Keith Lease ’02
Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Social Work
Career: Executive Director of Coulee Council on Addictions
one time, Keith Lease’s life was quite different than it is now. He suffered
from chemical addiction and was no stranger to the local court system.
He woke up one morning at the age of
24 and decided to get clean, starting his life on a much brighter path.
“I kept doing things I regretted,”
he said. “I was suffering from depression, anxiety, and I was having thoughts
Lease went to his first recovery
group meeting that day. He would go for the next 111 days in a row. Clean and
sober at age 26, he enrolled at Viterbo University as an adult student, majoring
in social work.
"What I liked best about Viterbo were the small class
sizes and the close relationships I had with my advisor and the social work
faculty,” Lease said. “Returning to school was intimidating, but I was able to
sit down with my advisor and develop an academic plan. That made me comfortable
and confident in the direction I was going and in my ability to succeed. My close
relationship with the faculty was also very important to me.”
Lease worked several years as a substance abuse
counselor before becoming the executive director of Coulee Council on
Addictions, a non-profit outpatient substance abuse clinic, in November 2012. Over
17,000 people utilized the agency’s services in 2012, and it is on pace to
greatly eclipse that number in 2013.
One highlight of his career so far sticks with him, finding
an 18-month sobriety key tab in his mailbox with a note reading, “I couldn’t
have done this without you.”
“The Viterbo social work program laid the foundation
for all that I do here,” he said.