|Deb with her beautiful family.|
More importantly, I have the privilege of having a marvelous friendship with her youngest daughter.
Thanks to that, I have been lucky enough to get to know Deb and her family. Among the many admirable characteristics they all share, the one that has always stood out to me is their genuine kindheartedness - and I'm pretty sure it stems from Deb:)
After graduating from Jamestown College in 1980, she worked for the Department of Human Services until recently retiring from working part time for the North Dakota State Hospital. She continues to work as the owner of a private practice for outpatient substance abuse counseling.
Current profession: Director and licensed addiction counselor at Addiction & Counseling Services.
Dream job: Wow, I have it! I get to do the work I still love after 33 years.
First "grown-up" job: Waitress at the local cafe in the town I grew up in (Wimbledon, ND). For anyone who has never waitressed, I have to say it is hard work! I remember coming home exhausted!
What drew you to counseling? When I was younger I wanted to be a counselor because I wanted to help people. It didn't take me long to realize that it wasn't so much about helping people as it is about helping people find the strength we all have inside. So I don't feel like I really help people, but rather guide people to find their answers.
What is your biggest challenge? Keeping my energy level up. I find that managing my own business can sometimes be overwhelming. I sometimes have to tell myself, "Relax, breathe, it will get done."
What advice would you give someone pursuing a similar career? First of all, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. Sometimes people think they will make a lot of money - not so. Be prepared to learn to get to know yourself so you can separate yourself from the clients you will work with. In the beginning this work can be very emotionally exhausting. It is important to learn how to protect yourself emotionally. Finally, if you feel passionate that this is what you are supposed to do with your life - go for it! It can be draining and exhausting but very rewarding!
What advice do you wish you could give your 25-year-old self? This isn't about careers, but about life. Embrace every moment. Appreciate what you have; life will go by very fast, and some of the things that bother you now won't even feel important as you age. Time will pass, and you can't go back.
How do you define success? Doing what I love, the blessing of family and friends and time to enjoy and appreciate them.
Who has been your biggest influence? My mother. She suffers from dementia, and in the last year I have found myself aware of how much of who I am I get from my mom; the way I parent, the way I nurture, the way I express affection, the way I celebrate holidays and traditions, my skill in the kitchen - they all come from my mom.
What hobbies do you enjoy in your spare time? Gardening, reading, scrapbooking, spending time with my kids and my grandson. He is six, and I tell him he is my favorite little boy in the world. He giggles, and it warms my heart.
Favorite ice cream flavor: Easy - rocky road. All those almonds and marshmallows -yum!
Thank you, Deb!