Welcome to our Blog

New programs. New president. New prose.

Here at Aspell Recovery, we are forward-facing and future-focused. And we are very excited to share some of our most recent updates with you. One of them is this blog, our first post. Thanks for reading!

July 1st, our Vice President Steve Bowers took over the presidential position from Dr. Ron Kirkland, who is now chairing our fundraising committee (another new item!). We are greatly appreciative of the dedication of both men and are especially excited to see how Steve uses his unique perspective to chair the board.

In March of this year, we launched our Pregnant Postpartum Women’s Program (PPW), with Trish Jared as our case manager. Trish found us while searching for rehabilitation options for a family member. With six years sobriety herself, we are especially grateful for the empathy that Trish brings with her.

We asked Trish to give us a little insight into the program.

“What’s a typical day like?  Ok, there are very few typical days! On a great day, a baby that was born with a major heart condition, who has lived through multiple heart surgeries, is finally released from the hospital looking healthy and happy! But success looks different for everyone, and the road to success is littered with many obstacles.  So, on a good day, I help moms navigate those obstacles by connecting them to services that can improve the quality of their life.  A bad day may bring a mom across my path who qualifies for the program but refuses to let us help her.  And, occasionally, we hear of a mom who has relapsed and lost custody of her child.  Those are hard days.  But I pray for them all and I ask God to renew my spirit so I can help the next one.

One visual that I hope I never forget occurred when I attended court to help get a mom out of jail.  The judge called her up and she stood before the court in her jail jumpsuit, hands cuffed, and the chains dangling around the baby in her belly.  The sight of it took my breath away for a moment, and I knew then that God let me see this so I would understand why I must do this work.”

The latest line-up in our services offered is the Family Centered Services program, which focuses on specialized courts handling cases of parents facing custodial removal of children. These parents have been charged with child abuse/neglect.  The program provides support services for the parents as well as family members and children. Participation is voluntary. It will allow these families to be evaluated and connected with services such as counseling and case management.

The purpose of the program is to stop the cycle. We want to increase the number of parents, children, and caregivers receiving trauma-focused treatment and recovery support services. The program will focus on helping the parents stay in treatment, while showing the children another way and preventing them from becoming lifelong offenders. We’re very excited about this new program and hope to share more info with you in the coming months.

Each month we will be posting updates for our supporters here. We appreciate each of you and your support in every way you provide it. You help us help the hurting.

Welcome to our space. And thank you for being here.

If you would like to make a donation, you may do so by clicking the “support” tab at the top of the page.

About Clients and Completion

Happy new year to you. May 2020 be filled with grace and hope.

Part of what we do here at Aspell is collect data. We interview our clients prior to admission and again six months post-completion. We do this to get a better understanding of our clients and create a more personalized treatment for them, and to look for ways we can improve our services offered.

We would also like to use this data to give our supporters a better picture of our client population.

In the 2018-2019 fiscal year, we admitted 360 clients into our intensive 28-day treatment program. Twenty-five percent of our clients come from right here in Madison county. Gibson, Hardin, Henderson, and Obion round out the top five counties. Over 90 percent of our clients come from West Tennessee.

Of the 360 admissions we had in that time period, 74 percent of them completed our treatment program. The national average percentage of completion is only fifty-three percent. We are so proud of our excellent treatment teams who helped so many clients achieve this milestone.

Part of the admissions interview addresses drug usage stats such as age of first use and drug of choice. While many of our clients used opioids, we found that meth amphetamine was the most common drug of choice. Seventy-four percent of our clients were 20 years or younger at the age of first use. Six percent of them were year 10 years old or younger. Three clients estimated they were five years old at their age of first use. Click the graphs at the top of the post to see a detailed breakdown of primary drugs used by the clients we treated.

In 2019, our compliance director Tammy Yosich revamped our post-treatment survey methods in order to reach as many clients as possible and acquire more accurate data. This resulted in an increase in the percentage of clients reached. We successfully contacted 61 percent of the clients who completed treatment this year.

Six months after completion, 62 percent of the clients contacted were in stable housing. Sixty-four percent of the clients contacted were employed, and 61 percent of our clients were practicing chemical abstinence six months after completing our program. We celebrate these lives that are changed for the better, and we look for ways to improve our methods so that even more clients can be successful upon completing our program.

We also express our gratitude to you, our supporters, for helping us show our clients a better way. If you would like to donate, you may do so by clicking the support tab at the top of the page.

Darren’s Story

Darren Whitaker, one of our newest employees, is someone who knows what it takes to overcome adversity. Today, let’s take some time to learn his story.

As a baby, nine-month-old Darren nearly lost his life. He was scalded by bathwater so badly that he lost most of the skin on his legs. His injuries required numerous skin graft surgeries, and he didn’t walk until the age of four. Embarrassed by the scars on his legs, he wore pants all the time. Darren recalls that the last time he visited the burn center, at the age of seven, it was ninety degrees outside, and he was wearing corduroy pants. When the doctor asked why he was wearing such hot pants in the summer, Darren admitted he was self-conscious about the scars. Grabbing his hand, the doctor exclaimed that he should be happy to wear shorts, because not only was he not supposed to be walking, he could have died.

Darren grew up in a strict household. His adopted parents were older in age and overly cautious, which meant that Darren didn’t spend a lot of time with other kids his age or engage in a lot of typical activities. Instead of playing outside, he spent a lot of time watching his adopted mom cook.  They discouraged him from playing football due to his injuries for many years, but his freshman year of high school he decided to try out, and he made the team.

When Darren arrived home that afternoon to tell his parents the exciting news, he was greeted by a tearful mother – his adopted father passed away while he was at school. Three years later, he lost his adopted mother as well. It was at this time that Darren first began drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana. He was 17. Darren recalls that he also began selling marijuana and joined up with the GHC – Get High Crew. “From that point on, drinking was all I wanted to do.” Darren recounts.

For the next 20 years, Darren was an on again, off again alcoholic. He was able to stop drinking for as long as two years, but every time he went back, he drank like he was making up for lost time. When he received his second DUI in 2014, the judge gave him the option of treatment or jail time, and Darren chose treatment, reasoning that he would get out of jail faster. While at Aspell, he had an unexpected experience. Darren recalls that one week into his stay, he went into his room and thanked God for sending him to Aspell and asked that He remove Darren’s desire for alcohol. Darren concluded, “I haven’t had the desire since.”

After successfully completing our residential program (his first time in treatment!), Darren went on to complete our IOP program and eventually moved into Talbot Towers on his birthday, five years ago. Since his adoptive parents passed away and many of his biological family members are still involved in drugs and alcohol, Darren doesn’t have a supportive family network. He noted that living on Aspell’s campus means always having people around for socializing. Living here allows him to have neighbors who he knows well and with whom he has meaningful conversations about life and sobriety.

Darren has been working with us since December, and we are elated that he loves working here. He especially enjoys the flexibility and creativity he is allowed in the kitchen. As the weekend cook, Darren doesn’t always know exactly what he will have to work with until he gets to work, which is fun for him. After 23 years of cooking, Darren has learned that when people are quiet while eating his food, that’s when he knows he did a good job. Darren is thankful for the opportunity to give back to Aspell, and we are so thankful he is a part of our family.

If you would like to help more people like Darren overcome their obstacles and addictions, you may do so by clicking the support tab at the top of the page. As always, we thank you for taking the time to catch up with us.


To reduce or eliminate unnecessary exposure to COVID-19, Aspell has implemented a plan of action. As of Monday, March 23, all non-essential staff are working from home, including admissions staff.

  1. For questions about Admissions, please call the following numbers between 9AM and 3PM Mon-Fri:
    • Raven Ferrell – 731.803.2431
    • Misty French – 731.694.8608
  2. For questions regarding current clients, please email questions and concerns to program coordinators and/or counselors (DO NOT INCLUDE CLIENT NAMES). If you have a loved one in our facility and need to speak with a counselor—simply send an email with your name and your number and a clinician will return your call.
    1. For questions regarding clients in Men’s Residential (Jackson Campus)
    2. For questions regarding clients in Women’s Residential (Jackson Campus)
    3. For questions regarding clients in IOP (Jackson Campus)
    4. For questions regarding clients in A Mother’s Love (Humboldt Campus)
    5. For questions regarding clients in IOP Savannah, TN campus
    6. For general questions and concerns, please email

Policies are subject to change depending on updates from local, state, and federal officials regarding changes in COVID-19 procedures, which would affect our plan of action.

Additionally, Aspell would like to stress that employees take the virus spread very seriously and are following guidelines as carefully as possible to reduce exposure and protect the health of clients and employees. The temperature of staff members is taken daily upon arrival at work. Any employee with a temperature over 99.5 will be sent home and instructed not to come back to work until cleared for work by a physician.

Client temperatures are being taken daily, as well. Any client with a temperature over 99.5 degrees will be isolated until coronavirus test results are confirmed. Any client testing positive will be medically discharged. Social distancing procedures have been implemented for all campuses.

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