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Meet Heather Wall of Casa Treatment Center in Pasadena

Today we’d like to introduce you to Heather Wall.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I have been a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist for over 12 years. Today I am the Clinical Director at Casa Treatment Center. A small nonprofit treatment center in the Playhouse District of Pasadena. For 50 years, Casa has been serving low and middle-income women living with Substance Use Disorder. I didn’t come to my position through the usual route. I came to Casa as a client living with a severe mental health condition and addicted to opiates and methamphetamine.

I was luckier than most people in my position. I was able to get the high-quality addiction treatment and aftercare services to help me live in long-term recovery. Once I came to Casa, I fell in love with the community of women and the support we gave to each other during treatment. It is the place I learned how to put recovery first, how to have a friend and be a friend. We always laugh and say, “there is something in the water at Casa. – It is magical.”

Once I got here – I just never left. I started out working with the women as a group facilitator and alumnae coordinator. The leadership just saw something in me and after a while, they asked me to become the Clinical Director.

Working with women with addiction has become my passion. Working with women just like me. Working side-by-side learning to find a reason to live again…to laugh again….to have a do-over and create a new story.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Recovery from addiction is not easy. It is a process that requires focusing all of your energy. It requires living in the moment and moving through all of the challenges life has to offer. It requires you to address every challenge in the moment and use the new tools you have never used before. It is frickin scary! Suddenly you are moving from “It is all about me” to “How can I ask for help? How can I let others into my life?” That is why recovery is a “From a Me to We Program.”

These tools are critical – not just for recovering from substance use, also for your mental health.

I will forever be connected to other people in recovery. Who I am around and what I have to do has to be thought out. I know I can trust myself. But I also know that if I want to stay healthy, I need to stay accountable, willing and honest.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Casa Treatment Center – what should we know?
Casa provides Residential, Outpatient and Sober Living addiction treatment services to approximately 300 women seeking recovery each year. As addiction treatment approaches continue to evolve, Casa has made a commitment to provide superior care that meets or exceeds industry standards for providing the continuum of care.

Casa provides the full range of services to support women through recovery. Successful, long-term recovery can take up to 18 months of intensive treatment and a lifetime of support, therapy and a myriad of other resources. Our clients are assessed by our highly skilled team of therapists and certified addiction counselors and placed in the appropriate level of care based on their addiction severity and the individual needs of the woman.

Residential Treatment – Clients live in a structured care environment and are assigned a case manager to evaluate their substance use history, life experiences and background. Participants attend both individual and group counseling sessions and are linked to therapists to address the underlying issues associated with their addiction.

Outpatient Treatment is offered as aftercare support following completion of residential treatment and to Recovery Housing residents to provide continued treatment and relapse-prevention support.

Sober Living or Recovery Housing offers a safe, sober environment for women seeking post-treatment residency before they return home. Clients who stay in onsite for a full year after treatment have a 75% chance of maintaining sobriety during that year.

Casa also provides free Treatment Assistance Scholarships, AfterCare, Alumnae, and Family Services to support our clients’ long-term recovery.

Substance addiction knows no boundaries and affects individuals regardless of gender, race, religion, profession or social class. Casa provides services to adult women over the age of 18 with substance use disorders. The majority of women served are between 18-34 years old. Approximately 62% of the women served at Casa are white, 24% are Hispanic, 7% are African American, 1% are Native American and 3% are other. Approximately 96% of the women who receive treatment at Casa are residents of Southern California.

While many have some sort of health insurance, the population we serve tends to be low and middle-income. Approximately 12% of the women reported being homeless prior to entering treatment. The following income levels were reported by the women we serve: 61% had an income of 12,000 per year or less, 5% reported $12,000-$25,000, 18% reported $25,000 and $50,000, 4% reported $50,000-$75,000, 5% reported incomes of $75,000 or more (7% did not report their income level).

Persons suffering from alcoholism or drug addiction are defined as suffering from a disability and protected by the American’s with Disabilities Act.

The crisis in opioid and other substance addictions has reached epidemic proportions. In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes in the United States annually. The CDC also reported that in 2014, drug overdose death rates hit their highest level at 47,000, “mostly due to opioid pain relievers and heroin.” Tragically the number of deaths increases each year. In 2016, the CDC reported that opioids claimed 63,600 lives. Today, overdose is the leading cause of death for people under 50 years old in the United States.

At Casa, we are fighting to change those statistics one woman at a time.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Both personally and for the agency – the ability to adapt and be resilient are key.

We have learned to be comfortable with being uncomfortable – that is where growth happens.

Contact Info:

  • Address: Casa Treatment Center
    160 N. El Molino Avenue
    Pasadena, CA 91101
  • Website: casatreatmentcenter.org
  • Phone: 626-792-2770
  • Email: hwall@casatreatmentcenter.org

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