For some, recovering from substance abuse inspires a calling to give back through service. Giving back to the community by working as an addiction counselor enriches the recovery experience for both you and those you will help along the way. Just as with sponsorship, it’s important to know what you’re signing up for in this career choice. So if you’re thinking of entering the addiction recovery industry as an addiction counselor, here’s what you need to know:
Substance abuse counseling falls under the umbrella of careers in psychology. As such, obtaining a B.A. in Psychology with a focus on Addiction or Alcohol and Drug Studies is typically the first step in launching your career as an addiction counselor. Enriching this course of study with a focus on behavioral sciences and counseling helps you learn how to navigate the intricacies and complexities of addiction as a mental health professional.
Furthering your education by pursuing a Master’s or Doctorate Degree allows you to become a licensed, practicing addiction counselor. You even have the option of opening a private practice to help people maintain their commitment to recovery.
How Recovery Aids Your Career as an Addiction Counselor
Your personal experiences in recovery will only further help you to understand the emotional context of addiction counseling. This builds a bond of trust and non-judgement which helps your clients be open and honest in a way that is necessary for healing. Standing as an example- a beacon of what is possible- encourages others to remain steady in their own journey and reach for the things they never thought possible. You may even inspire others to give back in the same way.
Addiction counselors who are also in recovery has the advantage of knowing the mentality behind active addiction personally. You know the anxiety, self-doubt, and excuses addiction conjures up to keep its control over the mind. Your experiences breed compassion and a unique perspective that can help enlighten others along their own paths.