Employee Spotlight: Peer Recovery Coach Deb Lewis

May 8th, 2019

“My Job Is a Dream Come True”

As a Peer Recovery Coach, Deb Lewis loves nothing more than helping her clients stay on the road to sobriety. After all, she’s been in their shoes.

Deb Lewis gets a little choked up when talking about her job as a Peer Recovery Coach at David Lawrence Center.

On the verge of celebrating 34 years of sobriety herself, Lewis is humbled that she has the opportunity to help people on their own road to recovery.

“I’m sorry,” she says, her voice cracking. “But this is a job I wanted for a long time. It’s like a dream come true for me. It’s a miracle.”

Lewis struggled with substance misuse from the ages of 14 to 24, but has now been clean for more than half of her life. It hasn’t always been easy – “It hasn’t been rainbows and butterflies,” she says – but she has faithfully adhered to 12-Step programs, while fighting the good fight. Now she’s helping others do the same.

She uses an “accountability” form to help keep her clients on track, asking the same 12 questions at every meeting. Questions include: How many people are in your support network? What recovery materials did you read this week? How was your week, successes, miracles? Challenges or struggles? Do you have a dream, goal, or intention for the future?

Lewis says when she struggled with self-esteem as a young girl, she wanted to be a psychiatrist someday, “so I could figure out what was wrong with my brain – and to help others.” But she grew up in a home of addiction and chaos, and no one in her family had ever gone to college. She didn’t either… but now she has her dream job.

“I don’t have any letters behind my name,” she says. “But I’ve lived this program, and it’s an honor to now help others, and to be paid for something I love so much.”

She is now pursuing certification as a peer recovery counselor.

Lewis cites a couple of “success stories”– a young man who faithfully keeps coming back, and a mature woman who is making better life choices – and says they make her work more than worthwhile. “Those stories make my day. Actually, my week, my life.”

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