Director of Residential Programs, New York RegionNew York“I watch clients come into the program and see them feel like they’re defeated. But the motivation you see in them, the plans that they’ve developed for success—those are the things that really make me continue to come to work.”
Brian Gillam has been a Phoenix House staff member since 1996, working in every Long Island facility and across Phoenix House’s continuum of care.
In 1993, Brian went through treatment at Phoenix House Hauppauge Center, called APPLE at the time, to get help for his own struggles with substance abuse. After the staff helped him work through his setbacks and start his life in recovery, they told him he should give counseling a try.
Brian, now a certified alcohol and substance abuse counselor, was hired as a Junior Counselor at Phoenix House. He worked his way up through the organization to become a Senior Counselor at an adolescent program in 1999, Deputy Director of the Phoenix House Hauppauge Center in 2001 and Director of the Hauppauge Center in 2003. Phoenix House Hauppauge Center provides residential treatment services for men, creating a supportive environment and using a strength-based view of recovery.
“Phoenix House offers every type of substance abuse treatment there is, from outpatient to detox to residential treatment,” Brian says. “We offer different lengths of stay, from short-term to long-term and in between. Phoenix House has really come full circle in trying to create a complete continuum of care for recovery.”
During his time at Phoenix House, Brian has worked at every Phoenix House facility on Long Island and spent time in a range of programs and populations, from admissions to the mental health program (PROS/FIRST), and Phoenix House Mother and Child Program. He has handled orientation for new clients, directed adolescent programs, given individual and group therapy, and done case management.
Since 2010, Brian has served as director of Long Island residential programs, supervising Phoenix House Academy in East Hampton, New York, and as program director of Phoenix House Hauppauge Center. Brian was recently promoted to managing director of Phoenix House Career Academy in Brooklyn, New York.
Brian has been working in the substance abuse field for nearly 20 years and frequently runs into former clients, everywhere from the mall to Disney World, who shake his hand and say thank you. “The gratification I get when I know that clients are continuing to succeed after they go through the program – that’s what does it. That’s what makes me feel like it’s all worth it,” says Brian. “I watch clients come into the program and see them feel like they’re defeated. But the motivation you see in them, the plans that they’ve developed for success—those are the things that really make me continue to come to work.”