Caroline has fulfilled the curricula requirements to obtain her New Jersey State Certification as a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist. She is currently working as a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist at CARES, The Center for Addiction Recovery Education and Success in Rockaway, NJ. She is dedicated to intervening and advocating for individuals that struggle with substance use disorder in her community, with the goal of making long term recovery possible. As a person in recovery, in the process of obtaining her CADC, Carrie hopes to bring her passion for recovery and unbiased attitude to The Center for Addiction Recovery Education and Success and into the community by providing a safe, comfortable, and objective perspective.
Personal pronouns: She, Her, Hers
29 Years old
Abstinence based sobriety since 08-30-13
THE ROAD TO RECOVERY IS A LOT BROADER THAN PEOPLE BELIEVE IT TO BE
The biggest stigma surrounding addiction and recovery that I’ve experienced is that there’s only one way to do it. This is not true in my experience. Addiction is a tough thing to crack. Once it gets its claws in you, power, choice, and control are out the window. Knowing that the road to recovery is a lot broader than maybe people believe it to be, allows it that much more possible to get on the road in the first place.
PEER RECOVERY IS A MOVEMENT
As a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist I have been able to gain a whole new perspective on addiction. I know what it’s like to be dependent on a substance but doing this type of work has opened my eyes to how truly heartbreaking we are. It’s really very humbling. If I could give my recovery to someone else and their family, I would. Not because I don’t want it or that I don’t deserve it, but because I know how hard it is to get.
Peer recovery is a movement, and an effective one! Not a ton of people will get their hands dirty with someone who needs recovery. Peer recovery allows me to show up as just that, a peer. Through sharing personal experience and proving a non-confrontational playing field we are able to walk through the process together while the individual makes the decisions for themselves.
I AM NOW HONORED TO MAKE CARES MY SOLE FOCUS
My journey with CARES started in 2016/2017 when I was encouraged by my previous employer to take the CPRS training. I wasn’t too familiar with it but, due to the fact that I was already in the process of obtaining my CADC, I thought it would be a proactive step to take in the meantime. The rest is history. The training and certification process landed me a position as an OORP peer - the Opiate Overdose Recovery Program. Fast forward a couple of years later I was offered a full time position and I am now honored to make CARES my sole focus. Funny how life unfolds.
I AM GUILTY OF STIGMATIZING MYSELF
I am guilty of stigmatizing myself! “I’m so unoriginal. Getting sober and wanting to become a drug and alcohol counselor.” I would tell myself things like that all the time and laugh. Truth is, I got sober and fell in love with recovery. I made a promise that I would help others to the woman that first helped me. At the time I made that promise, I could have never imagined what that would look like. I think the biggest reasons we get a bad rap is because of the potential harm done by some treatment providers. This is one of the many reasons I love working for CARES, our hearts are in it.
MY ADDICTION ISOLATED ME
My addiction isolated me from a lot of people. For a long time anyone I was surrounded by served a purpose to my addiction. I am originally from northeast Pennsylvania, I got sober in New Jersey. Everyone I know in New Jersey, I know through recovery, they only know me sober. The friends I have back home watched me go through some of the toughest times in my life. They all had to take a step back and let me have my experience. Whether or not they knew they were allowing that for me I’m not sure, but I’m thankful for that. Now that I’m sober they are so supportive, I wouldn’t trade them for the world. Amanda, Jen, Alicia, Cody, I love you guys.
IT TAKES A VILLAGE
I think one of the biggest components of recovery is community. It takes a village. The most influential support has come from my family. I wouldn’t have been able to build my foundation without them. A close second is the very first woman I met when I moved to New Jersey. She was the director of the sober living I moved into after treatment. She showed me compassion at my most broken and I was blown away by that. That place was my incubator, it saved my life. From there, life has been my greatest teacher.
I love to hike, ski, and be outside. Being active is a huge part of self-care and self-preservation. The most important thing for me is when I leave work, I actually LEAVE work haha. I continue to go to meetings and always stay close to my tribe.
I DON'T HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS BUT I CAN TRANSMIT HOPE
I don’t have all the answers but I can transmit hope. Hope is something that can be planted and once it takes root in someone that’s struggling they begin to heal. It’s more empowering than any advice I can ever give.