Billy T. Cattan plans to expand outpatient services

Laura Garcia By Laura Garcia

Dec. 29, 2017 at 9:57 p.m.

The Billy T. Cattan Recovery Outreach Center is purchasing a building from Victoria College at 802 E. Crestwood Drive.

The Billy T. Cattan Recovery Outreach Center is purchasing a building from Victoria College at 802 E. Crestwood Drive.   Angela Piazza for The Victoria Advocate

"My name is Ryan. I'm an addict."

This is how Ryan Jaynes starts a recent alumni meeting before leading the group in a Serenity Prayer.

Wearing a comfortable hooded sweatshirt and sitting at a desk, the 39-year-old read text from his cellphone:

"God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

Jaynes, like everyone else in the room, is in recovery for substance abuse.

They agree to meet Wednesday evenings at the Billy T. Cattan Recovery Outreach Center.

Executive Director Daniel Barrientos said this represents a shift in how the faith-based alcohol and substance abuse outpatient treatment facility operates.

The center sees more people seeking help on their own rather than through the criminal justice system.

In 2014, when Barrientos was hired, about 96 percent of clients were referred because they were on probation or parole. In 2017, about 33 percent of the center's clients sought treatment on their own.

Jaynes said he learned early in recovery that nobody could make a person stop using drugs - you have to do it yourself.

"I was a very high-functioning addict, but in the end, I was hurting everybody around me," he said.

He was doing well at work but noticed his relationships were crumbling around him.

Jaynes said it took getting in trouble with the law to force him to get help for abusing opiates.

"Nobody can make you do this," he said. "You have to do it for yourself."

Jaynes said for anyone in the group, relapse is death.

He has been in "true recovery" for 16 months and credits the alumni group for helping him through what will be a lifelong struggle.

Others in the group say their motivation is restoring relationships with family and avoiding incarceration.

Barrientos said the peer-driven group was started eight months ago by a client who didn't want to leave the center after completing his treatment.

Going to Alcoholics Anonymous is intimidating for some, he said, and the alumni support group offers an alternative.

Clinical Director Elma Saenz said clients become comfortable with the staff and don't want to lose that support network.

After operating for almost three years from rented space on the first floor of the Laurent Tower professional building, the agency is ready for another move.

The nonprofit organization is in the process of purchasing a freestanding building from Victoria College at 802 E. Crestwood Drive.

"It has so much potential," Saenz said. "This will give us more visibility and clients will be able to access us better."

The 5,960-square-foot building is nestled in a residential area of Victoria and has plenty of parking for clients.

Before it was the college's adult education center, the building belonged to Central Power and Light Electric.

Barrientos said a $100,000 grant from the M.G. and Lillie A. Johnson Foundation helped start the process.

"We got this building for a good price, so we're very hopeful we'll be able to pay it off by the time we move in," he said.

The center started a campaign to raise $500,000 for the purchase, moving expenses and renovations as well as the hiring of two additional counselors.

The anticipated move-in date is May 1.

The new building offers plenty of space for counselors' offices and group meetings.

The nonprofit is working with architect Rawley McCoy for renovations, which would include adding a couple of restrooms.

Barrientos said with the expansion, the center will be able to serve more clients.

The current wait time for services is two to three weeks. The move should allow the center to reduce wait times to 48 hours or less.

Billy T. Cattan Recovery Outreach Center will be able to save $36,000 annually by not having to pay rent. There will also be savings from storing medical files securely on-site.

The nonprofit treats more than 530 adults annually in the Crossroads.

Barrientos said investing in the center will ease the financial burden on legal and correctional systems.

The center's services are not free; however, no one has been refused care because they couldn't afford it.

Medically uninsured clients pay based on a sliding scale, he said.

The new building will also provide a meeting space for AA and Narcotics Anonymous.

The diagnoses the center often sees are alcohol, marijuana, methamphetamine and opioids.

Nationally, 91 people die every day of opioid overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As opioid use sweeps the nation, Victoria is not immune to this issue with 11 percent of the center's clients primarily abusing this type of drug. And when access is limited, he said, they often turn to harder drugs.

"It's hard for people to get clean right off the bat," he said. "Everybody's recovery is different for sure, and that's one of the things I've learned after coming aboard."

Barrientos said his goal is to bring an inpatient treatment facility to the Crossroads where a patient can detox under medical supervision.

Available detox beds require traveling to Corpus Christi or San Antonio, and those beds are often filled.

Barrientos said it helps that the nonprofit's board has a strong vision and the community is supportive.

"They know the need is there," he said. "They understand the struggles people have getting treatment in a rural setting."

But for now, Barrientos is focused on expanding and improving outpatient treatment services.

"I know God has big plans for this agency and will see this through," he said.


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