIA and allies celebrating recovery and for those interested in finding out what a life of recovery has to offer.

This year's Roundup features  thought-provoking panel discussions, engaging speakers, entertainment and fellowship opportunities to enhance spiritual, emotional and sober life,  It is the perfect opportunity to meet other recovering people from all of the world and make some wonderful new friendships in the process,

Chicago Roundup, Inc. is a volunteer-based organization for the celebration of 12-step recovery from alcohol and drug addiction within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered community. It produces engaging events in a safe environment, affording participants the opportunity to have a spiritual awakening.

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

New Hope Recovery Center is located in Chicago and offers individualized alcohol and drug addiction treatment in a loving supportive environment.  The New Hope with Pride Program focuses on the needs of LGBTQIA individuals.  Contact New Hope Recovery Center at 888-707- 4673 (HOPE).

NCADJeff Zacharias, New Hope Recovery Center President and Clinical Director, recently spoke at the National Conference on Addiction Disorders (NCAD) on the Intersection of Sex, Drug and Technology.

Behavioral Healthcare Magazine summarized several main points of the talk to help clinicians when working with LGBTQI clients:

  • Social Media is the new drug dealer with the GPS phone as the new corner spot
  • Understand that most chem-sex clients have experienced trauma
  • Trauma in the LGBTQI community often begins early in life
  • Help the client feel safe and calm

You can request the Powerpoint of Jeff's talk but emailing info@new-hope-recovery.com

LGBT addiction treatmentNew Hope Recovery Center and its New Hope with Pride Program have extensive experience working with the LGBTQI individuals and the community. For more information call 888-707-4673(HOPE) or email us at info@new-hope-recovery.com.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

 

 

 

New Hope Recovery Center is pleased to announce that it will be hosting the FIRST Refuge Recovery Meeting in Chicago on Friday July 29, 2016 at 7pm.  The meeting will be held at New Hope Recovery Center, 2835 N. Sheffield Ave., Suite 308, Chicago, IL 60657.

Refuge Recovery is a mindfulness-based addiction recovery community that practices and utilizes Buddhist philosophy as the foundation of the recovery process. Drawing inspiration from the core teachings of the Four Noble Truths, emphasis is placed on both knowledge and empathy as a means for overcoming addiction and its causes. Those struggling with any form of addiction greatly benefit when they are able to understand the suffering that addiction has created while developing compassion for the pain they have experienced. 
Refuge Recovery is a practice, a process, a set of tools, a treatment, and a path to healing addiction and the suffering caused by addiction. Buddhism recognizes a nontheistic approach to spiritual practice. The Refuge Recovery program of recovery does not ask anyone to believe anything, only to trust the process and do the hard work of recovery.
Refuge Recovery is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to build an extensive and comprehensive network of Refuge Recovery groups, meetings, and communities that practice, educate, and provide Buddhist teachings and meditations for anyone seeking recovery from addiction.  
New Hope Recovery Center is proud to offer this new unique addition to Chicago's Recovery Community.  For more information, contact New Hope Recovery Center at 888-707-HOPE (4673) or 773-883-3916 or email us at info@new-hope-recovery.com.  New Hope is located immediately North of the Diversey Brown Line 'L stop on Sheffield.

 

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

Seoul Korea World Conference on Social WorkNew Hope Recovery Center is proud to announce that Jeff Zacharias, our Clinical Director and President, spoke in Seoul, South Korea at the 2016 Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education and Social Development.  Jeff's discussion was on “Addiction, Mental Health & Trauma in the LGBTQI Community: Providing Hope for an Under-Served Population”.

 

 

NAMI CONFERENCE

Today, July 8 Jeff is speaking in Denver at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) National Convention on“How to Erase Stigma in the LGBTQI Community “. 

NCADIn August, you can hear Jeff speak at the National Conference on Addiction Disorders (NCAD) also in Denver.  His talk “Chemsex in the City:  The Intersection of Drugs, Sex, Technology and HIV/AIDS”  will be presented at the conference: August 18-21, 2016.

CCSADAnd later in the year, Jeff is speaking at the Cape Cod Symposium on Addictive Disorders (CCSAD) in Hyannis, MA from September 8-11, 2016.

 

NAADACAnd at The Association for Addiction Professionals National Conference (NAADAC) in Minneapolis, MN – October 7-11, 2016.

 

 

For more information call 888-707-4673(HOPE) or email us at info@new-hope-recovery.com.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

 

 

 

Greg Cox New Hope Recovery Center

Greg Cox, Primary Counselor, LCSW, CADC

New Hope Recovery Center's Greg Cox was recently interviewed for the Summer 2016 edition of Recovery Campus Magazine.  Greg discusses the importance of spirituality in recovery and the difficulty emerging adults have in understanding the importance of spirituality in their lives.  Greg states: "Spirituality is a critical component of addiction recovery because it focuses on growth, change and evolution....To fully recovery from our addiction, we must reconnect to our spirituality, our search for purpose in our life and connections beyond ourselves."

Spirituality often gets confused with religion, but they are very different things.  As Greg mentions, "Some find it helpful to think of religion as rules or practices agreed to by a number of people, whereas spirituality is completely related to one's own individual experience and connections."

Greg understands the unique issues confronting today's young adults: social and general anxiety, shame, low self worth and constant electronic stimulation, among other things.  For young adults struggling with addiction, shame can become overwhelming and lead to an addiction spiral: using to feel better and then feeling shame about using, using to feel better.....Greg helps our young adults break free from this cycle and begin work toward their goals and dreams.

You can read Greg's full interview in the 2016 Summer Issue of Recovery Campus Magazine.

You may also find these related articles helpful:

Why Spirituality Is Important In Recovery

Religious Trauma and LGBT Addiction

Emerging Adults – Time of Stress, Change, and Possibly Addiction

Long Term Impact of Alcohol and Drug Use on Emerging Adults

5 Steps for a Successful Transition Back to College After Rehab

Alcohol or Drug Addiction? Healthy Boundaries for Parents

Student Drug Abuse: 19 Warning Signs

5 Things Parents Need to Know About Prescription Drug Abuse

Helicopter Parenting: Recipe for Alcohol or Drug Addiction?

Parents’ Guide to Prevent Heroin Use and Addiction

New Hope Recovery Center has extensive experience helping Emerging Adults with alcohol and drug addictions. For more information call 888-707-4673(HOPE) or email us at info@new-hope-recovery.com.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

 

LGBT WGN Radio

WGN Radio 720

Tonight you can hear and see Jeff Zacharias, New Hope Recovery Center's President and Clinical Director, speak live on WGN Radio.
He will be speaking  with Patti Vazquez about the aftermath of Orlando and trauma, depression and anxiety in the LGBT community. Jeff will also be speaking directly to listeners who need help and will offer suggestions and resources to promote healing.
You can hear him from 11pm-12:30am Central Time TONIGHT June 13, 2016 on WGN Radio 720 AM.
It's a livestream show, http://wgnradio.com so you can listen & watch.  Call or text to speak with Jeff at 312-981-7200 during the show.

Jeff Zacharias, New Hope Recovery Center President and Clinical Director, was recently interviewed by Addiction Blog on the subject of LGBT Addiction and Recovery.

You can read the Interview on Addiction Blog.  In the Interview, Jeff discussed addiction treatment possibilities for LGBT individuals, trauma and addiction, and challenges and barriers LGBT people may face when seeking help with addiction.

 

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

New Hope Recovery Center is located in Chicago and offers individualized alcohol and drug addiction treatment in a loving supportive environment.  The New Hope with Pride program focuses on the needs of LGBT individuals.  Contact New Hope Recovery Center at 888-707- 4673 (HOPE).