Please join NCACH in welcoming the newest member of our team, Joseph “Joey” Hunter! Joey joins us as the Recovery Coach Coordinator, which is a new role in our organization. The primary goal of the Recovery Coach Coordinator will be designing a Recovery Coach Network to support individuals in recovery. The Recovery Coach Network will also increase the number of trained peer-support recovery coaches who will use community partnerships and valuable lived experience to walk next to recoverees as they transition back into the community. Learn more about recovery coaches here.



Tell us a little about your background.
I was born in Renton but grew up in Moses Lake. Growing up I was a really good student, and very active in sports, but like many I struggled a bit with fitting in. I ended up breaking my ankle when I was in my early twenties, which was the first time I was introduced to opiates. This was before the “Opioid Epidemic” as we knew it, and there wasn’t the same understanding of opioids and addiction as there is now. It took over my life.


I struggled with addiction for several years following my injury, and spent some time in the criminal justice system. I was fortunate to experience a critical turning point and was able to enter recovery in 2016. At that time I also moved to Wenatchee and found a community in recovery. Recovery, for me, was the first time I found people that were ‘like’ me. I could take my mask off and be open about my fears as new recoveree. One of the things that stood out to me in my 12-step group at the time was that they “would love me until I could learn to love myself.” Through my own recovery, I discovered that I had a real passion for advocating for the recovery community and wanted to give back.


In 2018, a few friends of mine and I helped found the Central Washington Recovery Coalition, which exists “To advance substance use, recovery, and behavioral health wellness by catalyzing public understanding and public policy innovation through community partnerships.” I also joined the board of our local Alano Club of Wenatchee (which helps provide 12-step meetings and support group activities for recoverees). In 2019, I became a certified Recovery Coach through a training offered by NCACH, which is where I first heard of the Recovery Coach Network. And, now I’m here…

Joey was also featured in the “Stories of Recovery” series, which was sponsored by NCACH in 2018. Learn more about Joey’s story.


What are you most excited about as you take on this new role as the Recovery Coach Coordinator?
I’m most excited to be able to use my passion and my lived experience to help people find recovery and to re-integrate them back into society. My hope is that this work will lead to more Recovery Coaches embedded all across the spectrum of care and throughout the community. Helping those in recovery means looking at the root of the problem and working to provide advocacy and boundaries to help support them in their wellness.


What does whole person health mean to you?
I’ve come to realize that there are several areas that contribute to whole person health, our spiritual, physical, financial, and mental wellness are just a part of the picture. I think teaching that to people is really important.


From your perspective, what is the best way to support and empower members of the Recovery Community so that they can experience whole person health?
Be open-minded to the barriers that someone in recovery may face. Have empathy. Use active listening. The language we use is also really important and carries a lot of weight. Words like “addict” are stigmatizing, many folks prefer “recoveree”. Connection is really big – people respond better when they know they are cared for and seen.


September is Recovery Month. If you could share anything with someone who works with those Recovery (or new to working with those in Recovery) what would it be?
People do recover, and I’m one of those people that is battling substance use disorder every day. Recoverees need people to be their allies and confidants, and to be aware of the language they use and how destructive stigma can be. I didn’t always receive the help I needed when I was actively using because people saw my drug use history and sometimes didn’t – or couldn’t – see past it. It’s important for providers to tell their clients with active or historical substance use disorder that they [the providers] are there to help and walk with them (instead of in front or behind.)


What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to fish (and am looking forward to the upcoming fall run!), go camping, spend time with my family, take my Jeep out for four-wheeling, watch football (Go ‘Hawks!), and serve as an advocate for those in recovery.