Michael O’Neal, founder and primary clinical caregiver for DayRise Recovery, is a recovering addict and alcoholic who has been “living free” for 27 years—since March 17, 1986. His unique journey began at birth. “I was born addicted to amphetamines,” explains O’Neal. “My mother took diet pills—a common practice back then—during the latter part of her pregnancy.
It was no fault of hers; she wasn’t a drug addict, but unbeknownst to her, using amphetamines during pregnancy can affect a baby’s development.”
He was a quiet kid, withdrawn and happy being in his own shell. At 13, he began experimenting with substances. “I quickly began using in extreme fashion and almost immediately lost control,” he says. He tried to stop and began attending Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings at 14, but wasn’t particularly successful.
Today, he thinks his struggle was typical, but at the time, he perceived himself failing at something really important. He began having a difficult time in school and his selfesteem plummeted. He would use substances for months at a time and then try to stop. Over the years, he tried NA and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and says they were helpful, but not helpful enough. They did teach him an important lesson about how to approach recovery, though.
Finally, at 29, he’d had enough. O’Neal began using meditation and self-hypnosis to visualize himself sober for extended periods of time—and it worked. He wanted to let people know what had been successful for him, but understood that many would have a difficult time accepting anything other than the traditional 12-step approach. After completing his own treatment, O’Neal started studying to be a drug and alcohol counselor and in 1991, became a licensed chemical dependency counselor.
In 1995, he began working at Summer Sky, Inc., one of the nation’s most recognized inpatient treatment facilities for addiction recovery. Within a year, he had taken over the family program, completely rewriting the curriculum, and simultaneously began providing clinical supervision to the staff of the adult unit. In 1997, he was hired as CEO and director of the Cottage Inc. residential treatment center, in Wichita Falls, Texas.
During his tenure, he began treating people by using his meditation technique. He encountered some resistance, as “Many people felt that the traditional alcohol and drug abuse treatment models were the only way to go,” he explains. “I know programs like AA are tremendously helpful to millions, but it’s also clear that they’re not helpful to millions more.”
Following his time at the Cottage, he became clinical director of the AIC treatment center, one of the largest treatment centers in Texas, and now the site of Right Step, Inc., in Euless. His time at the center ended and O’Neal decided to take a year off. “I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue counseling, but I also knew I had a message to deliver.”
O’Neal began researching what else was out there and discovered a 1957 study that showed positive effects of glutamine supplements, an amino acid, for alcohol withdrawal. “This really intrigued me, and I realized it made sense,” he notes. “I knew it could be a very powerful tool in helping people recover.”
In 2005, he was inspired to launch AccelRecovery, which became DayRise Recovery, a privately owned, state-licensed outpatient substance abuse treatment facility for adults. The center’s comprehensive—and effective—approach treats mind, body and spirit, restoring individuals to a state of health and hope. “We feature the latest medical and research-based advances, combined with the oldest and most fundamental truths about recovery, to help you bring about your desire for a fresh start,” states O’Neal.
DayRise provides participants with the time it takes to fully recover, along with the support and skills required to make it happen. Treatment is performed on an outpatient basis, so individuals are free to live their life and see to their responsibilities and obligations as they recover. O’Neal says the outpatient model has been extremely successful at helping thousands of addicts.
O’Neal and his staff employ multiple techniques for the best chance of success—the foundation of which is treating the true underlying cause of addiction. “We offer complete physical symptom management, including cravings, mood stabilization and addressing physical health concerns, but we also look at your whole lifestyle to analyze its strengths and areas that need improvement,” he explains.
They then create a substance dependence treatment plan that meets the needs of each individual. All talk therapy, if needed, is done one-on-one with a qualified alcohol or drug abuse counselor. Taking amino acid supplements is also often part of the plan. “It really, really works,” he says. “Clients tell us they feel so much better and feel motivated again. I began taking them and feel more clearheaded.”
O’Neal has developed an innovative new approach to grouporiented substance abuse sessions, called supportive ongoing addiction recovery (SOAR). Group members are encouraged to share their own struggles and listen to others’ experiences. “SOAR allows for highly effective group sessions and a greater development of camaraderie among members,” he states. “Sharing similar stories, offering advice to one another and receiving relative guidance offers a more well-rounded session that can address multiple areas of the recovery process at once.”
Clients are also educated about diet, exercise and nutrition. The goal is skill building and teaching clients how to live a balanced, healthy life. “It’s learning how to eat right and have fun again,” says O’Neal.
Location: 202-A N. Allen Dr., Allen. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call 972-359-1600 or visit DayRiseRecovery.com.