Every September, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration sponsors National Recovery Month to increase awareness and understanding of substance use disorders and celebrate people living in recovery.
This year marks National Recovery Month’s 30th anniversary, and Texas State Technical College’s Chemical Dependency Counseling program is ready to recognize the accomplishments of its students and the people they help.
“National Recovery Month is a time to reflect on past and current successes, but also a time to share information and help the public and other health care providers understand what it really means to have a substance abuse disorder,” Patty Bundick, CDC department chair, said.
The Chemical Dependency Counseling program offers an associate degree, and students learn the skills needed to work not only in the chemical dependency treatment field but also in related areas of the criminal justice system and mental health programs. There is also a certificate of completion available to those who have a degree in the human services field.
“You have to have a big heart and passion for helping people in this field. Unfortunately, we see in the news all the time about the impact substance abuse has in our society, and the need for people who can care for those affected is growing,” Bundick said.
One of those who felt led to answer the call is second-semester student Trina Nelson of Breckenridge.
“I battled with substance abuse disorder for 10 years and had lost everything. I finally just didn't want to do it anymore, so I went to the local treatment facility. I was so scared, but it was the most amazing experience because the counselors were kind and informed and ready to be there for me,” Nelson said.
Nelson attended Serenity Foundation for her treatment and now works there while attending school full time.
“I have over three years clean now. They saved my life, and I wouldn't be here without them. I have so much gratitude for those counselors, and I want to be there to reach my hand out for those who are still stuck in that battle,” Nelson said.
The Real Education on Addiction Can Help (R.E.A.C.H.) Club, started in 2004 by two TSTC students at the Breckenridge campus, is organizing information sessions and awareness campaigns for the month of September at the Abilene, Breckenridge and Brownwood campuses.
“We really want to help educate other students and the public about the resources available, the science behind the studies, and the career opportunities available if someone feels that this is their calling,” Ivey Delong, CDC instructor, said.
Those interested in TSTC's Chemical Dependency Counseling program are encouraged to visit one of the campuses where it is offered.
For more information about National Recovery Month, log on to samhsa.gov.
To learn more about TSTC, go online at tstc.edu.