Susie Hopson-Blum: Founder, New Method Wellness

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Susie Hopson-Blum, owner and founder of New Method Wellness, a substance abuse treatment center that takes a holistic approach to recovery. Knowing firsthand the struggles recovering addicts experience throughout recovery, Hopson-Blum knew it was her destiny to mentor others and offer a voice of sober experience to those struggling with addiction. It was this certainty that led Hopson-Blum to open a sober living house in Southern California. As clients continued to come in the door and the mindset to refuse to turn people away, despite reaching max occupancy, Hopson-Blum used her professional expertise and personal experience to create New Method Wellness. To-date, New Method Wellness has treated well over 1,000 recovering addicts.

How did you get into the industry?

My profession in the behavioral health industry started 16 years into my own recovery journey.

I struggled with alcohol abuse from a young age and later developed an addiction to cocaine. After years of substance abuse, I hit an emotional bottom during which I found a better way of life… sobriety. I attended the Betty Ford Center for inpatient treatment, and my passion for recovery only grew from my early days of recovery.

At 16 years of sobriety and 20+ years of work in real estate, my husband and I felt a compulsion to contribute to the addiction community in any way that we could, so we started a sober living home. As time went on, we outgrew our sober living home and opened up another sober living home. In 2006, we partnered with Bing and DeAnna Crosby to start New Method Wellness substance abuse treatment center.

It is amazing to think we used to have 4 employees and only a handful of clients only 10 years ago. Our treatment center now spans 4 suites in a business center, we have 50 employees, and over 60 beds for our clients.

Any emerging industry trends?

Substance abuse is a deadly disease with a stigma surrounding it that says: “You should be ashamed of your addiction.”

Fortunately, the conversation has opened up about addiction and alcoholism with notable individuals like President Obama, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Macklemore, and many other ‘celebrities’ discussing the severity of addiction and how we can help as a society by actually talking about it.

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

While the public conversation has developed and society is actually talking about addiction, alcoholism, and mental health without turning the other cheek, we feel at New Method Wellness that there are so many individuals who need help, but very little help available.

Insurance companies host so many regulations and restrictions for substance abuse treatment coverage, which leaves a huge gap in treatment provisions. Unfortunately, we are unable to accept government provided health insurance and HMO’s due to minute coverage, which leaves a huge group of people far more vulnerable to death from addiction and alcoholism overdose.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for New Method Wellness?

My goal for New Method Wellness is to become entirely self-contained as an independent entity. We have such a high quality of care that if we become entirely self-supporting, we will essentially be unbeatable as a treatment center.

What's next for New Method Wellness in the near future?

We are currently working on opening up another detoxification home, which will be our 6th home. We would like to separate the detox homes by gender so that men and women can detox separately. At present, our clients detox at our Rio location and then move to their gender homes.

We are also working on commercial content and partnerships in the marketing department.

Your key initiatives for the success of New Method Wellness?

Our Director of Marketing has been working with her marketing team to expand our presence on television and radio platforms.

We have had the honor to contribute to the Dr. Phil show as experts in the addiction field as well as Renew Magazine, the Daily Mind, Smart Business Magazine, and more with a few projects in the works.

Your most difficult moment at New Method Wellness? (and what did you learn?)

The biggest challenge we have faced at New Method Wellness is our hurdle with insurance providers as previously mentioned.

Ideal experience for a customer/client?

Our treatment center does not work with the courts or prisons to provide treatment for legal necessity. This provides an environment where our clientele really wants to be sober rather than a clientele that is forced to be sober.

Our clients generally rage from ages 18 to 30, with 60% male and 40% female. We also have a very successful LGBT program, with nearly 30% LGBT clients at all times.

Our dual diagnosis track is our most popular program, as addiction and mood disorders are very common co-occuring disorders.

How do you motivate others?

At New Method Wellness, we are really a family business. My husband and I partnered with Bing and DeAnna Crosby, our Compliance Coordinator and our Program Director are a father and son combo, and one of our counselors and our Director of Marketing are a mother and daughter combo.

We have a lot of family relationships at the center paired with many close friendships, making it not only an enjoyable work atmosphere, but an environment where we hold each other accountable with not only our daily tasks, but our motivation to do what we do.

Career advice to those in your industry?

My biggest piece of advice to those in the addiction industry is to really analyze whether you have a passion for substance abuse recovery; if you find that your heart is completely in this field, then you will be successful.

With the severity of alcoholism and addiction, we see the most beautiful people with kind hearts and unmatched potential succumb to their disease and die from a drug overdose. If your passion for substance abuse recovery does not supersede the heartbreak you will experience on an all too frequent basis, you will struggle in this industry.