Kevin Ford had not abused alcohol or other substances for three months. Then came the lost weekend.
He was only 19 years old at the time.
Through the partnership with Mirror and The Center for Counseling & Consultation, Ford is the new substance-use clinician seeing clients four days a week in central Kansas.
“When I used substances that long-ago weekend, I didn’t know what had happened for the previous three days,” Ford said. “I stayed clean for another three months but things were getting crazy again.
“So, I checked myself into a rehab program and haven’t used anything since.”
For the past 36 years, Ford has been a substance-use counselor. He is currently employed by Mirror and sees clients at The Center’s locations, which is a win-win for both organizations, Ford said.
“Before my recovery began, I used about anything you put in front of me,” Ford recalled. “Mainly it was alcohol and then stimulants to stay awake to drink more alcohol.”
In light of this background, Ford encourages anyone who is wondering if they have a substance-misuse problem to contact him or another counselor.
“It is definitely worth looking into,” he commented. “That is really the hardest part of all this – making that first call. But it is never too late. It is only too late when the funeral plans have to be made.”
Since Ford understands many people may be apprehensive at first, he outlined the basics of what clients can expect.
“I help people explore,” Ford explained. “I am not here to change your mind but to challenge you. Maybe you’ll make changes, maybe you won’t. I want to give you other ways to look at your situation.”
If treatment is recommended, an individual’s circumstances are taken in to account. Options include outpatient or inpatient treatment, and community support groups.
“Not everyone needs inpatient treatment to get better,” Ford noted. “In many cases, I strongly recommend support groups but it is nothing I demand.”
Ford began seeing local and area clients at the end of July and about a month later he had 40 clients. “This is a lot more than we expected this early on. People were waiting for this to happen.”
On-site substance-use counseling wasn’t available at The Center for a couple of years before Ford signed on.
“Substance-use counseling is my passion,” Ford commented. “I have 36 years of experience and am so pleased with this much needed partnership between The Center and Mirror.”
He sees clients at 5815 Broadway in Great Bend Mondays and Wednesdays; 217 E. Ave. N in Lyons Tuesdays; and 606 Topeka, Suite 101 in Larned Thursdays.
Ford is a licensed addiction counselor and Kansas certified gambling counselor.
In 2015, Ford helped develop an outpatient program at The Center. Other employers over the years include the Kansas Department of Corrections where he was a unit team manager and director of the Chemical Dependency Recovery Program at Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility; and New Chance where he was a counselor and intermediate supervisor.
The Center for Counseling & Consultation is a Community Mental Health Center serving Barton, Pawnee, Rice and Stafford counties. Professionally trained personnel offer: individual and group therapy; marriage and family counseling; community-support services; community-based services; psychosocial rehabilitation; peer support; and medication management. The confidential 24/7 crisis hotline number is 800-875-2544.