She Always Had Time to Talk

September 18th, 2018

After almost three decades of service at DLC, Nancy Scheffer, who helped thousands of people, is lauded with a Lifetime Recognition Award.

Nancy Scheffer will never forget that time, years ago, when she was working the midnight shift at David Lawrence Center when a male client came out of his room and asked, “Can we talk?”

To Scheffer, a substance behavioral health technician, the answer was a no-brainer. Of course she could talk. She always had time to help someone struggling to break free from addiction.

After almost 29 years working in rehab at DLC, a career in which she touched thousands of lives (including her colleagues), Scheffer recently decided to retire.

David Lawrence Center showed its gratitude with a special Lifetime Recognition Award.

“This award really touches my heart,” says Scheffer. “It tells me that my work and the work of all of my team members at Crossroads has not gone unnoticed to the administrators of DLC, the board members, and all of those citizens involved in the recovery community.

“Our success in the community is not measured by the number of clients who complete our program but by the powerful, positive message that is stated on a daily basis by those who have gone through the program. They go back out into the real world holding their head higher, their burden and guilt and shame lesser, and with the hope that they can complete this journey. This is all possible because our clients know that we are available to them 24/7.”

Which brings Scheffer back to that midnight shift when the man, who had previously attempted suicide, wanted to talk. He told Scheffer he didn’t know how he could live without alcohol.

“He thought it was his friend,” remembers Scheffer. “The booze took his fear away. He told me nighttime was the most difficult time because there was no one to talk to.”

But Scheffer was willing. She explained the spiritual aspects of the 12-step program, but the man wanted nothing to do with religion. Scheffer told him to put his faith in “G-O-D,” meaning the Good Orderly Direction. She told him about the “FROG” concept, meaning “Fully Relying On God,” and showed him a little frog on her desk, a reminder that we never have to feel alone.

They talked a while before the man stepped outside for a cigarette, to think about things. Moments later, he returned in tears. He had looked skyward, seeking that higher power. At that moment, a frog jumped off the roof, landed on the table, and looked straight at the man.

He went back inside and told Scheffer that he believed.

“He also said he hoped to develop a better-looking higher power than a frog,” says Scheffer. “He completed his program, became a sponsor, built a business, married and then was given the opportunity to help other addicts and alcoholics on a daily basis.”

That’s just one of many stories Scheffer remembers from DLC, working first with children and then adults.

“My job allowed me to interact with our clients and help them to find a power greater than themselves and their drug of choice,” she says, “to make the changes necessary to become a clean and sober participant in society. The most satisfying part of my job is watching a client evolve into a person of character, dignity and grace.”

In her retirement, Scheffer remains active in the recovery community.

“I am not sure what my future holds,” she says. “But I do know my past is a treasure full of memories and unconditional love for my job, my co-workers, and my former clients. I will be making plans, but not planning the outcome. Someone greater than me has that taken care of.”

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