Two decades ago, the last thing on Bobby Tsow’s mind was becoming a drug and alcohol counselor. Instead, he was focused on finding his footing on the journey to living clean and sober with the help of Central City Concern: he took the first big step at Hooper Detox, gained support through the Recovery Mentor Program, and found housing in CCC’s Family Housing. As fate would have it, 20 years later, Bobby is widely known and well-regarded in the community as a steady, compassionate counselor.
“People at CCC recognized some qualities in me that I didn’t recognize in myself. I realized I wanted to be of service because of all the service that was afforded to me.”
As a counselor at the CCC Recovery Center, Bobby facilitates a number of groups throughout the morning and meets one-on-one with patients in the afternoon. He also runs a group for individuals in recovery from substance use disorder who also experience and manage chronic pain that Bobby started when he realized that people on opiate-based pain medications were often unable to access treatment. Bobby worked closely with the Old Town Clinic and the CCC Recovery Center to develop a carefully tailored curriculum for the group.
He’s come to understand that building trust with those receiving treatment is paramount and has become adept at findings ways to relate. Letting clients know that he, too, identifies as someone in recovery has been a powerful way of gaining the permission he needs before going to work with a client. “It’s not an ‘us-and-them’ situation. It’s about connection.”
Today, unsurprisingly, Bobby says he can’t imagine doing anything else.
“Seeing the life come back into people’s lives, witnessing people reuniting with their kids, celebrating years of recovery –that’s why I love my job. I wouldn’t want to do anything else for the rest of my life.”
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Bobby's story is part of Central City Concern's week-long series to celebrate National Health Center Week by highlighting just a few of the many extraordinary people who make the work of CCC's health centers possible. The week of August 9 through August 15 is a time to recognize the services and contributions of health centers that provide affordable, high quality, cost effective health care to medically vulnerable and underserved people throughout the United States.
Learn more about CCC and National Health Center Week by reading a post introducing this series from Leslie Tallyn, CCC's Chief Clinical Operations Officer.