Why Do I Want to Become a Drug and Alcohol Counselor
As I sit back and reflect on why I started, never in my life as a little girl did I imagine or dream that life would come to this or that I would be driven by pain, anger, disaster and loss. Life as a child born to two alcoholic addicts that struggled with Mental Health Illnesses that stemmed from Post Traumatic Stress disorder and Complex PTSD. My parents include my father a Marine Veteran who never received treatment post discharge and learned early on how to cope with life, emotions and PTSD with alcohol, illicit drugs and violent outbursts and verbal abuse, my mother a victim of severe childhood sexual abuse and trauma, and domestic violence learned to cope with the trauma with substances and formed a severe alcohol dependency and abuse, eventually became addicted to opiates finally resulting in her overdosing. I knew early on the impact that it had on not only my siblings but on my family as a whole, the absence of both parents forced me as a child to assume the role of an adult and the primary caregiver, the parent. Effortlessly trying to adapt, provide and protect my siblings from the exposure to unacceptable living standards. Living in constant fear of being in unhealthy environments, observing high risk behaviors from both parents, being a victim of my mother getting into an accident from her drunk driving. As I feared from early childhood, an accident occurred, and Mom never got better, only worse. The accident resulted in the death of a childhood friend. Living through my parents' divorce, lacking an unstable home, not knowing where I belonged, and being neglected as a child lead to normalization of instability, utilizing substances as a way to cope with life as life presented. With lack of guidance and direction I sought comfort in men, gangs and illicit substances until I became pregnant at the age of 15. giving birth to a son at the age of 16. Then a mother of 2 by the age of 18, the pressure of being a single mother because my children's father went to prison as he struggled with substance abuse and criminal activity became his way of life. I was then left to raise two children alone, no education, lack of understanding of self-worth, guidance and now having to face the consequence of poor choices and now drag these children through it. I attempted to do the best I could to get an apartment in the worst city and highly dangerous environment; I went to school to receive a vocational certificate in an attempt to provide for my children. I obtained a position at the local blood bank, getting injured on the job I was prescribed Norco. I quickly became addicted and realized that I received my death certificate and gladly accepted it when I took the first prescription. The path that life took caused destruction, I gave birth to a child under the influence of Methadone, as he struggled and went through withdrawal at birth that still wasn't enough for me to stop. The addiction had me and I was out of control. I wasn't offered or even introduced to any other form of treatment at that time. So life went in a downward spiral, and I quickly went through loss after loss, I once a highly motivated and ambitious young woman determined to break the cycle, became a part of the cycle. Life of criminal activity, children loss to the system, homelessness, severe domestic violence, being kidnapped, observing and experiencing women being trafficked enslaved to drug addiction as a direct result to numbing the pain and trauma, reality of what life had become, I didn't know how to deal with reality, socialize or deal with pain. After years of this insanity, a complete mudslide into the abyss while digging into a deeper trench than most could ever return from, becoming a "loss cause" after becoming my mother and father in one although I hated it and yet at my darkest , lowest point I found peace as I begged God to help me, guide me and direct my steps, give me understanding to the purpose in my life. Well, he did and on a journey that would be far from easy. It required me to lay everything on the wayside and work on myself with counselors, SUD counselors, Therapists, spiritual counselors to attempt this fight for life. I was forced to look at who I was, who I am and who I could become. I lost my mother, grandmother and the pain that I felt again of not being enough for her to fight for her life, I had to gain understanding as to how to heal and beat this disease of addiction, I did not want my children to feel the pain that I felt nor did I want them to question if they are worth it. I needed to give this my all. I began my journey in a mental hospital, I detoxed and begged the social worker to place me into treatment. I went to residential, then to sober living and began to work in the field. Learning as much as I could about addiction, mental health, trauma and most importantly, healing. I fell in love with recovery and realized that sometimes people just need one person to believe in them and draw out the greatness within them, work through, counsel and guide them through and they can and will begin to believe in themself again. I gained so much knowledge and experience, working in homeless shelters, detox, residential, outpatient treatment and learning so many different approaches, it gave me an opportunity to work in this field and become successful. Over the past 5 years I have been a part of so many people's recovery, I learned about diverse cultures and how addiction can affect anyone but more importantly how to work with and meet people right where they are yet be a part of their journey back to life. I have this gift of nurturing, inspiring and this is why I want to be a drug and alcohol counselor. I want to be able to work with individuals and help them get on track before they experience the loss I have had to.