In Recovery Since 8/30/2014
My drug use started at an early age when I was still in the single digits. The drinking and drug use continued into my teen years and by the time I was in my Jr. year, in high school, it became apparent to me that my substance use was not like that of my peers. I remember a moment when I went to the rest room during class. I pulled out my small bottle of alcohol and took drink. In that moment I heard a voice say, “this is not social drinking”, I was 17 years old. My drinking and drug use had caused many issues in my young life, and I knew I did not want that kind of life any longer. About a year and half later I went into treatment and found that life I wanted. Like so many young people who go to treatment, when I got out, I wanted to help others. After working on my recovery for a year, I went away to school. In 1991 I received my BS in Psychology and Alcohol and Drug Studies from Missouri Valley College. I settled in Kansas City and worked in the field of substance use disorders and Behavioral Health. I was working an active recovery program, attending 12 step groups, and was deeply involved in the recovery community. I drifted away from that community and after 12 years of continuous abstinence I returned to drinking. I had the hardest time getting my feet back under myself. I once again got involved in my recovery community and was able to grasp the gift of recovery once again. I had had issues with my knee since I was a teen. Partly due to heredity, partly from running and perhaps falling a few to many times. After my third knee surgery, I was given opioids for pain relief. and once again returned to use. The shame and guilt I felt was hard to hard to bear. I reached out for help and did outpatient counseling. I have a strong recovery program now and am active in my recovery community both professionally and personally. I had been knocked down again, and I got up again I am so thankful to the many people who have been a part of my recovery journey and I cannot believe the life I get to lead. I am grateful to work in the SUD field once again as I thought I had lost that dream forever. I have had people ask me why I give others so many chances. I tell them I will always give people a second chance, even if it is their ninth or tenth-second chance. It does not matter how many times you get knocked down, all that matters is how many times you get up. I am currently the Director of Substance Use Disorder Services at Swope Health, am a Community Research Consultant at The University of Missouri St. Louis, a contracted worker for the Missouri Credentialing Board doing Certified Peer Specialist Training, and I own my own LLC private practice. I am the Vice Chair of the Kansas City Recovery Coalition, and I am a Clinical Social Worker and Licensed in Substance Use Disorder Services. Most importantly I remain active in my own recovery.