by Paul Ferrell
The addictions profession or vocation is a calling. I did not have a desire to become one, nor did the thought ever occur that I could be an addictions professional. In 1987, I was sitting at a Narcotic Anonymous table when someone told me I should consider it. I laughed and never gave it another thought until this same person, an addictions counselor himself, suggested it again. Having lived in the grip of addiction for 16 years, and now recovering, I was compelled to share that experience with others in the hope that they too would find recovery.
How has your career choice affected you and what keeps you going to work each day?
Again, I don’t think that one chooses to be an addiction professional. Who in their right mind would want to go to work each day wrestling through the lies, manipulation, resistance, and denial that is all too common in the population we serve? Who wants to daily witness the suffering and all too often death of those very same ones? I think for those that stick with it, it is a calling. It is warfare and just as the soldier on the front line lays down his life for a greater calling than his own life, so is the way of an addiction professional.
My life has been in a perpetual state of change. In order to remain empathetic, we have to recognize that we all experience addiction in our own lives in some form or fashion. Understanding that we are all experiencing life at various stages of change is what has affected me the most.
We fight the good fight and leave the results in the hands of God, that’s what keeps me coming to work everyday.