My current job title is Recovery Support Peer Specialist (RSPS), Mental Health Peer Specialist (MHPS). My current job position is Program Supervisor for Recovery Residences for Emerging Adults program at a nonprofit organization called Recovery Alliance of El Paso. My hobbies include autobiography, article and creative writing, cooking, and being in nature (either camping or mountain hiking). I am single with no children. I would love to have a furry companion in my future, but I would need to be able to devote time and attention to care for them in a way that they deserve. This is not the right moment.
I am very passionate about spreading the message of hope in recovery from mental health challenges and substance misuse. I celebrated two years clean and sober on 10/01/2022, and I am currently living a life I never could have imagined for myself. Living with a purpose, being loved and supported by my family, and the level of happiness I’ve been blessed with isn’t reserved just for me or just for a few. Recovery exists for anyone who is willing to dig deep and do some hard work. Recovery, for me, is self-acceptance and being honest with myself. It’s forgiving myself and others of the past, and not defining myself by my mistakes but growing from them. Above all, recovery is about walking in my Higher Power’s will for me, doing the work, and having faith that whatever unfolds is meant for me. I became a Peer Specialist to guide others out of the darkness. I lean on my lived experience hoping I may shed light on another person’s path during their walk of recovery.
I am a proud GED recipient. I briefly attended El Paso Community College before enlisting in the United States Air Force. I pursued education for drug and alcohol counselor related roles because, in my experience, substance misuse and mental health challenges go hand-in-hand. This was certainly the case for me and many of the people I’ve served since beginning employment at peer-run recovery centers operated by the Recovery Alliance of El Paso. I grew a passion for helping others better understand the origins of their addictive behaviors, so that they may put the pieces of their past together and move forward in life and prosper.
I chose ATI for my educational needs because of the superior reputation they have in my community of recovery and addiction professionals. When I explored my options of programs for addictions counseling, many colleagues across my home state of Texas praised ATI for their amazing level of care they received from staff and instructors alike. From the very first phone call I had with admissions staff, I felt comfortable and very well attended to as an individual. This was very important to me because of the insecurities I had about going back to school after over two decades. The instructors continued this attitude of friendliness, patience, and availability to answer questions or concerns I had. ATI is simply a stellar group of compassionate people.
What I like most about studying at ATI is how readily available the instructors are when I have questions about anything at all. I always get responses to emails within a 24-hour time period, and they have not made me feel as though any question was a waste of their time. I also really enjoy how instructors give plenty of time during virtual lectures to fully discuss the learning material amongst students. It feels no different from an in-person classroom!
Virtual learning has removed many obstacles as a person who works a full-time job that also requires my time and attention for participants of my program outside of work hours. The convenience of attending class lectures, and completing homework and quizzes online, anywhere I have computer access, is an amazing value of being enrolled with ATI.
I plan to become a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor in my home state of Texas with my ATI certification, and continue serving individuals seeking refuge from substance misuse and mental health challenges at a higher level. What I love most about my job is that I feel as though I’m on the “front lines” of recovery. Walking alongside individuals in the first few months of their recovery, helping them to understand that they don’t need to feel ashamed, or imprisoned by the wreckage of their past, and assuring them they are no longer alone in their battle has been the greatest joy and privilege of my life.
My education will improve what I do by helping others to understand the full story of their life dealing with co-occurring substance use and psychiatric disorders (COPSD). I would like to be there for them to explore the “before”, and “during” chapters of their addiction. I would also like to be there for them as they decide what comes next in a life broken free from substance misuse and mental health challenges. I have faith that, once I complete my certification with ATI and receive my LCDC licensure in my state, I will become more marketable to the recovery field as a higher education addictions professional.
My career goals for the future are to remain willing and open-minded to the places having a drug and alcohol counselor certification may take me. This has a lot to do with my walk with my Higher Power, and allowing myself to be put in places where I have faith I am doing the most good in serving my recovery community. Wherever that may be. I plan to continue my education because of the wonderful experience going back to school ATI has provided me. I am so blessed to have ATI be a part of this chapter in my life.