Ryan grew up just outside of Seattle, Washington and enjoys frequent visits back to the Pacific Northwest to visit family and friends. Prior to joining the Origins’ family in early 2015, Ryan worked for almost three years at another treatment center in Florida as a Recovery Advocate (RA) and as an intake and admissions professional. He describes his biggest responsibility, both then and now, as teaching the 12-Steps.
What brought you to Origins?
I was introduced to Origins as a client. I had been trying to get sober for years and was in and out of treatment centers and various 12-Step fellowships with no lasting success. I was ready to give up and had resigned myself to the fact that I was going to die an alcoholic death. This was until I got an opportunity to go to Texas.
When I arrived at Origins South Padre Island (SPI), I immediately sensed something was different about this place — something bigger was going on. This wasn’t your typical treatment center. People were getting well and staying that way. The staff was incredible; they spoke passionately about recovery and presented me with a message that carried depth and weight. It turned into an experience that changed my life forever, and I’ve been sober ever since.
I moved to Florida to work at another treatment center, and when Origins acquired the Hanley Center in West Palm Beach, I knew that I had to go and be a part of it. Since the day I left Origins SPI, it was on my heart to work for this company one day.
What have you learned through your experience working in treatment?
I’d say that I’ve learned an incredible amount about life in general. I think a lot of the time the assumption is that I am the one doing all the teaching, but the truth is that I learn more from the clients than they will ever know. My ability to work and communicate with people has been vastly broadened as a direct result.
One of the most beautiful things about working in treatment is the different type of people that you encounter. Not everyone can be approached in the same way, as what is effective for one person won’t be effective for another. Coming to understand this was a process, but I’ve found it to be extremely valuable.
What is more important: being right all the time or being effective? It’s entirely possible to be 100% right about what you are saying, but if you aren’t presenting it in an appropriate manner, you won’t be heard. The beauty in learning this is that it’s allowed me to ask myself this question regarding all areas of my life, not just work or recovery. I believe it’s accelerated my overall personal growth as an employee, a brother, a son, and a friend.
If there were only one thing you could tell us about working in the area of treatment, what would it be?
Probably how incredibly challenging it can be, all the while how rewarding it is. There is nothing better than helping someone find hope in a way they never had before. Getting to see the lights come on for a person who is hopeless is an experience that cannot be put into words!
I get to work one-on-one with clients and present them with the same message of recovery that was shown to me. When I was a client at Origins, the RA’s would teach from AA’s Big Book. It was so powerful that I would get the chills. I knew one day I wanted to be able to do the same for others, and now I am able to do that.
Do you hold any credentials or certifications, or do you participate in any other professional activities outside of work?
I’ve logged thousands of hours working in treatment. I’ve also taken about half the required training hours needed for my Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC) certification.
Are you in recovery yourself? If so, what do you love most about being in recovery?
I am in recovery, and I love the relationship with God that I’ve gotten as a result. It’s changed everything about my life and has given me a sense of purpose.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Do you have any pets or engage in special hobbies?
I love fishing: inshore, offshore or freshwater! I also love football and spending time with my friends, my family and my girlfriend.