How does a recovering addict with a criminal record become a drug and alcohol counselor?

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I’m a recovering addict with over 4yrs clean and sober. I have been through rehab and feel that only a recovering person can truly know what another addict is going through. Having said that, I am wanting to get my degree and become a counselor.
Question is can I with an extensive criminal background.
thanks for any input

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16 Responses to How does a recovering addict with a criminal record become a drug and alcohol counselor?

  1. and so says:

    get certified there are a lot of courses out there

  2. cyruspatten says:

    There are still options for those with records. Recovering addicts can be great counselors. But the specific requirements depend on your state. Look up drug and alcohol counselor certifications in your state and find out who manages them. (There’s always an agency in charge of licenses and permits for electricians, plumbers, counselors, etc.)

  3. celery_is_the_enemy says:

    I know a person in this same situation. That person has gone through recovery as well and they want to do the same thing– become a counsellor.

    I think you should be able to achieve this. The places that my friend went to, well they all offered that person a job because they ended up talking more than the real counsellors did in all of the sessions. You might want to talk to some of the recovery places around in your area and just ask for a job. I have never tried any drugs, but people say that the best counsellors are those that have been there and back and recovered because you truly know what those people are going through instead of just patronizing them with a bunch of psychological B.S. that any person just learned through books at a college.

  4. Beez says:

    I admire your courage. I totally agree with you about taking one to help one. Try NA. and AA to see if anyone there knows where you can get a lead on counseling. There are many places that don’[t require a degree. If your rap sheet includes violent crimes, it’ll be a little rough to convince people you’re a changed person. But try. If you have to, start off as a volunteer.

  5. Faerie says:

    Yes you can. Just go to college and get your degree. As far as I know there are no restrictions.

    Good luck and Congrats on the 4 years. My sons father never was so lucky.

  6. LENNON3804 says:

    a (LADAC) Licensed Addiction Drug Alcohol Counseler is usually a recovering addict and 75% of addict have criminal records due to the nature of the disease. you need a Bachelors degree and specialized training in a work study..somewhere like Hazelden or Bradford..Below is a downloadable form called ..Becoming a counselor

  7. bradys_mommy says:

    I’m almost 6 years clean. Congrats!

  8. janis n says:

    Yes, you can. First, call your state drug and alcohol board. They will send you all the qualifications. In my state, you must be off probation to become certified. You can work toward earning it while on probation. An addict can help another addict. But so can others. Trained professionals. If you had cancer would you expect the doctor to have had cancer too? Think about it. Good luck!

  9. Angeljerk says:

    The only thing that could hold you back are felonies with in the past 7 years.
    My cousin did exactly what you are wanting to do, he loves it.
    I wish you luck!

  10. heir_to_christ says:

    Well done on your sobriety!

    The good news is – yes you can go on to be a counsellor.

    I work with recovering addicts myself, and have known of many people to go on and work with others, because just as you have said, you know exactly what others are going through.

    Some organisations will only employ recovered addicts. I am in Swansea, in the Uk and W.A.C.A.D.A. prefer to employ recovered addicts as Counsellors. You can go on to their website, if you type W.A.C.A.D.A. Swansea into your search engine.

    I wish you all the best in your career.

  11. Annieo says:

    I applaud your efforts! I am sure you can be a substance abuse counselors. It would be a good profession for you because you are able to relate to the people you may be helping. You could probably go to your local community college to start with an A.A. or certificate in Substance Abuse Counseling. You may not be able to recieve Government Financial Aid depending on your criminal record. But starting there is much cheaper, and once you begin working, you can pay your way through a B.S. or B.A. if you desire. Good Luck!! :)

  12. dornalune says:

    in each state, the certification process and the program name is different… the link below will give you a good idea of the requirements for a CASAC (chemical addiction and substance abuse counselor) in NYS… do a search specific to your state on *drug counseling certification*(your state) and you should find stuff that will be helpful to you personally

    the agency I work for runs a program for people with mental health diagnoses and histories of CA or SA and a criminal justice background… they are eligible to become CASACs so unless it varies by state, your background should not stand in your way… might just be harder to get hired but your lived experience is WAY valuable to those who need empathy and connection

    congrats on your four years! when I think of clean time though I multiply it out because staying clean and sober is often a minute by minute decision so appreciate yourself… you’ve been clean +/- 2,102,400 minutes!!!

    best of luck :)

  13. Boopie says:

    My boyfriend is a recovering addict with a criminal record and working to get his degree in Drug & Alcohol Couseling. Let me tell you that nearly half if not more of D&A counselors have a history of drug abuse, and quite often a criminal record. My boyfriend asked his teachers and they told him so. Many of them had a terrible history and record but became counselors because of it.

    If it is a sexual offense then it might make a difference. My boyfriend had a DUI, and theft on his record and spent about a year in prision. Weapon possession, I’m not sure but probably won’t make a difference. Obviously possesion of drugs won’t make a difference. But other than that, it is no problem because they expect that in that career. It is actually a bonus because you understand and can relate to your patients unlike other people. Good luck you won’t need it because you will make a great counselor, only don’t start using again. Some couselors do and that isn’t a pretty sight.

  14. Thomas says:

    I am glad to hear that there are others like my self,I am in college and trying to become a DNA counselor.Life is extra hard for ex-felons trying to get their life srtaight,I wish I could come up with a plan to help those like myself.Any suggestions welcome-thomasclinkscales@yahoo.com

  15. Noneya says:

    In response to the woman who said “you don’t have to have had cancer to be a doctor”- and “think about it.”
    But you can’t have any kind of record and be a doctor- you just need to have come from a pretty stable background- where you were valued and encouraged. There are many of us who have not been so blessed. We are the nameless, faceless ones. We carry the weight of a hypocritical society that seems to think that if you break the law (get caught breaking the law) that you no longer have value. That is absolute and udder B.S. We have the right to be Drug and Alcohol councilors- and any thing else we qualify to do! We haven’t lost our talents, intelligence, and abilities- because we got caught breaking the law; no more so than someone who becomes a Doctor and has, at some point broken the law, but was fortunate enough to not get caught. Now of course, I’m talking about misdemeanors here. Because when you get caught for a felony, you do lose some of your rights. But even that is for a limited time only. A criminal record was never meant to be held against someone for the rest of their lives. Not everyone who is convicted of a crime is a child molester or homicidal maniac. This country has gotten quite hypocritical and paranoid.

  16. alyson mackenzie says:

    I live in Scotland and I have been clean for more than 3 years. I am also a qualified nurse. So far I have been unable to commence a counselling course due to my criminal conviction. I have written to various charities and have had no luck either as you have to pass the enhanced disclosure check. Any suggestions would be much appreciated

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