Founded in 2006, Solutions of North Texas is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that specializes in helping addicts and alcoholics in the Denton community and surrounding areas. The program uses multiple strategies to cater to each individual’s needs.
“Solutions is a residential program for folks in recovery looking to get sober, and we also specialize in gearing people towards living independent lives,” said Jennifer Dunn, Solutions of North Texas case manager and Denton resident. “We also have a clinical component where we offer [intensive outpatient programming] and [supportive outpatient programming], as well as individual counseling sessions to work through trauma and issues that can tie to their substance use disorder.”
Casey Reilly, Denton resident and Solutions of North Texas community engagement specialist, said the program has grown significantly since its founding.
“Originally, the goal was to help 10 men, and currently we are able to help 52 men and women in only residential,” Reilly said. “Last year, we helped 262 people in outpatient and 181 in residential.”
A key part of the growth of Solutions of North Texas was establishing relationships within the community, Reilly said.
“We have seriously branched out thorough collaboration with all city departments, and that includes the sheriff’s department and the police department,” Reilly said. “We work very closely with them. We are on five of the seven specialty courts in Denton and we work very closely with probation and CPS. We believe that integrating ourselves into the fabric of our city helps further the mission.”
Before clients arrive at Solutions of North Texas, they work with the admissions director, Leslie Wisenbaker.“With the client, I try to determine if they understand what they’re walking into and if they’re really ready to change their life,” Wisenbaker said. “A lot of people get sober for a lot of reasons, so we want to make sure that their motivations would line up with what we’re doing here.”
When a new client arrives at Solutions of North Texas, they meet with the case manager to determine what their next steps are.
“We are very passionate about gearing them into independence, so we put the information in their hands and there’s not a lot of hand-holding,” Dunn said. “We put it in their hands, then it’s up to them to start taking responsibility for their overall wellness.”
In order to help clients, the staff members use tried-and-true techniques to help clients get out of their addiction.
“We’re heavily influenced by 12-step, [in] the big book about Alcoholics Anonymous,” said Kevin Newton, Denton resident and Solutions of North Texas residential tech. “A lot of what we all do is incorporate what that looks like in our daily lives and what it can look like for the clients and the residents that come through.”
The clients are given freedom with structure and coaching to help them get on the right track.
“We’re pretty passionate about the fact that freedom doesn’t come without discipline — they go hand in hand,” Dunn said. “We’re always monitoring that and coaching towards it. I like to figure out what they’re really good at and maybe what their weaknesses are, then we try to help them mitigate what their weaknesses are so they can start walking in a path towards new integrity.”
When individuals arrive at Solutions of North Texas, they are given a week to get settled in and adjust to the program. During this time, they meet with their case manager and take classes to introduce them to the 12-step method, Newton said.
After their first week, clients are assigned to find a full-time job to work at during their time in the program. They also have three mandatory 12-step meetings a week and any other meetings that they have set up with clinical or counseling services that varies between residents, Newton said.
“It’s going to look different for everyone,” Dunn said. “We allow a lot of freedom, and that’s by design. We want people to learn how to be intentional in managing their day.”
As part of the program, people have the opportunity to enhance their life skills to get to a better place. Newton currently works for Solutions of North Texas, but he once went through the program as a client.
“The best part of what we get to do is getting to see the change in people,” Newton said. “Most of us that work here came through as residents of the place as well. You can look at someone such as myself and what life looked like for me before I came. I’m at a place now where I can work and an employer can count on me to show up and work.”
Going into a sober living program is a difficult task, but Dunn said once people start to go through the program, they transform as people.
“It’s not a small thing that we’re asking people to do,” Dunn said. “We’re expecting a complete rearrangement of ideas, attitudes and emotions. When we see people come through the 12-step program, we even see them carry themselves differently.”
This year, Solutions of North Texas expects to help even more people than they have in recent years.
“In 2020, we expect to help over 700 clients through all services,” Reilly said.
Featured Image: Kevin Newton, Solutions of North Texas’s Program Tech, poses for a portrait in his office on Jan. 13, 2020. Image by Isabel Anes.