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As people move through their recovery process, they often develop a strong desire to give back to the community. For many, this translates into finding a job that helps others with substance use disorders. Peers, or individuals with lived experience pertaining to substance use, can be some of the most meaningful supports for people in early recovery. Caz Recovery’s workforce reflects this as many of our staff have lived experience with substance use disorders. There’s another benefit to finding work in the field, too: stable employment that offers a sense of fulfillment often contributes to the long-term success for people in recovery.

At the same time, however, working in behavioral health can be stressful, and secondary trauma is a real risk for people in the sector. With this in mind, we always want to ensure that each person’s recovery process is never compromised when employed in the field. Achieving a balance between creating employment opportunities for people with substance use disorders while ensuring their success in recovery can be a challenge. To address this, Caz Recovery has a policy that guides potential new staff with lived experience towards roles and timeframes that we hope will ensure their long-term success in the sector while continuing with their recovery goals. Suzanne Sisson, Caz Recovery’s Resource Coordinator, demonstrates how to thrive in this situation.

Embarking on a Journey of Transformation

Suzanne’s narrative serves as a vivid illustration of recovery and the profound impact of determination. From her days as a resident of Caz Recovery, Suzanne speaks passionately about the challenges of addiction. Presently, as our Resource Coordinator, Suzanne channels her experiences into empowering others, transforming her past struggles into motivation for countless individuals. Her evolution from a period of intense struggle to a key role of support within Caz Recovery is a moving story that highlights moments of vulnerability, fortitude, and a steadfast dedication to contributing to a community that was once her haven of hope.

Suzanne started struggling with substance use at a young age. She said, “For most of my life, I just felt lost. I felt like I never really fit in anywhere, and my addiction really fueled a lot of my bad behaviors and bad choices.” Suzanne realized that substance use disorder was destroying her and preventing her from finding belonging. She decided to seek help, starting a challenging journey toward recovery that not only helped her but also put her in a position to help others navigate their recovery paths.

Suzanne Sisson, Resource Coordinator

A New Chapter at Casa Di Vita

Encouraged by support from her family, Suzanne went to Horizon Terrace House and then landed at Casa Di Vita. She describes her time at Casa Di Vita as a period of intensive personal growth and rehabilitation, where she started taking steps towards rebuilding her life. Following her stay at Casa Di Vita, Suzanne transitioned to independence in our Supportive Living Program (now Step Toward Success), where she stayed for about 18 months, further solidifying the foundation for her new life in recovery. Throughout this time, Suzanne not only focused on her own healing but also nurtured a growing desire to give back to the community that had supported her through her darkest times.

Empowering Others Through Experience

Following the completion of her treatment and recognizing it was time to get back into the workforce, Suzanne initiated her job hunt. She initially settled into a part-time role outside the realm of recovery, yet her heart yearned to make a substantial impact in a field deeply personal to her. This longing led her back to Casa Di Vita, this time in pursuit of employment. Suzanne applied for a part-time position as a secretary. Suzanne followed all of the necessary steps to ensure her continued success in her recovery and was welcomed aboard. Suzanne has since been promoted to the Resource Coordinator for our Administrative office. In her role, Suzanne has become an indispensable part of Caz Recovery, overseeing benefits enrollment and other essential services. Suzanne can now extend a hand of support to residents embarking on their own journeys of recovery.

Reflections of Hope and Transformation

“I did two things I never thought would happen in my entire life. I was able to stay abstinent from substances, and I was able to go to college and obtain my degree, and my children were there to watch me walk across the stage,” Suzanne shared, highlighting the milestones that seemed impossible years ago. “My relationship with my family, particularly my children, has flourished, transforming from a past filled with misunderstandings to a present where they know they can actually rely on me.”

Suzanne’s story, underscored by patience, perseverance, and an unyielding dedication to helping others, is an example of the work at the heart of Caz Recovery – resilience, growth, and dedication to giving back while illuminating the path for others navigating their own recovery.

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