Becoming a Drug Counselor to Give Back

If you’ve been addicted to drugs or alcohol, made it through detox and treatment, perhaps you know the challenges of recovery. Perhaps you know the burden of having to change your life as well as the exhilaration of having done so. There are many men and women in the addiction recovery field who want to give back to others. In fact, doing so gives them a greater sense of meaning and helps boost their own recovery.

A desire to give back and facilitate the sobriety of others is common. And depending upon how you want to give back may require more or less training and experience.

Psychiatrist – This occupation requires a medical degree as well as training in the field of psychology. A person would have to attend many years in school as well as complete a medical internship. Despite the years in training, this vocation can provide a great amount of satisfaction. Being able to administer medication to ease someone’s symptoms of addiction and mental illness can be incredibly rewarding.

Psychologist – This career may also require a number of years in school. It requires a PhD as well as a clinical internship. The difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist is that a psychologist cannot prescribe medication. However, he or she can facilitate therapy and support a person’s psychological well-being.

Therapist – A therapist performs many of the same duties as a psychologist. However, a therapist has a Master’s degree and does not have a PhD. A therapist also needs to complete a clinical internship and gain clinical hours in order to be licensed in his or her state of residence. A therapist can also facilitate psychological well-being and help a person overcome the challenges of addiction.

Drug Counselor – A drug counselor also requires schooling and clinical experience. Typically, there is a number of years that a state requires before a person can be a licensed drug counselor. In this occupation a person might also facilitate recovery from addiction by using Motivational Interviewing, Behavioral therapies, and other tools.

Peer Counselor – A peer is someone who is currently experiencing the same symptoms as those that he or she may be helping. However, there may be more experience in recovery or more experience with a particular situation. Peer to peer recovery is precisely what the AA community is made up of. Attend an AA meeting and you’ll find all the members are at various stages of recovering from an addiction. This position requires no formal training or education. Simply the experience of having been an addict is what makes a peer counselor.

Volunteer – Another way to give back to your recovery community is to volunteer. In this position, you may not need any formal training or schooling. The desire to serve and the commitment of your time and energy is all that is required.

If you are interested in helping others succeed in their recovery, the above positions are ways to do just that. As mentioned above, some of these are formal occupational positions, requiring more training, while others are volunteer. If any of these interest you, contact a local college for more information or a mental health provider to find out more. You may find that giving back in one of the above ways helps to boost your own recovery.


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