Wilmington Treatment Center, a facility of CRC Health Group | Transformation of the Individual |
Published in the September/October 2012 issue of print Search & Employ® |
Mary Dowd, a former mastery gunnery sergeant in the Marine Corps, is now a part-time substance abuse counselor at the Wilmington Treatment Center (WTC), a CRC Health Group facility in North Carolina. In the Marines, she served in that same role as well as performing duties as administrative chief. Her main responsibilities at WTC include assisting the clinical team-facilitating groups, working in individual sessions, and providing educational lectures to patients.
CRC provides specialized behavioral healthcare services. The company has programs for those with drug and alcohol addiction, learning differences, weight management issues, eating disorders, and other issues.
Dowd has been a WTC staff member for four years. Her greatest passion is working with participants in the Operation Recovery clinical program, including active and retired military. Dowd has also been instrumental in restructuring the program to include educating staff on military culture.
After Dowd retired from the Marine Corps, she became a substance abuse counselor on a base. When Marines returned to base from WTC, she was excited to hear the feedback and learn about the treatment, care, and services offered at WTC. When Dowd decided to seek employment in the civilian community, WTC was “the place she wanted to be.”
Dowd was fortunate to receive specialized training as a military substance abuse counselor while in the Marines. But some of her credentials were not recognized in the civilian community, so she decided to pursue her master’s degree in counseling, utilizing the GI Bill. She now recommends that veterans “make sure military credentials transfer to the civilian side of your desired profession.”
She believes WTC is a great place for veterans to work because it offers a strong foundation of teamwork, the entire staff is devoted to helping patients get well, there is a strong sense of community, and the passion of the staff is unending.
Dowd acknowledges that the shift from the military community to the civilian community can be difficult. “Look at the transition with an open mind, and have a lot of patience,” she said. “You go from a culture which has significant amounts of structure and a commanding officer telling you what to do, to one that seems like chaos. Upon transitioning into the civilian community, you need to be flexible and willing to learn new systems.”
She has some recommendations for anyone leaving the military. “Keep up with your education, always be open to new situations, and have a good sense of who you are outside of the military,” she said.