An Interview with Chris Weber, Outpatient Counselor at Promises Treatment Centers
Chris started working as the weekend office manager at Promises West Los Angeles, but soon transitioned into a position as an admissions coordinator, where he began to interact directly with potential clients and family members. Helping these individuals work through their fears of entering treatment became Chris’s passion, and motivated him to become a therapist. After going back to school to complete the Alcohol and Drug Counseling program at UCLA, Chris received his CADC-II and became a counselor in the outpatient program at Promises.
As an adult child of an alcoholic, and as someone who has struggled with his own sobriety, Chris has a unique ability to help his clients, many of whom are younger men and women who have been through similar experiences. “Addiction is a family disease, and a person’s recovery is greatly impacted by those closest to him or her. The more active an addict’s family is in adopting healthy recovery principles, the greater the chance of success for the addict,” Chris said.
As an outpatient counselor, Chris primarily works with clients that have already completed Promises’ 90-day program, as well as clients from the community. He works individually with each client, providing recovery education, addressing core issues, and examining clients’ belief systems. He also facilitates group therapy and case management, which often involves piecing together a team around each client and locating outside resources.
Chris also co-facilitates a family support group on Wednesday nights, which includes family members of clients and alumni. “I encourage family members to develop their own recovery programs and utilize outside support networks such as Al-Anon and Families Anonymous, among others,” Chris said. “In the family support group meetings, we educate family members about the disease of addiction and the roles they play as caring loved ones. Often, family members ask questions and we’ll discuss principles such as boundaries, effective communication, detaching with love, and more.”
Chris believes that being part of a healthy recovery community is an essential component of the recovery process. “I encourage clients to seek out positive role models in recovery via 12-step meetings, and to connect with healthy peer groups,” Chris said. “Making friends early in recovery is a scary process, so I help clients deal with those fears and walk through them. Aligning yourself with healthy role models is a key to early success in recovery.” He added that the alumni program at Promises is also very important. “The alumni program is like a hub where you’re always connected to other people in recovery, often times feeling like an extended family.”
Chris also recognizes the importance of an extended-care treatment program, which Promises offers. “From a clinical standpoint, elongating treatment significantly increases the chances of successful recovery. The longer a person is in treatment, the better their chances of staying sober,” Chris explained. “Even in an outpatient setting, clients are held accountable, as they are in the earlier phases of treatment. They attend meetings, they undergo drug testing, and they retain structure. Extended care and the outpatient program give clients a chance to mature in their recovery process while they begin to step back into their daily lives.”
“Promises has an amazing staff,” Chris said when asked what he thinks makes Promises stand out from other treatment centers. We’re all very caring and client-oriented. We’re here to help people. Many of us have our own experiences in recovery, which really benefits the clients. Promises has also been around for over 20 years, and during that time we’ve figured out what works and what doesn’t.”
“I’m very lucky in that I wanted to stay sober,” Chris added. “I was at a place I my life where I made the decision to finally get sober. Once I was able to do it I felt empowered for the first time in my life. Before that I was detached from my feelings and carried the dysfunction from my childhood into my adult relationships.”
“In my recovery, I’m blessed to be a responsible and happy husband and father, which is something I thought I would never be able to have for myself. I have the stable family life that I always wanted. My hope is that current and future clients can visualize a fulfilling life in recovery.”