I began my University career many years ago as a naive 17 year old. Looking back now it is hard to imagine that I had the slightest clue of what I wanted to do in life...and really I didn't. It took 3 years of being a "pre-ed" student with a major in English to finally realize that I did not love what I was doing...in fact I didn't even like it...you could even go as far to say that I hated it. I had no passion for it, I was miserable. After returning home from my mission I had a semester where I had no idea what I was doing, and no idea where I was going. I had always however been interested in one field of study that I had pushed aside...how could I change my major where I had gone so far in my degree already? But how could I get a degree that I really had no interest in? It took a lot of thinking to come to a conclusion. I also had the support of my then "secret friend", now husband, to chase my dreams. How thankful I am for his help, because without him I'm not sure I would have had the courage to make a change. But I did, I applied to the school of health sciences, with a major in addictions counseling. I was accepted into the program and since then I have never looked back. I have absolutely loved the program, it is different than any other type of schooling I've had. Caleb calls it really expensive therapy. I never thought I would find something I love so much.
For the past 12 weeks I have been working at a mens residence for individuals who suffer with addiction. It has been part of my junior practicum, and next week it is coming to an end. Throughout this experience I have had many challenges, which have mainly been the staff I have to work with...I was hoping to learn more from them, instead I find myself critisizing them more than anything else. But what I never expected is how much I would learn from the men that I work with.
From my first very nervous, awkward day, they have been nothing but kind and welcoming. They are always there to chat with, to joke around with, and I have found myself on more than one occasion, in awe at their strength and courage. In their eyes these men are the lowest of the low, they have made so many mistakes, that have led to such catastrofic consequences for them. They keep making the same mistakes over and over, they feel that they have nothing to offer. But I have watched these men over the past few months grow and change, and to me what they are doing is so courageous. I don't know if I could be in their position and be as strong as they are. They are giving themselves a new life, another chance to make reconciliations and become better. They are all such genuinely kind people. After I do group sessions with them, they always thank me for the class I put on, and tell me how much they enjoyed it...it never fails. They will never know how much that means to a student who is struggling to "get it right". They have come to talk to me personally with their biggest issues and challenges. At times it has been scary for me, and sometimes I don't know what to say, but I am humbled to know that they would seek me out...to have confidence in me, which I most of the time am lacking myself.
I have grown to love these men. I never thought I would. As I think about my final week, I can't help but get emotional. I have to leave and cut all my ties with them. It will be hard not to know how they are doing, and if they're making progress, if they've relapsed, what's happening in their lives. One thing is for sure I will never forget them, and I don't think they'll ever know how much worth they truly have, and how much they have touched my life.
Good-bye for now Alcare Place, I will miss you.