Their Recovery Has Helped Others Stay on Track

by Erin Walsh, Manager
Community Care Behavioral Health Organization

For Aubree Schulte and Dwayne Williams, the journey to become community health workers within Community Care Behavioral Health Organization (Community Care) was not an easy one. Both are in recovery—Dwayne for 19 years and Aubree for 8 years.

Aubree started using alcohol when she was 11 years old. “From the very first sip, I couldn’t stop. Drinking and using helped me escape and cope with life. With my family and I always fighting and being teased and bullied at school, I felt like my only friends were drugs and alcohol.”

Dwayne’s journey began in 1989, when he first identified with addiction. “I’m recovering from many substances—drugs, alcohol,” he said. “Getting into trouble led me into recovery. I went into my first rehab in 1989. I was clean a few years, relapsed in 2001, then joined a 12-step program.”

He has worked in peer support since 1992. He applied for a job with Community Care as a Community Outreach Recovery Specialist (CORS). In this role, he collaborated with social workers and others at four UPMC hospitals. Now, Dwayne works to get members connected to recovery resources.

“Meeting with people and letting them know that recovery is possible is the best part of being a community health worker,” said Dwayne. “Letting them know that they can change their life and that there is an upside to addiction.”

Dwayne Williams, Community Health Worker

Aubree says that using led to many poor decisions. “I was extremely co-dependent, and at the same time I didn’t trust anybody,” she said. “I was able to work on myself with medication, intense therapy and EMDR, and the 12-step program. I had a sponsor, and I worked the steps. I then sponsored other women and gave back what was so freely given to me. I’ve gotten married and gave birth to two beautiful baby boys. I am also a stepmother to an amazing stepson.”

Aubree says that she loves her job and is always happy to come to work. “My job gives me a purpose that I could have only dreamed of,” she said. “I would have never imagined that I would be where I am today. Community Care has been a huge part of my recovery for the past five years, and I am forever grateful for that.”

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