Leah Hunt is the Case Manager at Serenity House Detox Center in Houston, Texas. Hunt grew up in a family without any history of Substance Use Disorders, in a middle-class suburban town South of Houston. However, from a very early age, she had a fascination with alcohol.
“My family was reasonably stable and calm,” she said. “My parents only occasionally drank. But I remember since I was born having an affinity for alcohol. I used to offer to get my Dad a beer, and then drink as much as I could before giving it to him.”
In middle school, Hunt tried to obtain alcohol as often as she could, which she says was not often. But by 7th grade, she began to dabble in drugs. This behavior extended into high school, when she got sober.
“I was 14, about to turn 15, and no one knew I was using or drinking,” she said. “I was an athlete; I had good grades; I didn’t get in trouble. But I went to my parents and told them I needed help. Within a week I went to residential treatment in an adolescent unit.”
In addition to treatment, Hunt took part in an Alternative Peer Group for three years. She also attended a sober high school, from which she graduated in 2014. She earned a bachelor’s degree from University of Houston, and will return there to receive her Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work. All the while, Hunt has immersed herself in her local recovery community.
Initially, Hunt wanted to go directly from Undergrad to Grad School, but she was waitlisted. Through the recovery community, she found the opportunity to become a Behavioral Health Technician at Serenity House. She worked this position for a year before taking the job as a case manager last month.
Hunt credits many of her accomplishments to getting sober at such a young age. She feels fortunate to be from Houston; she believes the city stands apart from communities around the country when it comes to adolescent Substance Use Disorder treatment.
“The continuum of care for adolescents in Houston is one of the best in the country,” she said. “We have a lot of IOPs and APGs, and there are sober high schools opening across the country that are modeled after the one in Houston.”
Hunt believes that the care she and her colleagues provide at Serenity House Detox is unique. They build close relationships with each client, in order to create the most personalized treatment plans possible.
“It’s intimate,” she said. “It’s a small facility and I think there’s a lot of value in that. When there’s only ten to twenty clients, I think people feel their experience is a little more individualized. It creates a community-based feeling.”
Hunt recognizes the importance of treatment at all levels. She considers it an honor to be able to help another person going through what she’s been through.
“I really appreciate having the opportunity to be a part of people’s recovery story, and to be with them when they’re going through such a big change in their life,” she said. “Going through treatment is a lot, so being there for them in whatever capacity I can is awesome.”