Counselor Helps Patients Recover from Substance Abuse and Brain Injury

Counselor talking to a patientDuring her 24 years at CNS, Substance Abuse Counselor Jeannine Macias, CADC-II, has inspired and guided patients in their triumph over two catastrophic hurdles: brain injury and addiction. Their journey is tough - often heartbreaking – but she’s seen transformation in those she’s helped. Her own path at CNS has been marked by daily gratitude, as she watches patients step into the light of recovery.

“Their lives are devastated,” she observes. “They’re depressed and confused but can walk through it with CNS’ multi-disciplinary support.” Many rehabilitation facilities don’t offer all that CNS does, she noted. CNS treats the whole person, and counseling addresses many aspects of the healing and recovery process. The admission of dependency can be a turning point. Addiction often plagues patients prior to rehabilitation; it may have caused the injury, or it develops post injury. “CNS rebuilds the essence of who they are,” Jeannine noted. “We’re one of the few facilities that has a substance abuse treatment component, enabling survivors of brain injury to face and work through their recovery while in rehabilitation.”

Each day Jeannine sees lives restored, as brain injured patients face their deficits, achieve sobriety, and embrace new ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving. On occasion, her counseling involves estranged family members who reunite with a relative after a near-death event leads them to CNS. Jeannine recalled one patient, a law enforcement officer, who was shot in the head while responding to a call about a dangerous home situation. He hadn’t spoken to his son in years, but Jeannine reached out to him regarding his father’s accident, and a spirit of forgiveness unfolded. Slowly, they reconciled.

Years later, she received an emotional letter describing the son’s experience of having his dad back. “When Dad was injured a part of me was too,” it stated. “Clearly, our journey wasn’t over. I still idolized him." During his stay at CNS, Jeannine witnessed the phenomenon of family healing. Eventually, the father developed cardiac problems and passed away after years of reconnection. Jeannine kept his policeman’s badge in a safe place and, with his passing, gave it to his son. “I pressed that badge into his hand one last time,” the son wrote, “that he may die knowing he did his job and did it well.”

“My work is much more than a job,” Jeannine reflected. “It’s an opportunity to watch individuals and their families rise above their circumstances and live life again…some say, even better than they lived before.”