Celebrating Recovery: A Full Circle Story
Recovery Month was founded in the United States in 1989 and since then has grown to be a worldwide celebration of the gains made by those in recovery. Every September, communities come together to “Go Purple” to celebrate individuals in recovery, recovery programs, and service providers that are dedicated to making recovery in all its forms possible.
At Hudson Behavioral Health, celebrating recovery is a daily occurrence as we witness patients experience recovery wins for the first time. For the most part these recovery wins, both big and small, are celebrated behind closed doors for the privacy of our patients. In honor of Recovery Month, we’d like to share the story of Sheila Kroon, whose transformational journey has led her from being a patient at Hudson to now serving as an integral member of our staff.
Q: Can you share with us a little bit about your addiction and what led you to recovery?
A: I started using at the age of 16 and continued until I moved from New York to Maryland when I was 44. Once I arrived in Maryland in 1998, I came to Hudson to receive treatment. I was introduced to 12-step meetings which changed my life and led me in a direction I had no idea God would present me with.
Q: After starting recovery, what inspired you to pursue a career in it?
A: My recovery was life-changing in every sense of the word, and I was so thankful to Hudson for what they did to help me that I was inspired to find a way to give back to the organization and newcomers to recovery. I went to school and earned my Certified Supervised Counselor-Alcohol and Drug (CSC-AD) credentials. Just four years after I entered recovery at Hudson and stopped using, I started working there as an Admissions Counselor.
Q: How do you apply your personal experience in recovery to your career at Hudson?
A: I have to separate my personal recovery from my patients and my work, but my position as an Admissions Counselor means I see patients straight off the street as they’re entering our program. Empathy plays a huge part in the way I approach newcomers, and I’m able to give them what I was given, which is a sense of self and encouragement that they can do this.
Q: Recovery wins come in all sizes – share with us something worth celebrating in your recovery.
A: My biggest recovery win is not to use. Every day is a miracle and I know now that this road of recovery was always my path, I just had to find the road.
Q: Is there a moment in life that you’re proud of that wouldn’t be possible without recovery?
A: Family means everything to me. I have nine grandchildren, one grandchild on the way, and one great-grandchild on the way. I’ve been honest with my grandchildren about my path, and I’m proud to say that none of them have ever seen me use. One of my biggest motivators every day is to set a good example for my family, and for them to know they can always turn to me for help.
Another accomplishment I’d like to share is that during my time away from my position here at Hudson, I opened and ran four recovery houses for people who needed help rebuilding their lives. Giving back to the recovery community is a very fulfilling and rewarding part of my own recovery.
Q: Relapse is a reality in recovery. Do you have any words of advice for those that are currently struggling?
A: After eight years in recovery, I relapsed because I thought I knew better than those who were guiding me. I humbled myself, returned to Hudson for treatment, and started my road all over again. I remind myself as well as newcomers to keep recovery first. If you keep recovery first, everything that’s promised beyond your wildest dreams will happen, but if you put anything in front of recovery, you’ll lose it all. I also like to use the phrase “put the bat down and pick up a feather.” Stop beating yourself up over the things you’ve done – you can’t move forward if you don’t leave the past in the rearview mirror. Don’t forget your past but know that every day you don’t use is a win.
Today, I’m 15 years clean. I’m vigilant every day and I continue to do the work necessary to stay in my recovery. I’ve accomplished so much that I never thought was possible until I came to Hudson. It really is full circle for me – I didn’t just start my recovery journey at Hudson, I started my life here.
Sheila Kroon | Admissions Counselor
Hudson Behavioral Health was formed in 1980 (as Hudson Health Services, Inc.) to bring the first residential recovery program to the Eastern Shore. Today, thousands of patients later, we remain the leader in recovery programs and resources, with our staff of 100 committed to serving each patient as an individual.