Wednesday, April 11, 2007

An Idea

First, I am giving myself kudos for waiting until now to blog! Yay self-control!

Second, what if I decided to take some classes to become a substance abuse counselor? I seem to have a great affinity for addicts, and I also seem very interested in addiction. It might help me feel like I'm doing something good for the world.

I love my current job, but occasionally I have these useless fits of guilt because I don't feel like I'm giving anything back. I'm kind of a hippy. I feel guilty that my work is so self-indulgent. I write about things that are interesting, beautiful, and useless. It might be good for me to have a skill that I can use to help people.

I'm currently writing an article about a woman who, after her own struggle with addiction, became a substance abuse counselor and now works at the clinic where she got clean. I thought that the work might be really interesting, and my current job is flexible enough that I could go to school for a while and also eventually work a part time job in addition to doing what I do here.

I know the substance abuse counselors at the methadone clinic where we were going for a while worked only really early in the mornings, so maybe I could do something like that. I'm going to look into it! Yay school! The classes at the community college aren't so expensive, and maybe I could teach a class in addition to pay some of the tuition.

Oh, I love new schemes!


Dr_House said...

Hi J. Wife,
I linked to your site from the CL recovery forum. You might have read some of my unflattering comments about addiction counselors on that forum. From my perspective, the training to become an addictions counselor is far from meeting a minimum standard of professional training. To be a good addictions counselor, is to first be a good counselor. Addictions counseling training program do not provide an adequate breadth or depth of counseling knowledge/experience. My recommendation would be that if you are serious about wanting to help others in a professional capacity, that you put in the time, money, and effort to go through a master's degree program in counseling. From there you can specialize in addictive behaviors or anything else. Addiction counselor programs are at the undergraduate level, and do not require completing even a bachelor's degree. It's a short-cut to working as a counselor, but I have seen it all too frequently where addiction counselors are not prepared to deal with the life issues of particular clients. And, obviously, it is these life issues that perpetuate the addictive behavior, and it is these issues that need to be re-figured in the person's life.

thejunkyswife said...

Thanks for the input. It's an interesting perspective, but I think I disagree. I have a M.A. already, and I'm not going to go back to get another. I think the certificate program could be helpful for the kinds of work I'm thinking of doing--working on a phone line or at a methadone clinic. I wouldn't want to counsel someone in a situation where I was setting myself up to pose as a professional, but I think people with all levels of training are useful in the right capacity. People with Associates Degrees in English are useful as English tutors where they would fail in my job as a writer or as a teacher--I'm looking for work something more similar to the tutor-position. Make sense?

But thanks for the input. It was an idea that came to me sort of out of the blue, so it's something I'm going to do a lot of research on before committing to anything. I like your posts on the Craigslist forum, and I'm sure I'll see you over there!

Dr_House said...

"working on a phone line or at a methadone clinic. I wouldn't want to counsel someone in a situation where I was setting myself up to pose as a professional."

Working as a counselor in a methadone clinic is about as heavy as it gets in counseling people who have a lot of deep issues. Unfortunately, another way that people with addiction problems are discriminated against is by having paraprofessionals be allowed by each state to provide individual counseling.
When you're the primary counselor for clients on your case-load in a methadone clinic, don't you think there's a ethical responsibility to be highly trained rather than being a "tutor?"

thejunkyswife said...

I'll worry about the ethical ramifications when I get a little futher in the process than blogging! Hah!

Shifra said...

Like weight watchers people end up becoming group leaders!!! Tell me if I'm too blase' sounding when responding to an entry. I hope you remember how I mean it all and where its coming from. You're always such inspiration for me.