Hi! I’m Donna Henry, and I’m the Admissions Director here at Stonegate Center. Over the years, I’ve fielded thousands of phone calls from potential clients and loved ones seeking treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. I answer questions regarding our different treatment options, daily schedules, and insurance coverage. Every phone call is different and with it comes a plethora of questions and emotions. I’ve experienced laughter, anger, grief, confusion, and nervousness. But for every serious call, I get an occasional silly one that makes me smile. So, I decided to jot a few of the more unusual ones down in hopes of answering all your questions. Here are my Top 10 Craziest Admission Questions:
1. “Can I smoke?” This is the #1 question I get asked on the phone. Yes, we allow smoking. But please note, our campus encourages the use of tobacco cessation products and are advocates for those wanting to stop smoking to achieve a healthier life. Plus, your insurance company loves the idea of you living longer too! Go figure. Regardless, we have designated smoking areas throughout our campus which you can access during breaks. Tobacco products such as cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and dip are allowed. However, packages must be sealed upon entry. We do not allow the use of vapes, electronic cigarettes, or other electronic nicotine delivery systems.
2. “Do you have a swimming pool?” Yes, we do! Our women’s rehab, Stonegate Center Hilltop, has a brand-new poolside patio where you can take a dip in between therapy sessions. Or, relax under our shaded pavilion while you enjoy the tranquility of our ranch-style home. So bring some sunscreen, a fresh pair of Ray-Bans, and a modest swimsuit. We make recovery fun out here! At Stonegate Center Creekside, our men’s rehab, we have a freshly-dug fishing pond for the guys. Access to kayaks and fishing activities is at our staff’s discretion.
3. “Is this like prison?” Far from it, boss. First of all, Stonegate Center is a voluntary facility. That means no steel bars, heavy chains, or prison gangs. And quite honestly, it feels like summer camp. You’re on 125+ acres ranch located in Azle, Texas; get fed some amazing meals by our chef; and get access to top-notch medical and clinical staff. Every. Single. Day. If that sounds like prison to you, then lock me up! The myth of people equating rehab to prison stems from integration of accountability into our program. We do a great job of providing you an environment filled with structure. This is done in order to instill healthy habits in your daily life and to give you the necessary life skills to go out in the world and kill it! Our high standards and daily schedule are in place because they work, and they’ll help you achieve success in sobriety. It’s funny because one of the most common comments I here after our clients leave is, “I don’t know what to do with all my free time!” And that right there makes me smile. When you walk across the bridge to your family on graduation, you’ll have achieved at high-level for 90 straight days90 straight days. A number that was unheard of in the depths of your addiction.
4. “Do y’ll allow conjugal visits?” No, we’re sorry. We do not facilitate any conjugal visits. We want our campus to be a safe place for you to work on yourself. Often times our addictions leave behind scars of deceit, infidelity, and abuse. It is our job to offer counsel and support so you can become a better husband, wife, or partner by the time you leave. In addition to our daily program, we offer an intensive two-part Family Integration Program.
5. “What do I do with my old paraphernalia?” Drug paraphernalia consists of anything used to make, use, or conceal drugs (e.g. syringes, waterpipes, or even Ziploc baggies). I’m sending a virtual *facepalm* your way if your answer was to “flush it down the toilet.” These items usually contain illicit drug residue and are classified as potentially hazardous and infectious waste. Thus, the proper disposal of them should be taken very seriously. I recommend you contact a local syringe exchange program (SEP) or contact your local authorities as possession of this can lead to serious legal problems.
6. “Can my spouse and I come together?” While we are excited that couples want to get healthy together, we find it clinically necessary to separate our clients by gender. We’re well aware that addiction doesn’t discriminate against gender, race, religion, or socioeconomic status. However, evidence suggests that addiction manifests itself differently in men and women, and as such, we must align our therapeutic processes appropriately. We also aren’t afraid to talk about sex. Many men and women who walk across our bridge have experienced some form of sexual abuse – often at the hands of the opposite sex. By offering gender-separate campuses, we are better able to maintain our clients’ best interests and safety. Our campuses include Stonegate Center Creekside for Men and Stonegate Center Hilltop for Women.
7. “Can I bring my pet snake?” Ummm… no. And that’s not because I don’t like snakes! Stonegate Center is a JCAHO-accredited facility, and must meet certain health standards provided by our licensing board. Unfortunately, Steve the Snake and his dog, cat, and parakeet buddies didn’t make the cut. But don’t let that get you down! We love animals at Stonegate Center. Go check out Happy, our beloved miniature donkey, on Instagram at @happythedonk. Our brand-new barn and equestrian arena house some of the most beautiful horses I’ve ever seen. Plus, our Equine Assisted Therapy Program is so fun that you might come back a horse lover – sorry, Steve.
8. “Can my kids come with me?” Ah, this is a tough one – especially for my fellow women. But, unfortunately not. Our job is to get you completely free from the grasp of drug and alcohol addiction in hopes of making you the best mother, father, and parent you can be. And frankly, your children deserve that. But hey, we’re parents too and we understand the importance of building healthy family bonds. That’s why we offer structured Family Visitations and a two-part Family Program where you can show your children how much progress you’re making. For my clients needing assistance taking care of younger children while in treatment, please call me at (817) 993-9733. We can get you lined up with our favorite child care services in no time.
9. “I only need a 2-week program. Do you offer that?” Ah, this is one of my favorites. But, no. The disease of addiction is a serious subject and has dire consequences. I’ve had many friends end up in jail, on the streets, and even die from drug use and alcoholism. And, I don’t want you going down that path. That’s why we want Stonegate Center to be the last rehab you ever enter… but, that requires work. That elusive, life-changing transformation of one’s mind, body, and spirit doesn’t happen in two weeks. In fact, those are often the toughest. We ask our clients to take an intensive inventory, work intimately with our counselors, and become active members in their recovery. To achieve the best outcomes, we offer a 90-day comprehensive program that’s designed to best prepare you for long-term sobriety. Alternative solutions such as our 45- and 60- day stays are offered pending on insurance approval. We want to change your life, but to do so we need your commitment. So, stop taking a passive role in your sobriety, and come work our program! We’re ready to provide you with all the encouragement, accountability, and counseling along the way.
10. “Am I allowed to keep my nipple rings in?” *awkward silence* I must admit I had to dig through our policy and procedures for the answer to this one. And, the answer is actually yes. Although that’s not my cup of tea, I don’t see why not. As long as they are not a health hazard and are deemed safe by our staff upon admission, you can keep your nipple rings in. The same goes for other piercings as well.
I hope you enjoyed a brief window into what an average day in Admissions looks like. I’m more than happy to answer any questions about what drug and alcohol treatment looks like. I understand this process is often difficult and confusing for families, and as such, I attempt to ease this transition. If you have any questions about Stonegate Center or need help finding placement, please don’t hesitate to call me at (817) 993-9733! Just ask for Donna, and we’ll get you the help you need.
Donna Henry is the Admissions Director for Stonegate Center. She brings a special passion and understanding to her work as she has been in recovery since 1999. Donna has worked in the treatment field since 2006 at some of the most respected facilities in the country. She hopes her experience and years of sobriety will help those suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. Donna loves spending time with her family, rescuing animals, and watching her favorite Netflix TV shows.