From Client to Employee - Katrina Gives Back

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"It was surreal walking into PCN on my first day of work – completely in a different position. Here I was in the same program that changed my life, but now I was an employee!"

Katrina is a residential treatment specialist at Pioneer Center North (PCN) in Sedro-Woolley. PCN specializes in providing treatment for people who are struggling with substance use disorders and chronic behavioral health issues. She shared her two different journeys to PCN with us. 
My first attempt at recovery from substance abuse was in 2006. I spent 11 years in and out of recovery, never making it longer than eight months clean and sober. It was a tough road, and I tried many different treatment centers and detox facilities, but I could not quite commit to sobriety. 

By January of 2017, I had lost everything I owned - and everyone close to me. My trail was filled with burned bridges and I had nothing left. Out of desperation, I decided to give recovery another try. I committed myself into a detox program for 10 days and 10 days later, I found out I had been accepted to PCN’s residential treatment program.  

The memory I have ingrained in my mind is walking into the women's unit at PCN with a huge grin on my face because at that moment, I just knew everything was going to be OK. From the start, I engaged in the program and felt a trust building between my counselor and me. I began to work with my counselor on some deep-seeded issues including: truly loving myself, forgiving myself for my past and working through co-dependency.

The resident treatment specialists were also amazing and helped me so much with learning how to respect myself, follow rules and co-exist with a diverse group of women. I also enrolled in the Roadmap to Success job-readiness workshops that were provided at PCN. The classes assisted me in building my resume, and taught me communication and interviewing skills. When I completed treatment, I moved into an Oxford House to live in a clean and sober recovery program and I used the skills I learned in the Roadmap to Success workshops to get my initial job at Target. All of these skills I have carried with me to this day. 

Today, I am in the healthiest and best relationship I have ever been in and we have a 15-month-old son. It has been such a life changing experience to be in a loving relationship. When I was considering going back to work, I applied to PCN on a whim. In reality, I wasn't planning on going back to work until my son was one years old, but when I saw the open position at PCN posted, I applied. When I was hired, I was so excited to join the team.

It was surreal walking into PCN on my first day of work – completely in a different position. Here I was in the same program that changed my life, but now I was an employee! At PCN, I was able to earn my Agency Affiliated Counselor (AAC), and I think my own life experiences and the lessons I’ve learned that worked for me, have helped me a lot with assisting and empathizing with our clients. 

Since working at PCN, I have also had the opportunity to take advantage of numerous classes that Pioneer sponsors from Relias trainings online. The trainings I have completed include Conflict Resolution, Cultural Competence, Trauma-Informed Care, Understanding Unconscious Bias and many more. I have also taken advantage of participating in online Zoom trainings for Trauma-Informed Care and Trauma-Informed Crisis De-escalation. All of these trainings have helped me grow in my career.      

I am so passionate about the work we do here at PCN because my own experience in the program changed my entire life. I really want that for all of our clients. I am living proof that it is possible to change, and I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to assist our clients in their recovery like I was assisted.

Wayne Waits, lead residential treatment specialist at PCN said, “Kat is a true inspiration to the clients, and for us all here at PCN. We are all so proud of her and how far she has come.

Friday, December 4, 2020