TCC Recovery

The Counseling Center announces opening of Hughes Re-Entry Center

photo of the Hughes Re-Entry Center info table at the ODRC ReEntry Fair, July 12, 2017
The Counseling Center’s (TCC) Hughes Re-Entry Center attended the ODRC Re-Entry Fair on July 12, 2017 at the Scioto County Welcome Center. Pictured left to right, TCC Board Member Brady Womack, Hughes Re-Entry Center Clinical Director Sean Davis and Matt Stuntebeck with the Scioto unit of the Ohio Adult Parole Authority.
ODRC ReEntry Resource Fair 2
Pictured in this photo are The Counseling Center’s Director of Re-Entry Services Nick Ferrara and Matt Stuntebeck.

Located in Scioto County, Ohio, The Counseling Center announces the next step to provide addiction treatment services to serve justice system clients from Scioto and Lawrence counties with the creation of The Hughes Re-Entry Center, located at 4578 Gallia Pike in Franklin Furnace, Ohio. The Center is preparing to serve males who have recently completed court-ordered time with the Star Community Justice program for drug-related and other offenses occurring due to their addiction.

Working alongside community partners including the courts of Scioto and Lawrence counties, Scioto County Career and Technical Center, STAR Community Justice, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections Bureau of Community Sanctions, and Scioto County Commissioners, The Hughes Re-Entry Center will offer alcohol and addiction outpatient and residential services to client referrals from the court-system and STAR Community Justice Center.

The new program will be headed up by Nick Ferrara, Operations Director for The Counseling Center’s Re-Entry Services, and Sean Davis, Clinical Program Director for Re-Entry Services.  Both men have extensive experience working with this population and have devoted many years of service to the legal and recovery communities, and their insight has guided the collaboration from the beginning.

Director Nick Ferrara said, “Our goal for The Hughes Re-Entry Center is to provide our clients, who are former offenders, with addiction services along with technical job training. When they complete our program, they will have legitimate certifications for job skills to help them find a good job.  We can only offer this because of an innovative partnership with the team from Scioto County Career and Technical Center, who are committed to offering a hand up to this population.”

Mr. Ferrara says the program is focused on outcomes. He said, “We know this will make a difference in repeat offenders and breaking the cycle. In the past, when someone with a drug-related offense was released back into the community with the same lack of job skills, the outcome was the same. We hope this program, which combines treatment with training, will help clients take advantage of new opportunities to provide for their families and their future. They will be using their recovery from addiction and job training to improve their situation and be contributing back to their communities,” said Nick Ferrara.

The court system candidates who come to The Hughes Re-Entry Center will be non violent offenders who have been convicted of a drug-related crime identified to need Alcohol & Other Drug (AOD) stabilization, before they come back into the community.

Sean Davis explains, “Early recovery is not easy. There are many barriers that our folks face that so often lead to eventual relapse, employment is one of those. During the early talks of this program when the component of vocational/job skills training beige meshed with continued substance abuse treatment was mentioned, I was immediately on board. Giving our clients tools that assist them to become productive in their recovery is so important. I’m excited about this opportunity to partner with these other community resources.” Sean is the Clinical Program Director for the re-entry center, and has worked with Crisis Service at The Counseling Center for six years.

The Hughes Re-Entry Center is named for long-time Executive Director of The Counseling Center, Ed Hughes, who was influential in helping thousands on their personal recovery journeys through his work with The Counseling Center from 1983 – until he retired in December 2016.

Andy Albrecht, CEO of The Counseling Center said, “We are very excited to get started on this new program for our community. The initiative is another crucial puzzle piece to help individuals in the criminal justice system find a pathway to lasting recovery. It is an opportunity to be part of the solution and provide much needed services to a vulnerable population, and we are blessed to be in the position to help and strengthen southern Ohio with this collaboration. Helping people recover is what our organization is all about.”

Read more about the center from a recent news articles by the Portsmouth Daily Times.


A Tale of Fitness From the 2017 Natural High 5k & Fitness Festival


A picture of the awards ceremony from the Natural High 5K, Matt Cline (far right) wrote the following as his personal journey to that moment.

If you would have told me 2 years ago while volunteering for the Natural High 5K, that I would be running in it this year, I would have never believed you.  So… how did I get here?

It all started January 2016.  At this point in my life, I was extremely unhealthy tipping the scales at nearly 400 pounds.  I had more health issues than I let anyone know.  I was having frequent chest pains, circulatory issues, shortness of breath, high blood pressure, blood sugar issues.  I knew that if I didn’t change my life, there would be no life.

In January 2016, I set out to change my life by simply beginning to pray for strength to regain a healthy lifestyle.  I came across Romans 12:2 – “Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  That scripture became the foundation of everything that I have done over the last 18 months.  I began to understand that it just wasn’t a mouth problem that I had, it was a mental problem.  I began to see that I wasn’t feeding my mind correctly, and my mouth was just following my mind.  I self-medicated myself with food.  Food is how I dealt with stress, anxiety, anger, and depression.  Not only was I neglecting my physical health, I was also neglecting my mental health as well.


The first step that I began to do was to start keeping a log of everything that was going into my mouth.  It didn’t matter what it was, if it hit my mouth, I wrote it down.  I began to record the calories of everything that I was taking in.  I was in total shock when I began to realize how many calories I was taking in each day.  My daily average was right around 6000, with some days taking in 8600 calories.  I recorded for 90 days. During this time, I didn’t try to get on some crazy diet or try to starve myself.  I simply became conscious of my intake.  By making myself conscious, I slowly began cutting down on my portions.  By the time that I hit that 90-day mark, I was already 30 pounds down.  Again, at this point, I didn’t hit the gym or get on some super strict diet.  I just simply woke myself up to the reality of the unhealthy lifestyle that I was currently living.  Those first 90 days were so crucial to my success today.  I still am extremely conscious of what I eat.  I don’t physically write it down anymore; however, I can probably tell you what I have had for every meal through the entire month of June.

I didn’t begin to exercise until the end of March. March 28th to be exact.  This is when I took my first walk, which was about a tenth of a mile, and I was worn out!  My sugar was dropping, my legs felt funny.  I remember praying, “God, help me to get back to my car.”  Even though it wasn’t easy at first, I kept at it, and gradually built up stamina to walk a little further each week.  Walking became my outlet.  It was how I worked through the stress of each day.  I simply walked it out.  By mid-summer, I was up to over 5 miles that I could walk.  I was also consistently losing 10 pounds a month.  Along with physical exercise, I also began to exercise my brain as well.  I started inventorying what kind of things I allowed to go into my mind and began to cut out idleness and work on learning something new each week by reading.  I learned that if I feed my mind correctly, my mouth will follow.

August 28th, 2016, I began to run.  Starting out, I only ran a couple days a week.  I would slowly add a little distance every couple of weeks.  Running became something that I really enjoyed.  In January, I set a “5K by May” goal.  I completed that goal 2 months early by running in the St. Patrick’s Day 5K in March.  I finished that race in 34:32.  Since I completed that goal early, I then set a goal to run the Natural High 5K in June and to finish that race in 30 minutes or less.  The first time that I went out and ran that course, it took me a little over 38 minutes.  I had my work cut out for me if I was going to complete that goal.

For training, I ran the course about 5 or 6 times leading up to the 5K.  My best time was 34:30.  4 and a half minutes over the goal that I set.  I told myself race day, that I was just going to do the best I can, and leave it all on the course, and that is exactly what I did.  I knew my pace was good when I started off.  My feet were soaked by the time I reached the quarter mile mark.  I felt like a kid playing in the mud, and it was fun!  During the run, I began to think of how far I have come in just a year and a half.  I had a lot of emotion that I was running with.  I knew I had a decent pace, and felt like I was going to beat my 34:30 time, but I had no idea by how much.  As I hit the last straight stretch, I could see the clock at the start finish line.  I couldn’t tell if it said 28 or 38 at that point.  As I got closer, it became more clear as the clock just turned to 29 minutes.  I crossed the finish line in 29:23.  It was an extremely emotional moment.  I actually went to the score table to make sure that the time was correct.  Receiving a medal for being the second fastest in my age group wasn’t necessarily a goal, but it was a nice perk.  Finding out that I finished 10th place overall, and was the oldest person in the top 10 was a pretty nice perk too.Matt Cline B&A

I completed the goal that I had set.  I don’t know if you can find anyone more grateful for health and life than I am.  I feel like I have a whole new life. I am able to do things that I have never done before.  I work daily to keep myself healthy spiritually, mentally, and physically.  Don’t allow life to pass you by due to an unhealthy lifestyle.  A healthy life is the greatest gift you can give yourself.

Goals are worth setting, and dreams are worth dreaming.

Matt  Cline
Director of Recovery Support Services
The Counseling Center,  Inc

A word from the Natural High 5K & Fitness Festival Chairperson, Melissa Whitt:

The 9th Annual Natural High 5k and Fitness Festival took place on Saturday, June 24th at Earl Thomas Conley Riverside Park.  This year’s event saw 52 runners compete in the 5k run/walk, with Reece Brown winning the overall male runner and Briana Tudor winning overall female runner.  Fitness Festival activities this year included Iron Body Fitness Boot Camp, SOMC Cardio Drumming, and Yoga by the River with Melissa Davis.

The Natural High is a fundraiser for the Summer Outreach Club, a summer day camp for area kids ages 5-12.  This year’s event raised $4,300.72, with 11 sponsors, 41 volunteers, and 10 in-kind community sponsors.  The Natural High committee members and Community Relations and Development staff would like to thank all the sponsors, participants, and volunteers for all their support and making this year a huge success.

To read more about the Natural High 5K & Fitness Festival check out the following articles from the Portsmouth Daily Times:
TCC to Hold Fitness Festival
Fitness Festival Recap

The full list of times and winners can be found at Tri-State Racer. 

The Counseling Center at Ohio’s 2017 Opiate Conference

June 21, 2017


Scioto County, Ohio- Employees and the President of the Board of Directors at The Counseling Center, Inc. (TCC) attended Ohio’s 2017 Opiate Conference on June 12th and 13th, 2017. The Ohio 2017 Opiate Conference is an opportunity for treatment providers, law enforcement, and other concerned individuals to provide and gain information on the industry trends and best practices. Two employees of The Counseling Center were invited to present information on treatment practices utilized at TCC.

MIrwin Presentation.jpgMary Irwin, Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer, presented Stepping Stones: Working with Pregnant Moms as well as Their Children. Specifically, on how the formation of a maternity work group has allowed for notable outcomes regarding pregnant women who are in addiction treatment, the impact of coordination of care and occupational therapy for children in services, as well as identifying how TCC clients make an impact in the community and how the community impacts TCC clients.

RLooney PresentationRobin Looney, Director of Day One Admission Center and Family Services, presented on progressive efforts to revitalize TCC’s admissions and orientation process. With the input of Performance Improvement committee meetings and feedback from clients, changes were made to more efficiently serve new clients. Within a welcoming environment, the Day One Admission Center works to increase access and respond urgently to clients presenting for care. Looney stated that she hopes audience members left with new ideas about changes in process, staffing, and a physical plan which could enable providers to improve services.

Ohio’s 2017 Opiate Conference was also a platform for showing the importance of Medicaid Expansion. Andy Albrecht, Chief Executive Officer for The Counseling Center, spoke at a press conference held during the event. Albrecht spoke about key outcomes that directly relate to Medicaid Expansion as demonstrated at TCC such as, the creation of 67 full time jobs, 2.3 million dollars added to payroll, 1100 men obtaining treatment services, 400 men diverted from regional county jails, as well as the development of integrated services for physical and behavioral health. He noted, “Medicaid expansion has been the single biggest thing that has happened to our agency and local communities to help individuals in need of addiction treatment.”

During the last group session of the conference, the hashtag campaign #WhatHappensTomorrow rolled out as a way to reach out to legislators around the state and share stories of how Medicaid Expansion is beneficial to the field of behavioral health.

About The Counseling Center

Since 1984, The Counseling Center Inc. has served the southeastern Ohio region as a behavioral health, alcohol and addiction treatment facility. Currently, The Counseling Center serves approximately 200 clients annually, employs 264 people and operates locations in both Adams County and Scioto County. Programs of The Counseling Center include the Stepping Stone program for addicted mothers and expectant mothers, the Marsh House for Men, the Second Chance Center, St. Lucy’s program for Women, The Loved Ones Group for families of addicted loved ones, youth prevention services, a job training program called Clean Hire, primary health care and recovery housing through affiliated agencies, and other supportive services. Online at

For follow up or additional comment, please contact:

Andy Albrecht, CEO The Counseling Center,, office phone (740) 353-6685 ext. 8000

Gina Collinsworth, Chief Public Relations Officer The Counseling Center,, office phone: (740) 351-2706

Ohio State Legal Services Association awarded grant to partner with The Counseling Center

It took five years to create and fund, but the first known partnership in the United States between a legal aid law firm and a drug/alcohol addiction treatment center has begun work in Portsmouth, Ohio.  Ohio State Legal Services Association (also known locally as SEOLS or Southeastern Ohio Legal Services) and The Counseling Center (TCC) initiated a partnership in December, with the help of a grant from the Ohio State Bar Foundation (OSBF).  Enhancing the likelihood of long-term, addiction recovery is the simple goal driving the collaboration Read more…

9th Annual Celebrity Chef Dinner & Silent Auction


The Counseling Center’s 9th Annual Celebrity Chef Dinner and Silent Auction is Tuesday, March 14th at 6:00 pm at the SOMC Friends Community Center, 1202 18th Street, Portsmouth, Ohio. Tickets are on sale now and going fast! 

Tickets are $50.00 each and includes Celebrity Chef appetizers, dinner buffet, delicious desserts, silent auction, raffles and live entertainment.  For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Melissa Whitt at 740-351-2707.


 The Celebrity Chef Dinner event is a benefit for The Counseling Center’s Summer Outreach Club, a free summer day-camp for kids ages 5-12.  This year is the ninth year and feature’s the theme, Travel the World and Be Back by Breakfast, taking you around the world sampling tastes of delicious appetizer’s made by our Celebrity Chefs, in addition to a breakfast-inspired dinner buffet of breakfast lasagna, rise and shine taco boats, quiche, fried rice, Spanish potatoes, scrambled tofu and delicious fresh fruits.  To finish the feast, delectable dessert cupcakes from ’83 Sweets and a variety of flavors of custard cups from Whit’s Frozen Custard for dessert.  There will be live Americana music performed by The Poverty String Band, our hometown favorite. Read more…

Loved Ones Group Newsletter

The Power of Denial by Ed Hughes

We frequently use the word “denial” in our description of a person’s inability to admit to their problem with drinking or drug use.  We might say a person is “in denial,” meaning they are being dishonest with themselves and others, or that for whatever reason they are unable to see the obvious.

          Denial is actually a very common human characteristic, not at all reserved for people with problems relating to addiction.  Denial is the common tendency to reject information that is contrary to the way we would prefer to view things.

The rejection of unwanted facts, so that we can keep thinking and behaving the way we want.  Sometimes these unwanted facts come from our minds, such as when we see something we really want to buy at a store, but then we hear our own minds say that we can’t afford it.  But rather than listen to this inner voice, we begin to argue with ourselves (rationalize) until we come up with an acceptable justification for moving ahead and doing what we want to do.

Have you ever heard of someone bringing home a boyfriend or girlfriend that mom and dad didn’t like?  I asked this question in a public meeting one time and a woman raised her hand and said, “I sure did, and I married him.  And mom and dad were right,” she joked, with her embarrassed husband sitting next to her.

What is the normal reaction of the person told by mom and dad that they don’t approve of the boyfriend?  The reaction is certainly not to agree with mom and dad and end the relationship.  No, it is usually an argument about how they are wrong (defending), and in cases where perhaps one is not able to argue with mom and dad, then maybe sneaking to see the boyfriend/girlfriend will be the choice.  In any case, we are not very accepting of information that flies in the face of what we really want.  This is part of being human.

Now, what happens when this normal human experience called denial comes in contact with something as powerful as drug addiction?  What happens is the addicted person becomes mentally blind to the reality of their situation and unable to see the destruction their disease is inflicting on them and others.  To the world the addicted person looks terribly selfish, inconsiderate, manipulative, and dishonest.  But these are only symptoms of the addicted person’s increasing disconnection with reality.  Addiction acts like a filter on the person’s brain, filtering out advice, logical suggestions, and truth.  The denial process eventually creates an inability for the addicted person to make reasoned choices, or accurate self-awareness in the form of insight into what is happening to their life.

All of this is very frustrating to family, friends and community.  It seems impossible to “talk any sense” to the addicted person.  Denial is a powerful barrier to admitting the presence of a problem and getting help.  In order to get well, there needs to be at least a small chip in the wall of denial.  This is usually created when the consequences of addiction are experienced by the addicted person, rather than others.  Consequences become the opportunity for helpful information to get through, making an impact which in turn can create the beginning of recovery.  Denial will begin to diminish if and when the person becomes abstinent from all drugs of addiction, and denial will continue to diminish as a recovery process is initiated.

It is also common for loved ones to experience denial.  It is very difficult for a parent, friend or spouse to fully accept the realities of someone’s addiction.  Most often this denial is removed in layers, with the first layer being recognition that your loved one is addicted and needs help beyond your own ability to help.  Breaking through denial also means breaking through our reluctance to ask for help.  This first step can be a powerful one on the road to recovery, if the loved ones continue to challenge themselves to deal with their own faulty thinking and need to accept the realities of addiction.


Loved Ones Newsletter vol 1 no 1 and vol 1 no 2

To sign up for this newsletter email Robin Looney, Director of the Day One Admissions Center  [ ]


Ed Hughes is one of the originators of the Loved Ones Group. He is a  licensed, Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor for the State of Ohio, and served as Executive Director of The Counseling Center, Inc., from 1989-2013. He also served as CEO of Compass Community Health from 2013-2016.  Mr. Hughes earned a B.A. in Sociology from Ohio University and a Master’s of Public Service Counseling from Western Kentucky University, and has written a companion book titled Baffled by Addiction.