TCC Recovery

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.

Bring your family and friends out to support your favorite Celebrity Chef team! 

  • Dr. Charles Greiner and wife Kristi, owner of Portsmouth Foot Care.
  • Jenny Richards and Scott Claypool, Jenny is a Naturalist at Shawnee State Parks and    Scott is a Chef and owner of Sunshine Catering.
  • Wirty and Sean Penix, a father son team and co-owners of 2 Guys Cook.
  • David and Tanya Malone, David is the Pastor of Kingdom Builders Evangelistic    Ministries, Inc.
  • Pegi Wilkes and Trisha Schmidt, Co-Directors of Cirque d`Art Theatre.
  • Dawn Scott and her son Sean Little. Dawn is the Vice President of Ralph F. Scott Funeral Home and Sean is a 7th grader at Wheelersburg Elementary.
  • Eric and Krista Putnam. Eric is Head Cross Country and Track Coach at Shawnee State University and Krista is a Data Analyst for Zebu Compliance Solutions, Inc.
  • Pat and Ryanne Parker, a mother and daughter duo. Pat is First Lady at Pleasant Green Baptist Church and sings with the Praise, Dance and Drama team and Ryanne is a Teacher’s Aide at Highland Headstart.
  • Jamie Herrmann and Josh Childers are coworkers. Jamie is the Ortho Care Coordinator at KDMC Ohio and Co-Owner of Therapy Plus, Inc. and Josh is a Life Safety Officer at KDMC Ohio.
  • Dr. Samantha Cook and Dr. TJ Stidham, are Pediatricians at SOMC Pediatric Associates.

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. Call now! Tickets are going fast!

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.

TCC Employees Promoted

The Counseling Center would like to announce the recent promotion of several employees within the company.

Eva Gitome has recently been promoted to Chief Financial Officer. Eva began her employment with The Counseling Center in September 2013, and took a brief leave of absence to obtain her Master of Business Administration at Bowling Green State University.  Since returning as an accountant, Eva has received multiple promotions including Asst. Controller, Controller, and finally CFO.  She has been instrumental in significantly advancing financial operations within the company including a major accounting software implementation as well as improvements to fiscal controls and financial management.  During her tenure, the financial health of the organization has improved substantially, allowing us to expand access and provide additional resources to the clients we serve.

Tonya Berry has been promoted to Controller. Tonya has been employed with TCC since July of 2014 and has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from University of Kentucky.  Most recently she served as Accountant in the Finance Department.

Robin Looney has been promoted to the Director of the Day One Center, a new family and customer service center and stand alone Admissions and Orientation Center. She is a Marshall University graduate, with a Master of Arts degree in Community Agency Counseling and is a licensed social worker and independent chemical dependency counselor.  Early in her career, Robin worked in a community mental health agency and in residential treatment with youth experiencing emotional and behavioral disorders.  After referring many of these youth to substance use services, she entered the field where she has remained the past 25 years.   Robin has been an Adjunct Faculty with Ohio University Southern the past ten years and employed with The Counseling Center in a number of roles for over 15 years.  She has been particularly involved in providing information and support to families impacted by addiction.  Robin and her husband, Brett, reside in Lawrence County, Ohio with their two children, Paige and Garrett.

Dustin Holbrook has recently accepted the position of Outpatient Treatment Director. He is a Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor and a Licensed Social Worker in the state of Ohio.  Dustin obtained his Associate and Bachelor of Arts degrees from Shawnee State University and holds a Master of Social Administration degree from Case Western Reserve University.  He began working in the addiction treatment field in 2001 and has spent the last 11 years working at Scioto Paint Valley Mental Health Center (SPVMHC) in Waverly.  During his time there he was promoted to team leader/assistant clinic director.  He developed an Integrated Dual Disorder Treatment Program and a Juvenile Drug Court Program while working in Pike County.  He oversaw all of the AOD clinical programming at SPVMHC’s Pike County Clinic.  Dustin was also a founder of the Pike County Drug Prevention and Reentry Coalition, serving as the chairperson for a period of time.  Dustin currently lives in Lucasville with his family; he and his wife Cassandra have two daughters attending school in the Valley District.

Nick Montavon has recently accepted the promotion of Director of Transportation. Nick has been employed with The Counseling Center for four years and has also served in the Food Service Department as Supervisor.  He then progressed to the manager of both Transportation and Food Service.   He has been a vital part of working with Job and Family Services in renewing our Transportation Grant, and has implemented new processes in the Transportation Department to make services more efficient. He was recently promoted to Director because of the great improvements he has contributed to the organization and his exemplary management of staff.  Nick holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Shawnee State University.


Stepping Stones Program, Celebrating 200 Recovery Babies

SSOP 200 Recovery Babies Logo-01.jpg

In the fight for recovery, there is no greater success than healthy babies born to mothers in addiction treatment and working to get their lives back on track. Join us in celebrating a number of the greatest significance – since 2009, there have been over 200+ recovery babies born to the mothers of our Stepping Stone program.  We would like to encourage the community to join in our campaign by sharing our message of hope and success.  In the coming months, watch for our inspirational posters, billboards and much more throughout the community.  We believe in recovery, we believe in miracles!

2016 River Days Festival parade float celebrating our clients and babies born in the Stepping Stones Program.




Loved Ones Group Newsletters

The Counseling Center offers a wonderful support group for family and friends of those dealing with addiction.  Loved Ones Group offers free, confidential, education-based information for those concerned with a loved one’s alcohol or drug use.  Below you will find more information detailed in our latest editions of the Loved Ones Group Newsletters.

The first edition of the Loved Ones Group Newsletter, February 2016.



The second edition of the Loved Ones Group Newsletter, June 2016


The Summer Outreach Club – 26 years and growing!

This year marks the 26th anniversary of the Counseling Center’s Summer Outreach Club. The Summer Outreach Club is a free, recreational, motivational and educational, 9-week day camp for children ages 5 – 12. It is one of the longest-running prevention programs in the state of Ohio and enrollment is open to all in the community. Campers are served free breakfast and lunch thanks to the Community Action Summer Feeding program, and most activities take place at the 14th Street Community Center. There are also weekly field trips to the Portsmouth Public Library, Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center, Cirque d’Art Dance academy, Shawnee State Forest and the McKinley Public Pool. As a collaboration and mentoring project with many contributing partners, the support of the community is what gives this program so much heart. Funded in most part by annual fundraisers like the Celebrity Chef Dinner and the Natural High 5K Fitness Festival, generous community members are keeping this program going and growing. Thank you to everyone who makes this happen for our kids – program director Clarence Parker and his staff are giving their all to make this summer a lasting memory for campers.

A Jewel in our Midst

By Ed Hughes MPS, LICDC-CS

Beginning in 1992 as little more than a hope and dream, today the Stepping Stone House Women’s Residential Program has developed into a premier treatment center for women struggling with addiction. Prior to Stepping Stone House, the staff at The Counseling Center worried that too few women sought our service, primarily due to the gender-specific obstacles that existed for women. Women faced greater issues with stigma, transportation, child care, safe housing, and access to health care. The creation of Stepping Stone House was our attempt to resolve as many of those issues as possible….and it worked. Since the inception of Stepping Stone House, thousands of women have benefited from the program’s offering of housing, counseling, child care, transportation, health care, and network of continuing care services. We have attracted addicted women from all over the state, becoming a provider of choice for those with dependent children and/or experiencing pregnancy. We have counted 165 drug free, healthy babies born to women at Stepping Stone House since 2008, and that number climbs every month. Recently we were blessed to add a new service to our program called “Continuing Care”, an outreach and networking program for women who are leaving Stepping Stone House and returning to their home community. Sherry Holbrook, R.N., our first Continuing Care Specialist, will follow women as they return home, to provide additional counseling, assure follow-up for primary care and pediatric medical appointments, and give support for the transition back to home and community. It is always difficult to measure the full impact of all we do to help others. Sometimes the best and lasting outcomes are in the lives we touch that may never know the role we played. The healthy baby that grows up with a healthy, sober mom who never experienced the impact of addiction because mom came to Stepping Stone House in a state of desperation, but stayed to create a new future and history for herself and her children. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?! Congratulations to everyone connected to The Counseling Center’s Stepping Stone program!