Yesterday, Pat Dooley and Chelsea Crocker came into our class to talk about their experiences as Certified Recovery Specialists. I never knew that there was a job like this, but it sounds extremely helpful. Chelsea herself had a recovery specialist that helped her get through all the things that were “on her list” but wasn’t able to do it on her own. Pat and Chelsea are both in recovery and explained that having all the simple, nice things that most people take for granted, for them feels like living “beyond their wildest dreams.” They took a 54-hour class to be certified, and usually work with about 20-25 clients at a time.

They mainly exist to help people accomplish all the things that they’ve never been able to do every other time they attempted to get sober. They provide all kinds of resources that help to overcome barriers to getting treatment and staying in recovery, such as housing, funding for recovery housing, finding work if eligible, mental health care, outpatient groups and therapy, access to cell phones, getting a sponsor, and food stamps. Pat and Chelsea said that their job is all about “empowering people, not enabling them,” and holding people accountable for their actions, but helping them realize that they can get through it.

They want to guide people towards their own epiphanies, re-build a sense of self-worth, give them the tools they need to recapture their lives, and help them become familiar with the normal rhythm of life again (or for the first time.) They use active listening skills, promote multiple pathways of recovery and encourage people to not feel shame for the path that they choose, support them through all the ups and downs including reoccurrence of use, and help them create healthy coping skills. Both Pat and Chelsea seem very happy to be at the point they are in their lives, which was nice to see, and even nicer to see how much they love being of service to others that are in the same places they have once been. I loved that they work in suburban areas, including Bucks County which is where I live. Chelsea mentioned Levittown, and I live about 30 minutes from there.