Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash


Darrin Acker

Executive Director of Communities for Recovery

Darrin Acker joined the staff of Communities for Recovery(CforR) in June of 2014 as Grants Manager, moving up to Program Manager, then Executive Director in 2019. Darrin played an instrumental role in the growth of CforR, as well as in the expansion of peer recovery supports and services incentral Texas.  He assisted CforR insuccessfully achieving their second Joint Commission Accreditation, as well as getting an Exemplary Accreditation from the Counsel on Accreditation of Peer RecoverySupport Services in 2019. CforR also received the Joel Hernandez Voice of Recovery Community Award in 2018.  Darrin holds true to the values and mission of CforR and believes strongly that recovery is possible for all who seek it.

Darrin began his work life at age 9 on his family farm in Southern Iowa. This experience laid the foundation for his professional career.  In particular,  raising pigs taught him that a problem ignored or avoided today will usually result in a bigger and messier problem tomorrow! The farm crisis of the 80’s also taught him that hard work doesn’t always result in success- sometimes accepting failure, regrouping and try something new is the only course of action left. Darrin states it best; “In the end, it’s not always about what you do, but your attitude as you do it.”

He has twenty years of experience providing direct care and program management services for community-based human services agencies. He provided psycho-social rehabilitative services to individuals with mental health and substance use diagnoses at Blue Bonnet Trails Community Services and played a pivotal role in implementing their recovery-based peer program. In addition, his work history brings a broad array of experience and expertise, including managing an HIV/AIDS case management and outreach program, a juvenile substance abuse prevention program and helping establish a residential treatment program for women leaving prostitution.

Highlights of his career include working for Volunteers of America Minnesota helping with the day-to-day operations of their correctional services programs. At this job Darrin’s boss was often quoted as saying, “They’re here as punishment not for punishment.” Treating everyone with respect and dignity was fundamental. Darrin helped develop and implement employment services and a class on Aggression Replacement Therapy. He also had the opportunity to help work in the community to start an alternative school for at-risk-youth, a long-term residential treatment program for survivors of prostitution, and draft plan for supportive housing for the treatment program graduates.

Darrin currently lives in Georgetown, TX, with his wife, Bethni, and their son, Max, along with their dogs, Odie and Fergus. He enjoys gardening, woodworking projects and walking his dogs.

Ben Gray Bass

Executive Director, El Paso Alliance, Inc.

Ben Bass is the Executive Director of the Recovery Alliance of El Paso. Mr. Bass is in recovery and began at the Alliance as a volunteer. He has been director of the Alliance since May 2002 and has led the management team in a successful membership drive, organizing and mobilizing the recovery community, community assessments, development and delivery of peer-based recovery support services and financial stability. Mr. Bass is the administrator of the El Paso Alliance, Inc., a 501 [c] 3 corporation. He is the chief executive of the corporation and is currently operating contracts with theState of Texas to deliver peer recovery support services for people seeking help for opioid use disorders. The Alliance has successfully completed four federal SAMHSA grants. The Alliance operates a peer run residential recovery facility that serves individuals exiting homelessness and others who wish to recover and guides them into the recovery community through immersion in the culture of recovery.  

Mr. Bass is a Recovery Advocate in service to people seeking recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction. He is the current vice president of the board of the El Paso Coalition for the Homeless; a former member of the board of directors of Faces and Voices of Recovery in Washington, DC; is on the Advisory Board of the South by Southwest Addiction Technology Transfer Center at the University of Texas at Austin; served as the director of the Recovery Coalition of El Paso; on the Social Service Advisory Board for Centro De Salud La Fé; is a current member of the Intergroup Committee of El Paso; served as the president of the board of El Paso Alliance; as a member of the board of the West Texas Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse; El Paso’s Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Panel To End Chronic Homelessness In 10 Years; as a board member of the Recovery Coalition of Texas, and the Texas Department of State Health Service’s Texas Recovery Initiative task force member. Mr. Bass published in 2009 in Family Community Health Journal an article called Faith Based Programs and Their Influence on Homelessness. In 2011 Mr. Bass was honored at the White House as a Presidential Champion of Change for this work. Mr. Bass has led the development and execution of a five-point plan for sustainability for the corporation. He is the sole employee of the board of directors and reports to them on a monthly basis. Prior to becoming director, he was a board member. He has experience in advertising, marketing, technology, business planning and consulting and in the operation of a small business. Mr. Bass has lived in El Paso, Texas since 1963.

Eric Broughton

Eric Bruce Broughton has been in recovery since October 1993. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Tyler Winners Circle and is also a Board Member and Co-Chair of the Winners Circle Peer Support Network of Texas Inner Board. In addition, he is the Executive Director of the Tyler Winners Circle Peer Support Network. The Winners Circle was established in the 1990’s as a peer support and peer-driven network of men and women returning to their communities after completing substance abuse rehabilitation in an in-prison therapeutic community program and community-based therapeutic transitional center. The men and women completing the therapeutic community treatment modality discovered that they are their brothers’ keeper and established the Winners Circle to help other releases in their reintegration and recovery.

He also served for 3 years on the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s Council for Advising and Planning for the Prevention and Treatment of Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders.

He is active in faith-based recovery and serves as Co-Coordinator of the North Tenneha Church of Christ Overcomers Support Ministry in Tyler. In addition, he serves as a Substance Abuse and Chaplaincy Volunteer for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.  He is aTDCJ Certified Recovery Coach and Trainer, a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor, A Board Certified Therapon Counselor, a Mentor for the 321st Family Drug Court and a Certified Recovery Coach.

Eric has his Associate of Applied Science, majoring in Human Services – Addiction Counseling. He currently works at the TDCJ Johnson’s SAFPF Unit in Winnsboro, Texas.

Joe Powell

Executive Director, Association of Persons Affected by Recovery

Joe Powell is in long term recovery with thirty-one year’s free of alcohol and other drugs. A family member of 7 brothers and 1 sister who experience addiction and mental health challenges. Joe is the President/CEO of APAA-Association of Persons Affected by Addiction in Dallas, a recovery community organization that provides peer-to-peer integrated mental health and addiction recovery support services for individuals, family members, and the community. Mr. Powell is a licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor for over 25 years. His accomplishments with APAA includes:

  • The first Peer Recovery Community Organization in Texas funded in 1998 by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
  • APAA holds a National Accreditation for Peer Recovery Support Services.
  • Initiation support and trainer for Collegiate Recovery Programs (CRP) at University of North Texas (UNT) and Eastfield College.
  • Peer advocacy for passing of House Bill 1486, Peer Medicaid-Reimbursement.
  • Chairman of the Peer Committee for Texas Certification Board (TCB) 2020.
  • Trainer of Trainers for APAA Training Entity and Certified Peer Specialists.
  • Started the first African American NAMI Chapter in Texas in 2001.
  • In 2003, Advocate of National Faces and Voices of Recovery in Washington DC.
  • Since 2002, provided first Peer services in Divert, Drug, Re-entry, STAC, Veteran Courts, and Community Court in South Dallas.
  • Implemented the first APAA Recovery POD (63 men) in Lew Sterrett Jail.
  • In 2019, Initiated the naming and grand opening of the first “Dr. Louis E. Deere Behavioral Health Complex” and essential (COVID-19) crisis and forensic supports at North Texas Behavioral Health Authority “Living Room” in Texas.
  • Served as the President of the National Leadership Council on African American Behavioral health (NLC).
  • Member of the Southwest Addiction Technology Transfer Centers Regional Advisory Council (SWATTC).
  • Governor appointment, on the Rehabilitation Council of Texas (RCT).
  • Chair of the largest Big Texas Rally for Recovery in 2016 & 2019.
  • Recipient of the Central Texas African American Family Support Conference, Rep. Garnet Coleman Eternal Flame Award, (February 2020).

Joe Powell is originally from Harlem N.Y.C., performed as a tap dancer with his 2 older brothers and Dad for 15 years. Joe is a Servant leader, lifelong learner, Innovator and Initiator of Telehealth peer recovery support services and a national subject matter expert in the Peer recovery movement.

Dr. Eden Robles

Dr. Eden Hernandez Robles has a background in social work, with training on qualitative research methods, health services and service user evaluations, and qualitative data analysis with an emphasis on alcohol health related disparities with Latinos. She is interested in treatment seeking experiences and health service practices towards a recovery-oriented system of care.

As a research associate on several university- and NIH-funded grants, she has laid the groundwork for the proposed research grant by investigating the social, cultural, and other psycho social factors relevant to Latinos on the US/Mexico Border. In addition, she is serving as a co-investigator successfully administering follow-up research projects (e.g. the experience of change associated with alcohol recovery) by collaborating with other researchers, and community members.

She currently serves as the co-convener for the Paso del Norte Recovery Oriented System of Care (ROSC)in El Paso. As co-convener, she has helped lead the strategic vision of the ROSC through professional guidance and mentorship.In addition, she serves on the Board of Directors of the Recovery Alliance,Inc. in El Paso.

Dillon West

Dillon West is the founding Executive Director of the Center for Recovery and Wellness Resources in Houston, Texas. He has been in long term recovery since 1992.  He has been a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor for 19 years and has a proven track record as a Certified Criminal Justice Professional (CCJP). He was among the first graduates of the Texas Treatment Initiative Program endorsed by the late Governor of Texas, Ann Richards. Upon graduating the program, he became a member of Winners Circle Peer Network, a recovery support group.

The Winners Circle’s Peer Support Network was designed to assist formerly incarcerated individuals re-enter into society, serving as a recovery vehicle for the community. After serving as Chairman over the 20 Winners Circle Chapters across Texas for 8 years, Dillon became the Program Director for the Houston Chapter. One of the organization’s primary focuses is mentoring and coaching individuals in the community with substance use disorders.

Dillon has served for 5 years as a trainer for peer recovery support in the Houston community and is the chairperson of the Houston Recovery Support Center peer recovery support workgroup. Establishing Peer-to-Peer recovery models has become his passion. These trainings provide coaching skills to both professionals as well as non-professionals. One of his favorite mottos is “In order to keep it, you must give it away.”  His main desire is to reach all communities throughout the city of Houston and surrounding areas by providing recovery coach training and enhancing recovery support services.