21 Mar Toby Nicholas, Residential Clinical Counselor
When did you know that working in addiction recovery was for you?
I’m a person in long-term recovery and I didn’t have a typical path to addiction. Prior to finding recovery, I remember thinking to myself, “I don’t look like what an addict should like; I haven’t been homeless or spent time in prison, I haven’t lost family or friends, I’ve been able to hold my job. How can I possibly be an addict?” While in treatment, I realized that I was no different than those around me; we had different stories, but a common bond. Our lives had been totally consumed by substances. I remember mistaking many of the participants for staff members based on their appearances. It dawned on me that I was part of the problem; I was making an assumption about people based solely on their image while knowing nothing about their background. At that moment I recognized how flawed the stigma and perception of addiction truly is. After treatment I told myself, “I am going to do whatever it takes to try and shift the way society views addiction. I don’t know what it will look like, but slowly, one step at a time, I am going to make a difference.” I haven’t slowed down since. I am incredibly passionate about this work and I use that passion to better myself and those I work with each and every day.
What does daily wellness look like for you?
I begin each day with prayer and reading a daily devotion. This reminds me to never take what I have for granted. I also try and get outside as often as possible. I love to ski and get up on the mountain as often as possible during the colder months. I spend the majority of my time in the summer months on the golf course. Golf has brought me so much in my life: a sense of patience, an escape from the daily rollercoaster of life, friends, and a common interest with my father and brother. Recognizing the need for self-care can never be overemphasized. It is essential for everyone.
You were recently promoted to a Residential Clinical Counselor. What do you most look forward to in this new role?
I am incredibly grateful and thrilled for this new role. The Foundry has given me opportunities I never could have imagined. I am most looking forward to being able to support our participants in a more direct fashion. I will be able to facilitate more groups and I know how much impact the groups have on the participants. I have a slightly different approach on how I convey hope to the participants and it is exciting to be doing this on a consistent basis.
What do you enjoy most about working with The Foundry participants?
Seeing their laughter! I am a strong believer in the healing power of laughter. Just a short while ago these individuals were at the lowest point of their lives. Seeing them laugh and start to see the joys in life again is truly incredible.
What advice do you have for someone who is unsure about entering residential treatment?
I would encourage them to question whether they are living a truly fulfilling life. They need to ask themselves, “would my childhood self be proud of the person I am today?” If the answer to that question is “no”, then it’s time to make some changes. If you believe that substances are part of the roadblock in your life, seek help. Nobody has ever regretted finding recovery.
Favorite meal in Steamboat?
Chicken Piccata from Mazzola’s
Last book you couldn’t put down?
I need to read more. It is not a daily routine of mine. However, the last book I couldn’t put down was Way of The Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman.
Favorite spot on the ranch?
The yurt! The atmosphere in there is without comparison. It provides an inviting environment that promotes authenticity, honesty, and vulnerability.