One of my earliest memories is of my parents having a really scary argument. I was probably about 4 or 5 years old. They were screaming at each other from across the dining room table and didn’t see me when I walked past them on my way to the basement door, my secret safe spot where I could hide and cry when I was little. It was a place where I hid from my dad because I knew if he ever saw me crying he would give me something to cry about. My dad was a tough guy; a U.S. Marine during the Korean War. After the war, he got a job as a press mechanic. He worked his fingers to the bones in a dirty old brickyard, and spent his off time drinking in a run-down corner bar.
We were a low-income family living in Brooklyn, Maryland, a depressed neighborhood in South Baltimore. My dad was a chronic alcoholic and our family was deeply affected by the disease of alcoholism. Like my Dad, I also found alcohol very young, and started using illicit drugs by age 10. My last complete year of school was the 5th grade. I grew up fast, and I grew up hard. I experienced most of the horrors of addiction.
Fortunately, like my Dad, I would eventually find 12-step recovery, get clean and sober, learn how to live, and find a new happiness and freedom I never imagined possible. Today I am in recovery, and my Dad beat the disease of alcoholism. My sobriety/clean date is August 22, 2006. My Dad died on August 19, 1998 with 15 years, 4 months, and 19 days sober. Every day he reminded me that no matter what day of the week it was, he didn’t drink on that day.
After getting clean I returned to school, graduated from college, and built a life far beyond my wildest dreams. Recovery is an amazing process, and I believe it comes with a responsibility to help others and to practice living life in a manner that demands rigorous honesty. I love my life today. I practice living in accordance with the spiritual principles contained in the 12-steps of AA/NA. I believe in the recovery message that any addict/alcoholic can get clean, stay clean, lose the desire to use, and learn a new way of life. We do recover – and recovery is a wonderful gift we have to give away in order to keep!
In November 2011, I was selected (1 of 20, out of 20,000 applicants) as a recipient of the prestigious National Pearson Prize for Higher Education for my commitments to education, community service and leadership. I launched a non-profit organization called The IMPACT Society, providing prevention and intervention educational programs and services. The IMPACT Society works in partnership with SADD Nation, the leading prevention education program in the world. Our goal is to see a SADD chapter in every Maryland middle and high school. The IMPACT Society not only fights substance abuse and promotes recovery, but also works diligently combating bullying, teen-pregnancy, dropouts, teen suicide and other destructive decisions.
In May 2013, I became President of IMPACT DUI, LLC. A few months later I assumed ownership of Right Turn of Maryland’s drug and alcohol programs, under our new company name IMPACT DUI. We brought the heart of Right Turn and the passion and professionalism of The IMPACT Society together in an effort to fight addiction, reduce recidivism rates, improve public safety and help save lives. We are building on Right Turn’s legacy, which provided recovery and treatment services to more than 50,000 people since its inception in the early 1980s in Massachusetts.
As a new CEO, my first moves at IMPACT DUI (Formerly Right Turn of Maryland) included relocating the program to a new facility, downsizing the program’s capacity, and assembling a new team of vetted, passionate professionals who share the same desire for helping others and providing quality services as I do. Our hard work is quickly establishing IMPACT DUI as one of the most affordable and effective recovery and treatment programs in the Mid-Atlantic region. Our commitment to constant quality improvement will never rest.
Today my life is an open book, and I operate IMPACT DUI and The IMPACT Society in the same transparent manner. I believe in keeping a professional, open door policy with all of our operations. My professional experience in marketing, working as a client advocate/court liaison and helping professional, coupled with my real-life experience including more than 30 years of knowledge of addiction, treatment programs and 12-step recovery have groomed me for the leadership position I am in today.
I am extremely proud of the amazing work my team is doing. I give all the credit for our progress and early success to the amazing individuals, staff/team members that surround me. We would be nowhere without teamwork! Together we do things we could never do alone. The work we do is truly making a difference. We will always remain available to the community, offering our help in any way we can.
I am excited and encouraged as we embark on these relatively new endeavors. I want to sincerely thank everyone who has helped us, encouraged us, and believed in us as we built this organization over the past several years. Now let’s make an IMPACT.
IMPACT DUI, LLC.
The IMPACT Society, Inc. (Non-profit)