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Nicole - Crystal
Nicole (l) and Crystal share their work from "The Masks" project
which is part of CARS’ Art Therapy program. In sharing their thoughts
about the impact of art therapy on their recovery, Nicole said, "It made
me, me." Crystal said, "It allows me to express myself without words."

Mission Statement

A professional community resource providing caring and effective recovery services dedicated to improving quality of life by promoting individual dignity and respect for all.

Vision Statement

We are the premier providers of innovative recovery services.

Enduring Purpose

We believe in the capacity of people to transform themselves.

2015 Board of Directors

Kenneth Lansing, President
James Sharp, PhD, Vice President
Kris Bennett, Secretary
Michelle Humphries, Treasurer
Jon Hilton
Dale Johnson
Terry O'Pray
LouAnne Giangreco, MD
Richard Gallagher

New Board Members for 2015

Karen Bedell
Keri Blakinger

Bill Rusen
Bill Rusen


We believe in the capacity of people to transform themselves.
-CARS enduring purpose statement

It is all about community


Several CARS clients who helped out at Reynoldsville
UMCs Election Day Dinner

When we think about our work at CARS it really does boil down to just a couple of things. The process of our work is transformation. Moving from the "empty self" state of ad- diction to the fullness of life with all of its wonders and challenges.

However, our work does not and cannot occur in a vacuum. Instead it occurs in communities of all sorts and descriptions. Communities, intentional and unintention- al, are what we live in and it is the quality of those communities that nurture and provide a "growth medium" for us to be- come the people we wish to be. At CARS we deeply respect that we as an organiza- tion also live within a community.

Accepting an award from Reynoldsville
UMC recognizing CARS as a community

This community is CARS' own friends and neighbors as well as the families and friends of those we seek to partner with as we work towards transformation. Pictured here are but a few examples of how we at CARS seek to be part of the many communities that surround us as an organization and as places that our clients live, work and grow.

-Bill Rusen

Transformation through Art

"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance."

Brit and Roman
Brit and Roman at work in the CARS'
Art Therapy program

We started with a group room, a vision, a box of colored pencils and some construction paper. Slowly but surely, the art therapy aspect of the CARS outpatient program is continuing to grow. Now, a quick glimpse into the art room at CARS reveals a collection of client-made neurons and neurotransmitter models hanging from the ceiling, a large collaborative group drawing of a brain on the wall, shelves stocked with a variety of art supplies, and various works in progress stacked in the corner. In the past year, clients who have participated in the art-based groups at CARS have been given an opportunity to reconnect with the valuable inner resource of their own creativity. Many times, the first words someone utters when they walk into the art room is "I'm not an artist" or "I can't even draw a stick figure" - and at the other end of the spectrum are those clients who do not question, but immediately start doing when a lump of clay, a paintbrush, or a blank piece of paper are placed in front of them.

My role as an art therapist is to make space for everyone who is courageous enough to cross the threshold and take those first tentative steps towards rebuilding their lives. As I say each time a new person starts group - the art we make in group isn't meant to be judged, it's just a way to process experiences related to addiction and recovery. And that stick figures can be very expressive! I re- mind group members that no one needs to share anything they are not comfortable sharing, but that we usually leave time at the end of a project to discuss what people have made.

Karen and Tazio
Karen and Tazio at Art Therapy group.
Karen says art therapy is all about,
"Strength, true self, non-judgement,
sharing weakness!"

Then the work begins. When group members are willing to make an investment in the art they create, remarkable things begin to hap- pen. When someone is willing to share what they have made with the group, they are seen, and their stories witnessed, by other group members. The artist/client may gain new perspective on familiar narratives, simply by tapping into the areas of the brain that are un- locked in the creative process. Some directives used in the art room are designed to encourage participants to create tangible evidence of their hopes, dreams, and values. Directives can also provide ways to explore material through hands-on learning, i.e. creating mod- els of neurons and neurotransmitters to understand how substance abuse alters neural pathways, and how the brain can begin to repair this damage in recovery.

As clients explore their emotional lives through art-making processes, they uncover material which at times may challenge them, and which may be at the root of their struggle with addiction. When this oc- curs, they are able to explore the harder material in a safe and supportive environment. This is often at the crux of recovery work, as clients learn to face and accept the complexity of their emotional lives in sobriety. Ultimately, when clients engage in creative processes, they are choosing to begin the process of transforming their lives through self-empowerment. I believe the greatest resources that we possess come from within, and when clients are able to recognize that they possess the skills and strengths to make significant changes in their lives, they have begun to plant themselves more firmly on the path of recovery.

-by Abby Miller with contributions by Bill Rusen

The Miracle of Change


I want to introduce you to a young man named Britt.

Britt grew up right here in Ithaca. He came to CARS be- cause of his addic- tion to alcohol.

"I have been doing very well and I have been attend- ing every group and truly working on myself. I have 132 days sober and I feel wonderful. I was told by somebody that if I don't drink and go to meetings I will be ok. I tried that for years and I could go months on months sober but eventually would have a three day bender because I wasn't changing how I felt about myself. I have al- ways been so hard on myself, I am learning to love myself. I focus on being the best man I can possibly be every day. I am on step 8 with my sponsor and although it is hard looking back at all the wrongs that I have done, it truly is a cleansing process."

"My daughter is one month old and it has been such a wonderful experience, but also having two step daughters that I love like they are my own is a humbling experience. It teaches me to be vulnerable and trust that if I give my love to someone I will not be hurt. It has been a great experience and I truly feel like I have gotten past the point of feeling like I need to have a drink to make myself feel better. I just keep on working hard and doing the next right thing. I just want to be the best husband, dad and give back to my community in life."

Britt's story reminds us of the power and possi- bility of transformation.

by Bill Rusen


2015 financed

Financial Report

Ithaca Alpha House Center, Inc. DBA Cayuga Addiction Recovery Services, is a private, not-for-profit corporation under Section 501c(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and is registered with the Charities Bureau of the NYS Dept. of State. To obtain a copy of our 2015 audited financial statements, please contact:

Cayuga Addiction Recovery Services
Business Office
PO Box 724
Trumansburg, NY 14886


2015 Service Activity

CARS helps out sprucing
up the Jones Cemetery
outside Trumansburg

In 2015 Cayuga Addiction Recovery Services provided three levels of addiction care. They are Outpatient Clinic Services, Outpatient Rehabilitation Services, and Intensive Resi- dential Rehabilitation Services. All CARS' treatment programs are licensed by the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (NYS-OASAS). We are proud to say that all of our treatment programs rest upon the bedrock foundation of evidence based practices. We strive for and seek out best practices in all we do.

In terms of service activity for 2015, our Outpatient Clinic Program and our Outpatient Rehabilitation Program served 886 clients. Finally, our residential facility served 218 cli- ents. We are very proud to say that 2014 saw CARS serve 1104 unique clients with the variety of services within our continuum of care. This represents a 12% increase over 2014. We have also had the privilege to work with many local and regional com- munity partners including Tompkins County Mental Health, Family Treatment Court, Felo- ny Treatment Court, Ithaca City Treatment Court and Challenge Workforce Solutions to make lasting and effective change for the clients we serve.