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SAM COHEN – From the Front Lines

SAM COHEN - From the Front Lines

When I step back from my job as a case manager at Turnbridge, I often ask myself what is my purpose in the lives of these young men and their families. The well-known proverb “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear,” comes to mind. In my vocation, most of the time the student is not willing because he does not believe there is a greater life available to him other than the one he has chosen to accept. I have heard a notion that “normal” people will change their behaviors to fit their hopes and dreams, while a young alcoholic or addict will change their hopes and dreams to fit their behaviors. What I work on initially is to help the young man understand that for years he has been closing doors on a future that he didn’t know was even open to him. I try and work to help him see that the doors are now opening again, and sometimes even new doors with endless possibilities are being opened based on the decisions that he is making in the here and now. My goal is to support the client in building a vision of the man he aspires to be. I do this by helping him to dissolve the barriers that have been created in his life through drug and alcohol abuse. Most young men at Turnbridge have never envisioned a future where they would be sober, so this task can be daunting at first. This is where I find my life experiences, my education, and my own recovery becomes of maximum service. A client typically just wants to know that someone else can understand how he has thought and felt throughout his life. We share our experiences with each other and I help him to see that my sobriety took on a purpose when I began showing up for life (Our Phase I Model) clean and sober. It’s a long term process with many struggles along the way but seeing a young man become a son again to his family is a gift that makes my own recovery and career worthwhile.