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Substance Abuse

Returning Back to School


"I got clean on September 25, 2001, after a long, painful addiction that led me to the point of complete and utter despair. When I made the decision to get clean, I had 2 options-use until I die or get clean. My employer had intervened on me, and, in a moment of clarity, I chose to live. I have not had to use a mind-altering substance since that day.
My recovery journey has been full of twists and turns. I stayed at that job for exactly 2 more years before I made the decision to leave and go back to school. I had started college years before, but my addiction got in the way and I went from a 4.0 student to writing a term paper in crayon and, when questioned by my professor, leaving my education in the rearview window out of a sense of overwhelming shame. I knew at 2 years clean that I needed to complete what I started, and I did. I wound up working for our local hospital for the next 10 years. The longest job I had held prior to that was the one where I used for the first 18 months of my employment and that I quit on my 2-year clean date. I never thought I would be capable of suiting up and showing up every day, on time and ready to work! I learned a lot about myself during that time.
Eventually, that job ended due to outsourcing. I would probably still be there had it not, but I am now grateful that it did. After a couple of years of more schooling (a certificate program mostly for fun) I took a job at a company that was just starting out. They hired me as a peer specialist, working with justice involved individuals with behavioral health issues. I have been at that job for 4 weeks short of 5 years now. I was instrumental in getting the program up and running, and we now have a very strong team and a great name in our community. I absolutely love what I do. I have found the perfect way to help others who are going through difficulties I can completely relate to. I get to see that hope come alive in their eyes when they realize that there really is hope. The lie is dead-we DO recover!"

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