Today we’d like to introduce you to Irene Little.
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 always loved helping people. When I was younger, I spent a lot of time with teens listening to the struggles and heartbreaks that lead to substance use and learned there was a very clear pattern that young people who dive into substance misuse have in common. I got so thirsty for more and more information on how I could positively impact others to help them discover their passion and potential so they could find freedom from addiction. I learned that people who seek alcohol and other drugs so desperately that it is at the expense of all of their relationships. They seemed to have a common mistaken belief that the only person they were hurting is themselves. I found that families are ‘home base’ for people and that base gets ripped away when a person is using alcohol and other drugs to medicate. I found that the people I get to work with every day are attempting ‘suicide on the installment plan’ which means that they are losing hope daily and while they are not necessarily suicidal with a plan, they are willing to continue misusing substances even if it means they will die from their use eventually. I wanted to help repair the damage to families and re-gift hope to individuals and their families that their life can be full, complete and repaired through recovery. That is when I founded Access Counseling Group.
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?
I have learned many skills as a clinician, however the field of addiction has changed greatly over the years. When I first began providing treatment more than 20 years ago, the treatment was focused on the individual primarily. We did not understand a lot about the co-occurring disorders that accompany substance use disorders and we did not understand the extent of the benefit of individualized treatment back then. I know we lost many people to this disease because we believed that everyone could be successful if they only followed the 12 steps and abstained from all medications as well as alcohol and other drugs. This was not a successful approach because we excluded so many people from treatment. We did not spend enough time with family members helping them learn how to support their loved ones. Those were some very rough times.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Access Counseling Group – what should we know?
Access Counseling Group is a substance use disorder treatment facility located in Frisco. We specialize in providing treatment and education for the whole family to recover from the impact of substance use disorders. We love working with teens and young adults, however we also provide services for adults of all ages.
We are addiction specialists working to reunite families and improving the quality of life through recovery from mind-altering substances. What sets us apart from others is the amount of time we spend supporting and educating the family on how to take care of themselves while also supporting their loved one with the disorder.
We use our entire treatment team, which includes our front office admin, our billing team and our clinicians to provide care for the families we serve. We are also the only intensive outpatient program I am aware of that has a Nurse Practioner on staff whose expertise is in addiction so when she is treating a patient’s co-occurring disorder, she is careful to be sure that the medications she prescribes do not negatively impact their recovery. She can provide medications that assist in reducing cravings, which has been linked to improved success rates for recovery.
Our Nurse Practioner can see patients who are not in enrolled in our treatment facility. Appointments can be scheduled quickly and we even have some evening appointments available.
We have been so proud of the many individuals and their families that have found relief and freedom from addiction. And not only that but many of our former patients find success beyond their wildest dreams! It has been so fun watching their amazing successes!
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I never give up. I also refuse to leave a situation that did not go my way and assign blame to others. I am always looking for the lesson in a situation. What could I have done better? What could I have done different that could have led to a better outcome? And I am always learning. I want to be sure that my team and I are best equipped to help individuals and their families heal from this illness so I am constantly learning, which is why there are so many letters behind my name!