Author: Tony Carton
The idea that clinicians who are in recovery from addiction or substance abuse working as addiction practitioners seems deeply counter-intuitive. Compounding this is the problem that many have incurred criminal records, so the idea seems, at best nonsensical. Yet the cold hard essentialisms of professionalization and medicine gives way at times to the sophistry and serendipity of empiricism. These former sufferers know what they are talking about. The result is that there is an extremely high success rate in securing employment at practitioner, supervisor and management level as well as popularity with clients, due to them having a high affinity with lay experiences. This is an exploratory sociological article intended to raise some issues that present with the employment and training of recovering people as addiction practitioners. The tentative conclusions are that counsellors in recovery have a sophisticated awareness of the idiosyncrasies of the addiction field. However, of much more impact is the issue that they face challenges, related to matters of professionalization, stigma and the associated ongoing gentrification of the addiction field. There is a need for further research and emerging themes given the changing and reconfiguring nature of the health field and the wider neo-liberal political arena. They also possess a resilient and strength based wisdom not located in the over accessible neo-liberal vocabulary around these precepts but have experiences of the encounter with the Gethsemane understanding of deficit and purgatory; thereby the right to take back the stolen neo-liberal appropriation of resilience. They also importantly have access to alternative proven yet marginalised discourses that have stood the test of time.
See also: Comments to Paper