What inspired you to become an addiction counselor?
When I was completing my bachelor’s degree I was working with adolescent girls. I had no desire to work in addictions until I had the opportunity to work on a residential treatment unit for dual diagnosis, active duty military. (Which is rather funny because now I have no desire to work with adolescent girls.) Through this experience, I developed a passion to work with addiction and decided to further my education in the field of addiction counseling. The many components of addiction counseling and watching change occur really helped me to decide that I wanted to be an addiction counselor.
What makes The Ridge unique?
The Ridge has hands down been my most favorite place to work. Our small team comes together in so many ways to provide top-quality care for clients. In recovery, clients need to develop a connection with their counselor and peers. The Ridge’s 16-bed capacity allows for clients to gain a sense of family which provides continued support beyond discharge. Our aftercare programming and Alumni events provide a further connection to those in recovery which gives hope for those early in recovery.
How does a person’s family help in recovery?
Family is crucial in recovery. Family helps to provide the client with the love, structure, and encouragement they need. As a family member, attending Al-anon is a MUST. Learning about how to handle situations and reduce enabling will contribute to your loved one’s recovery.
Do you have any books you recommend people in recovery read?
Anything Brené Brown. If you’re not a reader, she has a Ted Talk and Netflix video. I use a lot of her concepts (vulnerability especially) to apply to groups and individual sessions. She is very inspirational and relatable! This is not just for people in recovery either, this is for anyone!
How do you define success as a counselor?
To sum it up, giving it all you’ve got. Success looks so different from one person to the next. I also live by the motto that it’s all about progress, not perfection. Just because the day wasn’t perfect doesn’t mean you weren’t successful. You can learn from bad days, give it all you’ve got and not have any regrets about it.
What are 3 words your friends/family would use to describe you?
Determined, compassionate, and sassy. Directly from 2 of my best friends!
Talk about what “recovery” for a client means for you?
To me, recovery shouldn’t be viewed as easy. The recovery process is not just 30 days of treatment. It is rehabilitating your relationships, building a support network, challenging negative and addictive thoughts, making lifestyle changes and working a recovery program (AA/NA/Celebrate Recovery/SMART Recovery). Having someone fully engaged in the recovery process, seeing someone struggle and then they overcome those challenges is the most rewarding thing as a counselor. It means they’ve taken the tools and overcome something that they wouldn’t have done in the past.