An Interview with Jay Plotkin, Admissions Director
When people prepare for their first day of drug or alcohol rehab, they are usually filled with uncertainty. “What should I bring?” “What will the process be like?”
Admissions Director Jay Plotkin answers all of these questions but reassures clients, “All you need is a suitcase of willingness and you’ll be just fine. Give us willingness and we’ll help you turn that into hope like you’ve never seen.”
In addition to answering questions, Jay is an expert at removing obstacles, both real and perceived, so that people can get the treatment they need. He works with insurance companies to maximize benefits and coverage. He helps families set boundaries and get addicted loved ones into treatment. He has even coordinated boarding for clients’ pets. In short, Jay does whatever it takes to help people struggling with addiction.
“I’ve heard every excuse and seen every obstacle,” Jay says, “but the truth is there’s nothing more important than the gift of recovery.”
Passionate and energetic, Jay isn’t one to sugarcoat the facts. As he explains, “This is just too serious a disease.”
A Long and Winding Road
Jay knows a lot about treatment, not only because he works in the field but because many years ago, he made his way through several addiction treatment programs as a client. Stubborn and untrusting of the process, as he describes his addicted self, it took him a number of attempts before he “got it.”
“Each program was an important part of the journey,” he says. “It was like getting into a cold pool one toe at a time and next thing you know, I was swimming.”
After more than 15 years in commercial real estate, Jay woke up and realized something was missing. He went back to grad school and earned a master’s degree in addiction counseling from the Hazelden Graduate School of Addiction Studies. He went on to work for the Hazelden Foundation in various fundraising, counseling and supervisory roles.
Seeing an opportunity to get closer to his home town of Houston, Jay accepted a position as clinical director at Promises Austin about four years ago. Later, he moved into his current admissions role. The program is an ideal match for Jay because it is small – 24 beds – and completely personalized based on each client’s needs. Recognizing that addiction is a family disease, Promises Austin provides a comprehensive family program and support for the entire family.
A Comfortable Setting for Uncomfortable Work
The luxurious setting makes Promises Austin a wonderful place to do the difficult work of recovery. The program features gourmet meals, therapeutic recreation, expressive arts and other amenities designed to make each client’s stay as comfortable as possible. But Jay is quick to remind clients, “This is a beautiful environment to do extremely difficult work. It will be the hardest thing you do, but you’ll have the softest sheets to do it in.”
Promises Austin is known for uncommon luxury at an incredible value. Clients who graduate receive “recovery coaching,” or follow-up with their primary therapist for one year after formal treatment ends. They also have access to a recovery-focused nutrition and fitness program, a spiritual advisor, and a wide range of holistic therapies such as acupuncture and massage.
A Beautiful View
“I have the best seat in the house,” says Jay. “I get to see the entire transformation as it unfolds. I talk to clients and their families on the front end when they have little hope, then again during the family program where I see how both clients and their families have grown, and then again when they leave.”
As Jay explains, nothing can compare to seeing when someone “gets it.” They have a moment when they realize there’s hope, that they can do this.
“They thank us, but the truth is it’s really them,” Jay says. “The credit is all theirs. They do the hard work.”