This week we catch up with Matthew and hear about his experience so far on the Herren Wellness team.
How did you find Herren Wellness?
I was familiar with Herren Wellness and I always said I would love to find a way in and try and find an opportunity to work there. I found this position at Herren Wellness in a completely unexpected situation. I didn’t go through Herren Wellness to get sober. I grew up a huge Boston Celtics fan and was very familiar with Chris Herren and his story, and like so many others, his story was one of the stories that played a part and helped me not just get sober, but stay sober. I was working in Warrenton, and I should have already left work but I was still there, and I happened to look up and Chris was walking across the front of where I was working. I stopped what I was doing and walked out and yelled his name out. He walked over to me and I just thanked him for his sobriety and thanked him for playing a part in my sobriety. We talked for a few moments. He told me about Twin Oaks, which I had just noticed where the entrance was a week prior, and at the end of the conversation he told me to come visit the next day. I came up the next day and met the staff and several days later Chris called and offered me a position with Herren Wellness at Twin Oaks.
What Experience do you bring both professionally and personally to your role as Wellness Associate?
On a professional level, this is my first time working in this setting, but I am looking forward to bringing my personal experiences and strengths to the table, and also looking forward to continually learning in this role. In turn, I hope to continue to do my best in showing others how to find peace and happiness in long term sobriety.
I have what feels like a lifetime of experience on a personal level. I have struggled with substance abuse since I was 18 years old. Repeatedly, it took everything good in my life. Ruined relationships, lost careers, lost self worth. Anything good in my life, outside of my life itself, my addiction took and at the end I was trying for it to take my life as well. I attempted to get sober multiple times in my life and was even sober for several years, but because I refused to take suggestions, talk about how I was feeling, and do the work, I simply, without fail, always turned back to drugs and alcohol. Finally, just over 6 years ago, when I was out of gifts, jobless, practically homeless, with nothing, I asked for help and was given a gift to go to rehab. Since being given that gift and asking for help, I haven’t found a reason to get high or drink since. I still ask for help and I’ve only learned to stay sober with the help of other people. I have learned to stay vulnerable, be honest, help others, and have empathy. None of which I knew how before sobriety. So on a personal level I can relate. I can relate to the pain, to the hurt, to the feelings, I can relate to loss, to feeling lost, to feeling broken. What I think I can bring to the table on a personal level is not just relations, but also hope. I’ve realized that even though our backgrounds may be different, we have a way to relate and through that relation, we get through things together and we recover together.