›› How Do You Work With Those People?

        by Carrie Kulinski

Many people ask me what I do for a living. When I tell them I am a Alcohol and Drug Counselor, I get two different responses. Some folks respond with gratitude, others respond with a gasp and say "How do you work with those people?"

I'm not sure who they think "those people" are. I simply respond, "I work with good people that have disease and sometimes it makes them do
crazy things."

I have found some AODA counselors who will not work with adolescent clients, I felt that way once, too. Now they are my primary clientele. I work for a large school district in southern Wisconsin.

Moving from the treatment setting to a school setting was difficult. We are not allowed to do "treatment" in schools. I mostly meet with students to do ATODA consults, screenings, brief interventions, and teach drug and alcohol prevention curriculum.

I have found that working in prevention offers more hope than working with late stage alcoholics or addicts. I often wonder if I'm making any kind of impact on these kids. Then I meet a former student in the community that thanks me for helping them when they needed it, or I get a call from a student asking for help. I often tell my students that I am here to give them the information, and what they do with that information is up to them. Maybe they are not ready to quit drugs or alchol yet, but it sure gets them thinking!

Education is our investment in the future, prevention is also our investment in the future. I love working with "those people", I would not change my job for the world.


Visit Hazelden's Online Recovery Bookstore