Substance Abuse Counselor, Morrison Correctional Institution, Hoffman, North Carolina
A few years after graduating from North Moore High School, Stan Matherson enrolled at Sandhills Community College as a transfer student. He completed his classes and headed to the University of North Carolina Greensboro to pursue a degree in accounting. He didn’t complete the program but did find employment in a variety of fields before becoming a truck driver.
When he started driving trucks, he finally felt that he had found a job that he really enjoyed. However, in2002, a life-threatening accident with a dump truck ended his career. “I had two ruptured discs and a severely injured knee, ”Matherson explained. “When the doctors told me that I couldn’t drive trucks any more, I felt crushed.”
“I turned to Sandhills,” he said. “It was the best thing I could have done. I met Professor Carol Hoffman, coordinator of the Human Services Technology program. She genuinely wanted to know about me, my goals and my passions.”
“I told her everything about myself and my past. I told her that I was once a drug addict, that I had been in prison and that I loved driving trucks. She told me that even though I couldn’t drive trucks anymore, I could use my other experiences to help others. She suggested that I consider going into counseling. Even though I had never thought about counseling as a career, I realized that I do enjoy helping people.
“My instructors, President John Dempsey, and other faculty and staff at Sandhills did everything they could to help me,” he said. “Every time a problem came up, someone helped me develop a solution. They always told me: ‘Keep up with the academics and don’t worry about anything else.’ They never wanted anything to come between me, my education and my career goals.
Matherson excelled in his studies. He was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for community college students.
“I learned so much in my program, ”he said. “One of the most important things was that in order to keep my sobriety, I have to give it away. What this means is that I have to tell my story. I have to share my experiences, and in doing so, I inspire others to know that sobriety is possible.”
He interned at the Morrison Correctional Institution where he was hired as a substance abuse counselor. Matherson later earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Andrews Presbyterian College and is working on a certification in Substance Abuse from the North Carolina Substance Abuse Board.
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