Bringing Real Change


BRC Recovery takes the tough cases, the clients who have relapsed multiple times, and successfully teaches them how to sustain full, addiction-free lives.

When Mark Houston, founder of the Mark Houston Recovery Center, died suddenly in 2010, the addiction recovery community reeled. Those who knew him and his work had to steady themselves. They had lost a powerhouse and a pioneer of the treatment industry. Nevertheless, Houston’s philosophy and program proved strong, so strong in fact that the recovery center he started outside of Austin, Texas, endures. Under a new name—BRC Recovery —Houston’s treatment center is run by people who knew him, worked with him, and understood his vision. Today, they carry on his mission to treat the whole person through a 12-Step immersion that is mentored by people in recovery.

“All our staff are in recovery, giving residents a wide range of experience and workable life skill applications,” Houston wrote in a statement when the center opened in 2006. “Our objective is to model the realization that we are physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual beings. We demonstrate how to integrate all four of these elements to experience the sense of inner peace necessary to achieve permanent recovery, happiness, and joy in daily living.”

Up until that point, addiction recovery was clinically based, but Houston saw another way. He advocated for addicts to work the 12 Steps, have a spiritual awakening, and then seek clinical help.

“He was a visionary,” explains Marsha Stone, chief executive officer. He flip-flopped everyone’s thinking, she says. Plus, he hired people in recovery to work at the center. “If they were participating in their own recovery,” she notes, “they could mentor people who had not been successful on their own. The program proved profoundly successful.”


The adults-only program treats a variety of people, including young adults who desire a college education. While elements have been in place to help students return to school or to take the first steps toward a degree, a new initiative is slated to launch during the first quarter of 2016. Stone shares that Laura Swann, LCDC, MEd, clinical director at BRC, has been developing an education immersion track. The intention is to help residents in recovery also immerse themselves in a college or young adult environment by organizing activities that appeal to the college community. “We want to assist them in reaching their educational goals. We want to weave their educational goals into the recovery process.”


With all residents, not just students or would-be students in recovery, BRC staff sit down to talk about goals. Staff remind them that their chemical addictions do not define them. We tell them, “passion over pathology, which means we help them get back in touch with their goals, their passions,” explains Stone. “We talk to them about what they wanted to do before they began to struggle with addiction. We remind them who God wanted them to be.”

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