“Fetch What is at-risk of Being Left Behind”

By Justin Feltman

IMG_1390Pam joined Samaritan Inns’ Adult Treatment Program back in August. She’s brought over 14 years of experience in counseling and treatment. Whether it’s conducting seminars, building vision boards with clients or coaching them through their toughest moments in treatment, she’s always poised, compassionate, and thoughtful. Her positivity is infectious.

However, Pam’s life and outlook were not always this way. As she has reminded our clients from time to time, “This is not my first rodeo.”

Personal experience brought her to the field. Growing up, Pam saw family members experiencing substance use disorders first hand. And, as she got older, it became even more personal.

“I was, myself, addicted for 25 years. Cocaine. Crack cocaine.” This experience brought much grief to her life, including jail time and the death of her husband. It wore her out to the point where, at 48, she sought treatment for the first time.

“When I got into recovery, I was serious about it. There were 65 people in the class and they
said, ‘Three of you will make it.’ And I turned around and said, ‘I wonder who the other two are going to be.’ Everybody laughed and I said, ‘I’m serious. Party’s over.”

And it was. Pam’s been sober ever since. After her treatment program, she went into a transitional program. There she observed the work that counselors were doing and they inspired her to pursue work in the field and went to Howard University to get her CAC (Certified Addictions Counselor) certificate.

Pam has worked across a wide variety of fields within addictions but treatment is her favorite. “The job we have is so important because we deal with wounded souls every day.”

Through treatment, she helps clients see their purpose and value. “I wish we took before and after pictures of our clients because, when you see them come in, beaten down, not feeling [worthy of even being alive], and then you see them after two weeks, if they’re invested in doing the treatment, you could see the glow.”

Although she is now on the other side of treatment, it hasn’t stopped her from constantly wanting to improve and learn. This past December, Pam achieved a dream she’s carried for many years: she graduated from college with a degree in Human Services from Trinity sankofa_bird2
University, the first in her family to get a college education.

What’s kept Pam passionate and dedicated is the clients themselves and restoring hope. Every day she wears the Sankofa, a symbol meaning to go back and take what was forgotten, a perfect metaphor for her personal mission; using her experience for positivity, helping those who are seeking recovery, and helping them build a brighter future from it.

“We’re doing what we do and we’re going to keep on trying to help these wounded souls…[like] the Good Samaritan. That’s what you do. You pick him up and you carry him along. If you can get one person walking out that door and be successful, I feel good.”

Pam is helping our clients to not forget what is important to them as they move forward toward their own life-long journey of recovery.

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