Christina C. has been walking through the doors of Saint John’s for almost 10 years. She came to Saint John’s as a victim of domestic violence as well as her own substance abuse. “With most drug addiction you are also addicted to relationships,” she explains.

Today, as a substance use disorder counselor and case manager at Saint John’s, she counsels and supports women like her former self though all the milestones of getting their lives back. It’s the most rewarding experience to see her clients grow and accomplish their goals like she once did.

It’s not by chance that Christina utilizes the very skills that she was taught at Saint John’s 10 years ago to manage all of her current responsibilities. After successfully graduating from the program and working through the Employment Training Program at Plates Café and Catering, she received a call that would change her life. “We have an on-call position here if you are interested.” Now, six years after that call, Christina has become an indispensable part of Saint John’s as a registered alcohol and drug technician and also serving on a special council made up of former Saint John’s graduates.

“Saint John’s teaches essential tools for women to not only rebuild their lives but to thrive,” comments Christina. “The consistency, structure and routine, the building blocks of the program continue to be the reasons for my own success at home with my teenagers as well as on the job. In order to help other people I have to continue to work on myself – constantly.”

Imagine counseling women who have endured terrible addiction and abuse knowing you have survived it all. If anyone can understand the journey that a woman walking through the doors of Saint John’s will undertake it is Christina, and now, it is her privilege to help women like herself regain control of their lives. As a graduate of the program, Christina can not only empathize with their challenges, but also knows when to stand firm. “They have to be the ones to do it for themselves.”

Currently continuing her education, Christina will soon take her CADC test so that she can become a certified alcohol and drug counselor. She says, “It’s a good way to give back to a place that supported me – a place that literally saved me.” (The day we posted this blog Christina shared, “So excited! I passed my final certification exam and am officially a certified drug counselor!” Congratulations Christina!)

Saint John’s Program for Real Change is so very fortunate to have Christina dedicate her career to helping women in need as she brings her own journey full circle.

By Kara Turner, Saint John’s Guest Blogger and Volunteer

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