“You can’t keep what you have unless you give it away.”
This is the mantra by which Stephanie Caudillo lives and works. Her story is one of abundant generosity. In 1984, Stephanie went through treatment for a heroin addiction and alcoholism, but relapsed six months after completing her first treatment program. Her road to sobriety was long, and she spent fifteen years in and out of programs before she was finally clean.
Now that she has done the hard work and is living a sober life, she shares her experience with addiction with hundreds of girls struggling with drugs and alcohol. For Stephanie, opening up her own story and giving her strength to others felt like a natural progression after her own journey to recovery. She has a keen sense of the way the disease of addiction works and is quick to pick up on the signs of someone in need of treatment. She is firm, but extraordinarily compassionate and empathetic, exemplified by her warm personality.
Stephanie is passionate about helping people pave the way for healthy lives, and it’s the reason she applied to be a volunteer at Pathway Society fifteen years ago. “I have nothing but the utmost respect for Pathway Society. [Pathway Society] is very, very serious about their clients being clean. It is a safe place for addicts. The people working there make it safe and they are serious about who they hire. They work for the real suffering addict.”
Stephanie says one of the many reasons Pathway Society is the most successful treatment facility in the county is the staff’s ability to instill personal values to foster self-discovery and promote true healing necessary for long term change. The rigorous structure they implement is designed to maintain an environment of accountability, support, and safety, “[i]f you use, or drink, you’re out immediately. There is zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol.”
Pathway Society is a treatment program run by professionals who understand the depths of addiction because many have gone through the recovery process themselves. Stephanie believes this is one of the keys to their success, and something that sparked her interest in being a volunteer. She stresses the importance of having staff who can relate to addiction and identify on a personal level the signs of someone who is struggling, and believes that leading by example and sharing stories of success during treatment are uniquely important to an addicts recovery.
As a volunteer Pathway Society, Stephanie leads meetings, bonds with clients, builds friendships, and makes herself available as a resource for anyone looking for extra support on top of the work she does in her own life. She is a truly generous and caring spirit with many years of experience giving back to the community her knowledge and expertise and understanding the complicated ways the disease of addiction affects people’s lives.