Kristi knows how debilitating addiction can be.
“Living with addiction is like living a walking death,” she said.
Kristi Martarano BS, CADC, CCPG, is Clinical Director at The GateHouse. Like many of her colleagues, she was also once a client at The GateHouse working toward her own recovery. She’s been in the same shoes as each client she serves and knows exactly how it feels to battle addiction.
Her journey brought her back to The GateHouse to support men and women just like her. Today, she’s restoring our clients’ spirits by breathing life back into each one of them.
Even Before Addiction Treatment, Kristi Knew She Wanted to Help Others Like Her
Kristi spent years in and out of addiction treatment before finding her way to The GateHouse in 2004. When she arrived, she went through each phase of the treatment program, found a sponsor, and got a job. Suddenly, she was held accountable for doing the hard work necessary for success in recovery.
“While in recovery at The GateHouse, more was expected of me than in just about any other time in my life,” Kristi said. “I discovered that I was capable of much more than I realized.”
Before treatment, Kristi had a desire to someday be a counselor. Working with her counselors and other clients in the program during her time in addiction treatment reignited her passion to help others on their own journey towards recovery.
“Spending time with counselors was a very powerful part of my journey,” she said. “And, going through the program with other strong recovering people, like my now-colleagues Cyndi and Kendrick, helped me get through. I had this recurring feeling that I could help other people find recovery, too.”
She Didn’t Realize Then That She was Learning the Life Skills She Would Eventually Use to Help Others
When Kristi left The GateHouse after treatment, she knew helping others in recovery was meant to be her life’s work. So, she went to school – studying alongside our Clinical Director of Outpatient Services, Kendrick Westmoreland.
“After school, I found my way back to The GateHouse,” she said. “They hired me, and I began working my way up. They gave me several opportunities to grow within the organization, including the chance to be a counselor.”
Breathing Life Back into Each Client by Giving Them a Voice
Today, Kristi is the Clinical Director who oversees the programs at The GateHouse Mountville and The GateHouse Marietta. She’s still involved with counseling, running the Seeking Safety group meetings, and working with clients to get feedback on the programs offered by The GateHouse.
“I’m always looking for ways to better support our clients,” she said. “I give them a chance to provide input on the programs, suggest different activities, and listen to any other ideas they have about how we can best provide support.”
Intentionally listening to every one of her clients at The GateHouse is what’s allowed Kristi to make such a big impact in their recovery and their lives.
“When you’re struggling with addiction, you don’t have a voice,” she said. “There’s a stigma attached to addiction and no one cares what you have to say. In a lot of cases, our counselors are giving our clients a voice for the first time.”
She explained that when you have a voice, you feel alive and have hope.
“Whether you’re feeling scared, sad, happy, or experiencing any other emotion, the fact that you’re feeling an emotion means you’re alive,” she said. “I’m a part of a program that gave me life. And, now I get to breathe life back into others.”
During this year’s Extraordinary Give, please join us in ‘Giving Extra’ to our community members as they embark on their journey to recovery and to living healthy, meaningful lives.