In a small room lit by fluorescent lights reflecting off the cold white tile floor, a group of adults form a silent circle. To the left is a small wooden table like one found at a community yard sale, decorated with donuts, cookies, and coffee. Some participants hold steaming paper cups in shaking, wounded hands, while some retreat into themselves, staring at the floor with a hint of shame on their faces. At the top of the circle I sit, peeking over my glasses down at a clipboard with names and numbers on a piece of scrap notebook paper.
I begin the day’s meeting, “Today I want to talk about regret.”
Several individuals peek up from their coffee or raise their eyes from the floor and meet mine with a pleading glance, some anxious to speak, others hoping to remain silent. These are the addicts I call first, for they have the most to say.
“We all have regrets, what’s important is to learn and grow and live in the present. We can always change.” I end the meeting, and dismiss the group, taking time to talk to a few members personally.
This is my future, after years of earning my Bachelor’s degree and certification in substance abuse counseling, helping addicts reclaim and rebuild their lives the way I have. In this way, I can spread my message of hope to those who need it most, and change society’s perception of happiness and success, one troubled soul at a time.