John Cates is an expert at helping to cope, heal, and recover from substance abuse problems. John is world renown as a therapist, author, speaker, and designer of successful schools, inpatient and outpatient treatment programs.

John has spoken to audiences as far flung as Moscow, Bulgaria, Canada and Mexico. In addition, he has addressed audiences ranging from the medical staff at Scripps Hospital in San Diego, to the national SAMHSA and CSAT staffs in Washington D.C., to kindergarten classes.

John is the recipient of multiple awards, the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) named John their Counselor of The Year for 2001. In addition to other honors over the years, John recently was the recipient of the Jim Czarnecki Community Impact Award from the Association of Recovery Schools and was inducted into the Houston Chapter of the Texas Association of Addiction Professionals (TAAP) Hall of Fame in 2016.

Having a master’s degree in counseling; he is the co-author of “Recovering Our Children,” and the paper coining the term ‘Alternative Peer Group Programs,’ presented at the national convention of NAADAC.

He is the founder of Lifeway International, a substance abuse Alternative Peer Group (APG) program serving families across the nation for over 31 years.  In 1976, John also founded the first free standing recovery school.  John has specialized in creating sober schools; offering students a safe place to learn and heal in a chemical-free supportive environment. In addition, John has designed programs implementing intervention and supportive substance abuse services in public school systems starting with Fort Bend Independent School District in 1977.

One of the most influential therapists in his field, John is a recovering heroin addict. Married for 36 years with two children, he has been clean and sober for 40 years and knows first-hand what it takes to live a successful drug-free life.