By Lauren Olson, Face It TOGETHER Evaluation Intern
Published June 17, 2021
My name is Lauren Olson and I am Face It TOGETHER’s summer 2021 Evaluation Intern! I was introduced to Face It TOGETHER as a loved one when I was in high school and became very interested in what they provide for both persons with addiction and their loved ones. I currently study clinical and counseling psychology at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO and have an innate passion for helping others.
In the summer of 2019, I lost my father to long-term health effects caused by addiction. My scope of study was heavily influenced by his passing. Since the loss of my father, I have narrowed my educational focus toward mental illness; grief and loss; and the use of substances and their physical, social, mental and emotional effects. With our baseline knowledge of Face It TOGETHER and a longing to do something in remembrance of our Dad, my siblings and I put a campaign together a year after he passed to increase awareness and raise money for others on their recovery journeys.
Sharing our story publicly helped erase some of the stigma surrounding my father’s sudden passing and pushed so many people to reach out to us with their own stories. People expressed sympathies and shared their experiences with addiction, both personally and as loved ones. It became even more apparent to me after doing this that unique help, especially in a more conservative state, is absolutely necessary. Through that process, I was able to learn more about what’s needed within the world of recovery support. I also learned about the gaps Face It TOGETHER fills and hoped I would have the opportunity to get involved in their work someday.
At the start of my internship, the majority of my knowledge about addiction was through lived experience. The only recovery strategies and concepts that I was aware of were strictly sobriety-based. Through even just my introductory coaching certification courses at Face It TOGETHER, I have learned so much about how long-term and multifaceted the recovery process is. The holistic and innovative approach Face It TOGETHER uses to combat addiction has made a significant impression on me and the way I will continue to approach the recovery process. I am so grateful for the chance to learn from the coaches and team members in Sioux Falls and Colorado Springs.
I wholeheartedly believe in Face It TOGETHER’s mission of helping people with addiction and their loved ones get well. Being able to see how the team here assists others with their aspirations – regarding their relationships, their career goals and their personal growth – is amazing. I hope to take my time at Face It TOGETHER and apply it to my own life: as a loved one still navigating addiction as it affects my family and as a student in the field of therapy. I’ve already expanded my education surrounding counseling and non-traditional peer support. I will be working with Face It TOGETHER until the beginning of August and am looking forward to sharing more about the work I'll be doing throughout the summer!