In honor of National Recovery Month, the Center for Recovery and Support shares short biographies from our Recovery Coaches about their experiences in long-term recovery.
"Hi, my name is Jennifer and I'm a Recovery Coach at Holyoke Health Center with the Center for Recovery and Support. I am also a woman in long-term recovery. Getting to this point was not easy. I stumbled many many times and had lots of recurrences throughout the years. One thing I am most grateful for, is for the support and love that people showed me when I couldn't love or support myself. Thank Goodness for the people that never gave up on me. People at one point had to show me tough love, yet never stopped showing support. I am extremely grateful to have today over 4 1/2 years of sobriety; something I never thought would be possible or deserved. I enjoy the work I do because I hope to inspire people to know and understand that recovery is possible and all that is needed is the willingness and hope. People inspired hope in me and the willingness came along from being sick and tired of being sick and tired of the lifestyle I was living. The gratitude that I have is hard to put into words, so I show it with my actions in helping others that are in the same position as I was and know that recovery is possible and just a little bit of hope can change a life forever."
-Jennifer Sanchez, HHC Recovery Coach
"Hello, my name is Maritza Rivera. I am a woman in long term recovery, but I wasn't always in recovery. I struggled with addiction for 20 long years, I am not 6 years in recovery. The way I began my recovery was when I hit rock bottom, I lost myself through addiction, and I lost my child to DCF and went to jail. Throughout my journey to recovery, I was inspired to give back to my community, so I decided to become a recovery coach. Through the recovery program I attended, I was given the opportunity to receive recovery coach training. I'd love to help and inspire others into seeking recovery by just living as my true self. Having confidence and motivation proves that we can achieve anything we put our minds to. I feel by showing compassion and expressing all of the obstacles I overcame, helps me relate, as well as give others hope that there are always brighter days to come. I am always willing to listen and engage with individuals who are seeking recovery and even with those who don't know it yet. I always try to meet them where they are. As you see, I am very passionate about recovery and want to continue helping others who find themselves without hope. This opportunity has helped me make a difference in many lives. "I am not anonymous. I am not ashamed. What used to be my mess is now my message. There's life after addiction, and I pray that everyone finds it." Recovery is possible!!"
-Maritza Rivera, HHC Recovery Coach
"Addiction is both progressive and fatal if left untreated. Sadly there are many years, case studies, and human lives that we can look to confirm this. The narrative has changed regarding addiction; it is no longer considered a moral failing but instead a disease by the criterion listed above. My name is Nelson, and I myself have been afflicted with this illness. To me the problem started in my spirit, centered in my mind, and manifested in my body. Substance use started with marijuana and alcohol and progressed through most of the known addictive substances, this almost cost me my life on a daily basis. The substances were putting my at risk but it was also the ways in which I chose support and maintain my addiction that were just as risky as the using. These are the issues of recovery, the uplifting of the spirit, the rebuilding of the mind, and the quest for good physical health. I am proud to say that I have been in recovery consistently for the last 7 years. Being able to use my direct experience to encourage, empower, and uplift others has been the bright sport of my recovery. Although each person's situation is unique to themselves, there are some general principles that we can agree on and in that agreement there is an atmosphere created that allows room for recovery to happen. I'm honored to be a part of it today. I'm blessed to be alive and so long as I keep this perspective, a drink or a drug becomes the furthest thought in mine. This allows me to be present, relevant, and inspiring to those who seek what I have been graciously given in my journey."
-Nelson Amalbert, HHC Recovery Coach