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Kentucky's Bridge to Recovery
Written by Ted Jackson   
June 2009

Thirty five years this summer, Paul and Carol Cannon founded The Bridge to Recovery in the rolling hills of Kentucky not far from Bowling Green. Since then, Carol has emerged as among a leading therapists in codependency, her Hooked on Unhappiness a key tome and one that pioneered understanding of the links between addition and certain key relationship pathologies. And the 18-bed non profit center she founded with her husband Paul has equally been a pioneer - though more quietly than some other much more expensive centers, most located in Arizona - in the treatment of family systems, expertly relating and integrating the treatment of unhealthy human relationships into treatment for substance abuse. Thus, it is not surprising that Bridge to Recovery has, according to its new executive director, John Stenzel, acquired a degree of expertise in treating the “soft” addictions - money, sex and other addictions involving compulsive behavior - that is matched by few institutions anywhere. “And it is the value proposition with Bridge to Recovery that is also very compelling, especially considering our first class therapeutic capabilities” he says. “Our prices range from a little under $6K for very short-term stays, 90-days is just $22K.” In an era when private pay is becoming more a very tough game to play, and prying dollars loose from consumer hands harder then ever, the matching of renowned therapeutic talent with affordability is a business plan that probably has a better chance of success than any other. And it’s a key reason why John Stenzel, with over 20 years in behavioral health, and a well known figure in addictions circles, was attracted to Bridge to Recovery. As is so often the case in the treatment business, Bridge’s founders are long on treatment talent, and keen on helping others. They are less interested, though, in management, but nervertheless want to see their centers grow. Thus, management and growth are the mission for Stenzel in his new position. Having cofounded an EAP concern that serviced top executives assigned overseas, Stenzel has visited over 400 treatment centers worldwide, and is intimately familiar with the commercial payor space, especially large, self insured entities. Stenzel plans on tapping into this knowledge on behalf of Bridge to Recovery, already creating and expanding relationships with large area self insureds like GM, Nissan and Vanderbilt University Medical Center.According to Stenzel, he has in the two months he’s been at Bridge already taken census to the point where the center is now operating at full capacity. Bridge is located on a 115 acre property with appealing rustic charm. And now that Stenzel has filled beds at Bridge, he is looking at expansion either through merger with other non-profits or greenfield development.” We have secured financing with a local Bowling Green bank that likes our model and appreciates our longevity,” he says. “We are looking at West Coast expansion, where there are a plethora of high-end options on the private pay side, but relatively fewer high quality affordable ones.”

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