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Wendy Caldwell
Clinical Development Officer
Asked a question 2 years ago

I want to go back to school to be a drug counselor. I've been sober a couple weeks and I think I would make a great counselor. Any suggestions?

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Thank you so much for reminding this "old timer" (that is someone who doesn't drink or use and gets old) about how wonderful and exhilarating those first days were.  In many ways I am jealous of the experiences you are now having.  Stay the course, there is much more joy ahead of you.  At the same time, may I humbly suggest that you are experiencing feelings and thoughts for the first time in a long time without the haze of substances or, perhaps, for the first time in your life.  Perhaps your awareness is a flood of thoughts and feelings.  Enjoy the joy of figuring this all out and who you are and how you will shape these matters.  At the same time, it will take a little bit to figure that all out and as you do your views and thoughts and feelings and interests will evolve.  Above all continue this good habit of sharing, sometimes in public (like on Stay Clean) and sometimes privately (like with  sponsor or a loved one or a minister or counselor).  To the career in helping addicts, first I imagine you would be wonderful at that task; you certainly have the spirit and experience.  Second, bluntly, I bet a very high percentage of newly recovering, newly spirited folks have this thought.  Third, if that passion persists over several weeks and months then by all means pursue that thought.  In a country with 30 million addicts and 3 million treatment slots we can use all the help we can get.  Until then have patience with yourself and the process.  I know you do not like hearing that (I didn't) but take it from someone way down the road, it was and is good advice. Congratulations.  Do not give it all back by drinking or using.

Wendy Caldwell
Clinical Development Officer

There's a saying in recovery....."First things First." I admire your passion for recovery and the desire to give back, however it is important to have a firm foundation in recovery before embarking on such a challenging career. As a person in long term recovery and a drug counselor, I can tell you that it was totally necessary for me to have a grasp on my personal recovery. The commitment and the energy it takes to address the needs of the recovering population can be emotionally draining therefore you will need to know how to handle various high/lows of recovery. Early recovery is an emotional roller coaster and as you develop coping strategies and "Stay Clean" you will learn tools that will help you in your career. So give yourself some time before you take on another major life change- staying clean is a huge major life change and requires your utmost attention. Consistency is the name of the game and as you stay clean you can commit yourself to helping others recover. Before you know it you will be ready, able and willing to take on any career you so choose.