Benjamin Wilson: Pathway to Recovery
|Benjamin Wilson, left, with Bev Warman, WVC Chemical
Dependency Studies program director
Benjamin Wilson operated a front loader at Zosel Lumber Company in Oroville until he was laid off in 2009. With assistance from the Worker Retraining program, he enrolled in the Wenatchee Valley College at Omak Chemical Dependency Studies program.
Ben had never gone to college before and was in recovery himself when he entered the program. “He had a pretty long personal journey to get back into school,” said Bev Warman, WVC Chemical Dependency Studies program director.
He received encouragement from Warman; Dr. Julie-Tate Libby, a part-time sociology and anthropology instructor; and Brian Morgan, a part-time psychology and sociology instructor.
“He was one of the most interested and active students I’ve probably ever had,” Warman said. “He was very passionate. He always wanted to know how he could take this information and apply it. His enthusiasm and energy were always right there.”
Ben far surpassed the 250-hour field study required for the program. He completed 200 hours at The Sanctuary, an intensive in-patient program at Lake Chelan Community Hospital, and another 225 hours at Morgan’s private practice in Omak. After completing the initial 50 hours with Morgan, Ben was invited to continue working as an interning mental health counselor. He helped clients set and achieve treatment goals that resulted in a higher level of functioning.
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) granted Ben’s chemical dependency professional (CDP) trainee credential in February 2011, and he graduated from the chemical dependency studies program in June. He now works as a full-time counselor at The Sanctuary, where he will complete the 2,500-hour internship under the supervision of an approved chemical dependency professional that is required by the DOH before he tests for his CDP credential.
Ben now applies the lessons he learned from Morgan to his own job, where his case load includes working with patients who are in recovery from chemical dependency, who require medical monitoring (such as amputees and diabetics), and who have mental health disorders.
“I learned the ability to empathize with an individual, being as close to where they’re at without being overwhelmed,” Ben said. “There’s always a reason why people act as they do.”
Living and working in Chelan, Ben is now able to see his 10-year-old son more often, and he’s continuing his education at the WVC Wenatchee campus. After completing his transfer degree this June, he plans to take a short break before beginning work on his bachelor’s degree. His goal is to earn a master’s degree in social work and become a licensed mental health therapist.
“I have a passion to help people who are suffering and to see families restored,” he said. “I want to be the best I can, and I’m really blessed to be able to do this.”