›› Getting the Most Out of the Journey of Therapeutic Recovery

        by Pat Sanora

There is a complete satisfaction in the work that I do on a weekly basis, in my private practice, as a certified alcohol and drug counselor and a licensed marriage and family therapist. I realize that because my expertise lies in the addiction arena, I am going to be paid less than if I focused my counseling and therapy on another population. As we realize, many alcoholics and drug addicts “max out”, financially, as well as emotionally
and socially. I would not have it any other way!

The work can be demanding and potentially harmful if one does not take care of the self along the way. When I first sat for my oral examination to become a counselor in 1982, in Hollywood, California, I was told, “Pat, you will be a creditable counselor, if you go to Alanon!” I listened to that suggestion and have heeded that advice since 1982 when I was first certified through our CAADAC organization.

I recommend that all of my students in the Alcohol Drug Studies Program at Glendale Community College go to Alanon if they choose to become certified counselors and pursue a career in the chemical-dependency profession. We must take care of ourselves if we are to continue to enjoy our work. As we know, the rate of recidivism is great in outpatient and inpatient treatment programs. It is my personal opinion that part of this results in the inability of the counselor to address and correct counter transference issues. As role models, we must display a willingness to grow in this profession and to embrace new concepts. We must bring both feet into the 21st Century! As a 72-year old person, I am constantly stretching and opening my mind so that I do not get “stuck.”

As I continue my exciting journey through life and work with people who are afflicted with the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction, I am rewarded when someone makes a fulfilling life change into recovery. What can be better than that? I believe that the key to happily staying in this profession for over 20 years is taking care of myself so that I can take care of others. I love going to the CAADAC conferences and choose to go to those rather than the marriage and family conferences where they barely offer workshops on the area that I am most interested in. I recently attended and volunteered at the combination CAADAC/NAADAC Conference in Burbank, California which provided me with a “high” that I am still operating on.

I recommend that everyone join their certifying organizations and become involved. It will give you a boost of energy everytime!


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