›› It Happened by Accident

       by Margaret E. Martin

How did I get into the field? By accident -- by serendipity -- by the will of my Higher Power.

My first husband had just left me with our three children. I had finished graduate school, and, therefore, my graduate assistanceship. A graduate school colleague, who was director of patient services at a local hospital, called me and told me she had a postion that was perfect for me: a domestic violence/addiction specialist to work out of the addiction treatment center in her hospital. I needed a job; they needed my credentials.

Ten days after I started training in my new position, the staff went to the Medical Director and told him that, although I was apparently not drinking, I was an alcoholic in need of treatment. He gave me the MAST. I lied and scored 36. I wound up in treatment at the treatment center where I had just been hired as a counselor.

A year after completing treatment, I was back working there as an outpatient counselor, and fell in love with the field. That was almost 25 years ago. I have worked in inpatient and residential treatment centers, and in a state correctional facility for men.

How do I stay? I'm a double winner -- AA/NA and AlAnon. What keeps me coming in every morning? I learned early that I needed to fill my cup of spirituality outside of my workplace, and bring it full. I spend at least an hour in meditation, spiritual reading and prayer before work every day. I go to meetings, at least 4 per week. I have lots of creative interests, from knitting to voice acting.


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