The Benefits of Rehab Center Staff Working Their Own Recovery

By Robert Castan 12/17/20

At every level, staff at Springboard Recovery are exceptionally grateful for their own recovery, and have made a lifelong commitment to “give back” to the recovery community.

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2 women in group therapy embrace
"We treat everybody like they were our own.”

The addiction recovery community thrives on the ethos of “giving back."

Just like the slightly cheesy movie “Pay It Forward,” which promotes the idea of paying forward the good that someone else has done for you to another, many recovering addicts and alcoholics get to the point in their new, sober lives where they feel an often undeniable desire to do something positive for someone who is right at the beginning of their own recovery.

Fortunately, those who do “give back” don’t consider it cheesy at all.

In fact, so universally acknowledged is the concept of “giving back” within the recovery community, it’s the very reason why Alcoholics Anonymous (and, later, Narcotics Anonymous) continues to be a consistently present and active part of so many people’s addiction recoveries.

These groups continue to provide and develop their own profound sense of fellowship and community, primarily through their universal “sponsoring system,” where a newly-sober AA or NA participant is taken under the proverbial wing of a more longer-term recovering addict - “the sponsor.”

The same concept, taken a little further, motivates and inspires recovering addicts and alcoholics to literally hit the books and go back to school, and learn all they can about the chronic disease of addiction itself, the various therapies for its treatments, and even how to counsel another recovering addict.

Taken even further still, the idea of “giving back” inspires and motivates some of those who are in long-term recovery from substance addiction to first imagine, and then to actually realize an addiction rehab center of their very own, or another, similar source of treatment, to be run exactly how they perceive it would work best.

They write the business plans, they source, and then secure, the necessary finance, and they start to build their business, with the sole aim of getting active drug addicts and alcoholics, from a side of life they knew so well themselves, into an addiction treatment facility that will save them, just as these entrepreneurial original founders were once saved.

It prompts the question.

Are there any real, tangible benefits to the staff at a drug and alcohol rehab center - the founders and executives, the in-house counsellors and therapists, the nursing staff, or the administrators in the “office” - being in, and actively working on, their own longer-term recovery from substance addiction?

If you consider that the recovery from drugs and/or alcohol is simply a process, and not the “life experience” many choose to view it as, then your recovery journey is then a case of following a set of well-considered directions, one that actively pushes you towards abstinence and sobriety.

Who better, then, to provide those directions than someone who has traveled the same route, and successfully, too?

The Power of the Shared Experience

The drug rehab executive, with 12 years of sobriety from a previous cocaine addiction, glances out of his office window, and watches as a meth addict, just being dropped off at the same executive’s rehab by a mixture of paramedics and police officers, stumbles through the rehab’s main entrance...

These two people - the exec and the meth guy - may not seem to have much in common at all to the casual onlooker. In reality, however, they share the very personal and powerful experience of substance addiction; thus, they also share the humble beginnings of the same sense of brotherhood seen at any local AA meeting.

They both know what it is to plead, beg and deceive to satisfy their drug dependency - even if one of them wears a suit now. Sit them down together, let them compare notes, and many of those notes, however unique, will emanate from the same place, and be strikingly similar.

The only real difference between them in this setting of an addiction rehab is simple - 12 years of recovery, compared to less than 12 minutes.

The “Refreshingly Human” Rehab Center

At Springboard Recovery, located in Scottsdale, Arizona (a short drive from the city of Phoenix), many of the staff members are long-term recovering addicts, with a huge number of clean and sober years accumulated between them. For example, you’ll find:

  • Jason Bordonaro, a former drug addict and alcoholic, with nearly 20 years of sobriety, and a co-founder of Springboard Recovery
  • Laura Nuss, a former opioid prescription addict who transitioned to heroin before finding recovery, and a co-founder of Springboard Recovery
  • Alexa Morgenroth, a former heroin addict, now with an MA in Developmental Psychology, and Springboard Recovery’s Executive Director, and
  • Josh Lemieux, a former heroin and crack cocaine addict, an alumni who found his long-term recovery with Springboard Recovery, and who is now the Director of Admissions
  • Steve Laats, a former addict and alcoholic, with over 20 years clean, and the Director of Marketing and Operations with SpringBoard Recovery

Throughout the center, several more staff are in addiction recovery themselves, but is this an advantage to those who arrive here as new patients?

The answer is a clear and resounding “Yes.”

As Josh, the center’s Admissions guy, explains, his poly-use addiction was so powerful it “brought me to my knees, 140 pounds, no fight left in me.” He cites the “love, compassion and empathy” provided by Springboard the moment when he arrived at the rehab as a new patient as equally powerful.

Mother, Father, Sisters, Brothers...

It’s an important aspect of the Springboard Recovery’s holistic approach to treatment, one that Josh actively uses with first-time callers to the center, saying that it often builds an instant rapport with people who are desperately struggling in exactly the same way as he once did himself.

Springboard Recovery’s motto, appropriately, is “Refreshingly Human.” All incoming patients are treated like family - as mothers, as fathers, as sisters, and as brothers. As Alexa Morgenroth explains, we “treat everybody like they were our own.”

The center is seen as a “community of recovery” - considered vital to both a new patient’s mental wellbeing, and the chances of a sustainable, long-term recovery. As many of those who work with new patients here know first-hand the range of negative, often devastating effects of substance addiction, the level of understanding, trust and confidence built between counselor and patient is a fairly rapid process.

Clearly, all the levels of staff at Springboard Recovery - from its founders to its part-time admin - are exceptionally grateful for their own recovery, and they have made a life-long commitment to “give back” to the recovery community themselves. Helping others in a both a highly professional and sincerely practical way to find their own recovery both inspires and motivates the center’s staff.

There are many more examples all over the U.S. of recovering addicts working in the professional field of addiction - from volunteer workers to new rehab center founders, and from “recovery app”-builders to clinical ward cleaners.

Giving Thanks

Just like the concept of “giving back,” simple gratitude is an integral part of addiction recovery. Recovering addicts are always grateful for having received the education, the knowledge, and the coping skills and mechanisms from the process of being in rehab, an outpatient program, or a support group, to help them to stay clean and sober.

Honestly, exactly how would you feel if someone gave you a real, tangible second chance at life?

Understandably, many want to share this.

From either their local church hall that holds an AA meeting every Tuesday evening (6pm - tea and coffee served), from the psychotherapist’s office that counsels a seemingly endless line of trauma-filled addicts and alcoholics, or from the offices, meeting rooms and Recovery Housing accommodation of Springboard Recovery, this simple idea of “giving back” inspires, motivates and propels new addiction recoveries every single day.

Learn more about Springboard Recovery, Scottsdale (nr. Phoenix), AZ at https://www.springboardrecovery.com/. Alternatively, reach Springboard Recovery by phone at (888) 672-2120, or find Springboard Recovery on Facebook.

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Robert Castan.jpg

Robert Castan is a member of the Executive Leadership Team at SpringBoard Recovery. Robert started his professional career as a house manager and has become an industry leader and trusted voice in the treatment world. He brings extensive knowledge of organizational growth, industry-leading outcomes, and comprehensive marketing to SpringBoard Recovery.
 
Robert has been walking his own path of recovery for over 10 years.  This path has truly driven his ambition to help make treatment available to others who are struggling with addiction.  Robert finds great joy in traveling and keeping physically active, with an emphasis on biking. Robert resides in Arizona with his husband and two four-legged children.