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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.