An Interview with Michele Jackson, Director of Alumni Services

Posted on July 27th, 2012

When clients come to Promises and meet Michele Jackson, they find a partner in recovery for life. On any given day, Michele can be found making follow-up calls to alumni, checking in on how they’re doing and offering help as needed, and coordinating in-state and out-of-state alumni meetings, events and reunions.

In all of her interactions with clients, Michele comes from a loving, kind place. She is honest, outgoing and positive, and strives to give each and every client as much knowledge and care as she possibly can.

“It’s vital to our clients’ success that they know we’re still here for them after formal treatment ends,” Michele says. “Promises will always be a safe place they can call upon to keep them grounded in their new life.”

Because Promises alumni have so many ways to stay in touch, many stay closely connected through the alumni support network. Before each client leaves treatment, Michele supplies them with information about the resources available to them along with the phone number of a fellow alumnus who lives in their area.

Alumni frequently come back to meet with clients that don’t have weekend visitors and share their stories of hope and strength with current clients. Many attend weekly alumni meetings (every Wednesday locally and monthly in Phoenix, San Francisco, New York and Chicago) as well as the holiday reunion and summer beach party. Those with an artistic flare can attend an artists’ group every other week, where they play instruments, sing, read poetry and express themselves creatively while leaning on others for support.

Working Toward a Common Goal

This level of care and support is part of what attracted Michele to Promises. Although she had tasted the joy of working in recovery in previous jobs, she knew that working in a highly regarded treatment center like Promises would allow her to make a real difference in people’s lives. She applied for an overnight tech position and moved her way up as an office manager and eventually to her current position as director of alumni services.

What has kept her at Promises all of these years is her ability to work with a close-knit team of professionals that truly cares about its clients.

“We are all working together toward a common goal: to see that our clients are well taken care of and get to experience amazing lives in recovery,” Michele says.

Sharing the Rewards of Recovery

Michele not only guides clients in their long-term recovery but is actively involved in her own recovery program. Originally from Washington state, she moved to southern California to distance herself from negative influences and get a fresh start. Although it took a while for change to take place, she eventually created the life she had imagined. With eight years clean and sober, working at Promises is much more than a job to Michele.

“I do this work because I want to share what I have with our clients,” she explains. “When people first come to Promises, there is nothing there – they’re empty and bankrupt. To see the lights come on in what would otherwise be really dark souls and to help give them a second chance at life is immensely rewarding.”

The lessons Michele learned in her own recovery guide her work with alumni at Promises.

“I used to think I was in charge of everything and I had to do it all. Now I have my higher power to lean on for strength. I’ve learned that I don’t have control of everything and I don’t have to,” says Michele. “If I could give people anything it would be the message to give yourself a chance because recovery really does work, and life is so much better this way.”

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