Jamelia Hand, MHS, CADC, MISA 1
In the early 2000's I was in my 20’s, fresh out of graduate school, and ready to take on the world. Armed with my crisply printed Master’s Degree in Addiction Treatment, a Certification in Addiction Counseling, and my zeal to save the world from all things addiction-related, I became a “Chemical Dependency Counselor” at a Residential Treatment Facility. One of my first clients was a woman whom I will call “Rose”.
I will never forget the day I met her.
Ms. Rose was a 55-year-old married African American woman with 5 children. She had a long history of Heroin and Alcohol addiction. As Ms. Rose waited in my office to be interviewed for our program, I was across the hall in the conference room with our team. Wearing hats and gloves in the small frigid conference room with a broken window, we braved our meeting on this Chicago’s winter day. We were under-resourced and under-funded, but we cared deeply about every client that appeared on our doorstep. And now here was Rose, mother of 5, waiting in my office while we reviewed her life and fate.
As the team meeting ended and the room cleared, I blew into my hands to warm them and then went to speak with Ms. Rose. She was no longer sitting in my office and I had to search for her. As I did so, I mumbled a little prayer to myself. I wanted to be guided in this moment as I stood at the threshold of entering Ms. Rose’s story…the part of the story that would finally lead her and her five children to a happy ending, I prayed. Click here to continue reading this post.