When I went back to school in 2007 I thought I had found the career that would take me to retirement and would provide me with the type of fulfillment that I was looking for. I was right, kind of. Being a Pharmacy Technician is certainly something that I am proud of and I could absolutely continue working where I am and have the pensioned retirement that I had planned on. What I hadn’t planned on though, was being introduced to something that would set my mind on fire and pique my interest so much that I would spend the next 7 years reading and researching and wishing for a different career path.
I remember the first time I ever watched the show Intervention, it was a game changer. I couldn’t stop watching, episode after episode, all the facts and information was filling my mind and I couldn’t get enough. I bought Addicted, a book based on the HBO series by the same name. It was full of personal stories, but more importantly with facts and information with regards to the neurological and physiological side of addiction. Teaching me the changes in brain function and chemistry with the use of different substances. It had a chapter in it that had some inclusions by a man named Gabor Maté, a Canadian physician working in Downtown Lower Eastside of Vancouver, a well known area for its drug use and homelessness “problem”. I went to the bookstore and bought his book In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts. It introduced me to the concept of dependance vs. addiction, to the societal consequences of addiction and the fallout from that, including disease and poverty, homelessness and the sex trade, crime and punishment. I learned about inSite, a safe injection site in Vancouver that allows active drug users a safe and supportive environment for them to use as well as access to healthcare providers and addiction support staff.
Over the next few years I did some more reading and research, but focused more on raising my family and on building my career. Never though, did the yearning or passion wane. Sometimes, I felt guilty about the fact that I had already gone back to school for what was supposed to be my career, but I knew that this was not something that was just going to go away.
So here I am, filling out my application for the McMaster University Addiction Careworker Diploma program. I never imagined at this point that I would be able to “go back” to university, but McMaster offers this program which is mostly or all online (depending on the electives that you choose) and it is going to allow me to continue to work and raise my son and follow my dream. I am ecstatic. McMaster University holds a special place in my heart. I have relatives who taught here and when I was younger my plan had been to become a doctor and attend Med School here myself. While that plan obvious has gone by the wayside, this seems to be a serendipitous chance in my life to make my wish of being an Addiction Treatment worker a reality.
I could easily apply to a hundred different programs at career colleges or online schools, but none of those programs seemed right. I want to learn and reciprocate my knowledge at a University level. I want to be among others who are thinking and functioning at my level or beyond. I want to be able to succeed at this career and be a resource for other people. I want my colleagues to value my input, not that they wouldn’t if I didn’t attend University, but I feel like the people with a PhD are going to appreciate and look at staff member with a university level education differently. And lets be honest, having that on a resume certainly isn’t anything but an advantage.
So, let another new chapter begin! (As long as they will have me, of course!)