Ep. 177 – Maya B – Masters Level Dope Addict to Masters Level Clinician

“I wanted to take something hard that I had to go through that was painful and help another human being to get through without struggling as hard as I did.” -Maya 

Today, Ben and I are chatting to Maya who is a full-time employee at Rock Recovery Center. She is here to talk about her past history and how she became a professional in the substance abuse space. 

Why Maya Chose to Work with Recovering Addicts

“I never thought that I’d be here working in mental health and the substance abuse field,” Maya says about her career choice. She is excited to be working with us at Rock Recovery Center and is an excellent fit for our team.

She was born and raised in Florida, growing up in an upper-middle-class family with a strong work ethic. However, both her parents were addicts, and her dad died of his disease. “I never felt a part of, or good enough, or that I belonged in any environment.”

Her parents divorced when she was one and didn’t have good relationships with her stepparents on either side. “I was an addict long before I picked up any substance,” as she was trying to validate her worth early on with love being conditional based on her achievements. As a result, she was a high-achiever in academics and sports. “It’s hard to maintain that level of expectations.”

Her First Drink at Age 15

She remembers feeling scared when she picked up her first drink at 15 and the feeling of the potential damage that could arise with drinking. “It’s like a switch flipped and it wasn’t very pleasant.” However, since there was some sense of relief, she continued with the addiction. It wasn’t long before her disease progressed and friends noticed. Dropping out of school in the next year, she moved from her prestigious private school to public school. 

Waking Up and Realizing Her Addiction

Having had opiates in her system every day of her life for over a decade, Maya was struggling just to survive. When she woke up in the medical unit of jail, she gave up hope and thought she would die. 

Listen in and find how Maya decided to become a mental health provider, why her recovery has to be separate from her work and clients, and her advice on how to deal with someone who is addicted.

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Show Notes:

  • [03:45] History and how she became addicted to alcohol and drugs.
  • [07:49] Maya now embraces herself with her flaws and strengths.
  • [08:30] Picking up her first drink at age 15 and the consequences of drinking.
  • [11:17] Trying to forge her identity as an adolescent.
  • [19:10] Her dad passes away and she ends up in jail for stealing a car.
  • [27:10] Why addicts can’t stop even though they want to stop the addiction.
  • [31:14] How she decided to become a licensed social clinical worker.
  • [33:44] Her personal experience navigating as a clinical worker and being in active recovery.
  • [34:22] How she separates her personal recovery and work life.
  • [43:16] Maya’s advice for families dealing with a loved one’s addiction.

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