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Career question

Old 03-14-2010, 09:00 AM
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Career question

Hello all..

I found this forum by looking up careers. I'm a junior in high school and have presently been considering a career in a rehab facility, or at least social work in general. I've learned about different positions and such, but have a question after reading some topics in this forum.

I've never done any kind of drug or drank anything but church wine and am not really close personal friends with anyone who has been in an addiction. My inspiration comes from solely movies (I know that sounds horrible to say..) and family friends' stories as well as posts from this site.

But before I start taking classes on this subject, I want your opinion of if it's too out-of-the-blue since I have no real close personal experience, and if it's even fair to try helping people when I haven't ever truly experienced what they're going through.

I'm still reading up all that I can about this subject, and only feel more passionately about a career of this sort every time I learn something new. Have always loved helping people, and being able to assist a group of people no one else seems to really understand and for the most part look down upon like they mean to do what they do, I'd really feel it would be an honor.

I guess I'm basically wondering if the fact this comes from no personal experience is viewed as unfair to people who have gone through something like this and continue to do so..?

Thank you for your time in reading this
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Old 03-14-2010, 09:17 AM
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Ann
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Liz, we're not career counselors here, and don't know what is right for you.

But I can say that I worked in a rehab for a couple of years and it was one of the most rewarding jobs I ever held. My son is an addict, I work my own 12-step program for codependents, and I had about 10 years recovery before I took this position. I don't think I could have done it well with less than that.

That said, the executive director had no addiction experience personally, but had a degree specializing in mental health. He offered a good balance and was a good source of knowledge because addiction and mental health are so closely connected.

What may help you decide would be perhaps do some volunteer work at a detox facility or rehab, and talk to the staff there about their backgrounds and experience.

Good luck in your career, whatever you choose.
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Old 03-14-2010, 09:44 AM
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My 2... I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do when I was a high school junior, and I couldn't have been more wrong. (Then again, it turned out I was an alkie and had to get my act together before trying to finish college... I'll have my degree by the time I'm 27, though). I'd be careful locking myself into a career I had very little personal experience with, especially one that deals with such rawness. Mental health degrees will always be an asset in the AODA field... Maybe go towards something like that, take a few abnormal psych classes, ask around at detox/rehab facilities to see if you can volunteer or shadow?

From the perspective of someone who's gone through a rehab facility, I have to say that it's a bit of a mixed bag. Being an addict myself, I naturally distrust all addicts. So being a normie could be an asset for you in that respect. On the other hand, I really did feel most comfortable talking to counselors who were recovered addicts themselves. I didn't feel like I was being judged, because they'd been where I was.

Kudos to you for wanting to go into a career like that -- it's definitely not something I would want to do. It'd be an emotionally taxing environment, but you'd also be helping people take back their lives.

(TL;DR: Make sure it's something you do want to go into, but if you're sure, power to you!)
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Old 03-14-2010, 10:03 AM
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my own personal opinion.

no i do think you need to experience addiction to have a career in counselling or social care/services.

But i would say step out of the class room for a deeper understanding other than the theory..

Get some volentary work with a homeless shelter....or salvation army.
detox ward....
a broad spectrum of experience as well as the study.....
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Old 03-14-2010, 10:19 AM
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Liz,
Smart choice to do some investigation and to come to the source when making a career decision. I am a recovered alcoholic and a counselor by trade & training. I was sober several years before I started working in an inpatient treatment facility. Since then I have worked in outpaitient and DWI facilities. I have a Masters degree in rehabiliation counseling, and that qualifies me to work with any number of disabling conditions: Substance abuse, mental health, developmental, and physical. By far the most rewarding job was working inpatient substance abuse. Unfortunately, it is very insurance driven, and sometimes the patient census dwindles. That could mean lay-offs or furloughs, so job security is something to consider. It can also be a thankless job, so I think it is important to do it because you have a pssion for it. If you begin to measure your job satisfaction by the number of people who are successful in sobriety, you might be disappointed. I had to learn to detach, to know I had done what was reasonable for the right reasons. A question that people in human services should always ask: Whose needs am I meeting?
I think that passion and compassion are more important than having been an addict. Someone else mentioned getting some "hands on" experience through volunteerism, and I think that is a very good idea. At the very least, you seem to have a general idea of your career direction. Degrees in social work, mental health, psychology--especially Masters degrees---can open any number of doors for you. Good luck, and I hope we have helped.
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Old 03-14-2010, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Liz24601 View Post
Hello all..

I found this forum by looking up careers. I'm a junior in high school and have presently been considering a career in a rehab facility, or at least social work in general. I've learned about different positions and such, but have a question after reading some topics in this forum.

I've never done any kind of drug or drank anything but church wine and am not really close personal friends with anyone who has been in an addiction. My inspiration comes from solely movies (I know that sounds horrible to say..) and family friends' stories as well as posts from this site.

But before I start taking classes on this subject, I want your opinion of if it's too out-of-the-blue since I have no real close personal experience, and if it's even fair to try helping people when I haven't ever truly experienced what they're going through.

I'm still reading up all that I can about this subject, and only feel more passionately about a career of this sort every time I learn something new. Have always loved helping people, and being able to assist a group of people no one else seems to really understand and for the most part look down upon like they mean to do what they do, I'd really feel it would be an honor.

I guess I'm basically wondering if the fact this comes from no personal experience is viewed as unfair to people who have gone through something like this and continue to do so..?

Thank you for your time in reading this
Does a good heart doctor need heart problems to be a good doctor?
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Old 03-14-2010, 03:05 PM
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Wow, thank you all so much for all the great responses! Honestly cannot thank you enough for your ideas! I will definitely be on the hunt for places to volunteer/shadow at, especially now that summer is coming up. You all brought up good points as well. Thank you for not making me feel like a hypocritical 'helper' either. Was really worried I would have to drop this whole thing because of that...^^;; But hearing it from the inside from all of you was Amazing, so thank you greatly!
And Spawn, you're question really got me thinking....Very good point you have!

Love to all..!
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Old 03-14-2010, 03:35 PM
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hi Liz24601

Welcome to SR - I'm in my 40s and still not really sure what I want to do, so maybe I'm not the one to ask...LOL

Seriously, I think Ann's idea is a great one tho - do some volunteering...if it is your vocation, you'll soon know it

I wish you the very best in wherever your choices lead you
D
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