What makes someone trade a lucrative career in the high tech industry for a career as a drug and alcohol addiction recovery counselor? Barry Francis was a purchasing agent Silicon Valley for twenty-four years, all while battling a drug and alcohol addiction to deal with stress and high demands of his work. In 1986 he successfully completed outpatient treatment with Pathway Society and stayed clean for almost fifteen years. But he relapsed, stopped going to meetings, and went to jail for selling methamphetamine at work. When he was finally able to get clean for good he realized he needed to leave his job in the tech industry. Working in the tech industry was stressful, demanding, and unrewarding. Barry wanted a career that gave him a sense of purpose.
He knew he had a desire to give back to the community that gave so much to him, and he felt his innate ability to connect with people would make him a good counselor. From his experience with treatment, Barry knew that drug and alcohol addiction recovery was something he was passionate about. Now he has been an addiction recovery counselor for the past nine years, and received his CADC II credentials from the California Alcohol and Drug Association of Counselors – special credentials given to those working in the drug and alcohol addiction counseling field long term.
When asked about what inspires his counseling he said, “I love seeing the light come on for people, seeing people change their lives, seeing people come back and thank the association and the counselors for getting their lives back. Although we’re not responsible for the direct change in their lives, we’re responsible for the road map to their success. We see things that they don’t see, we shed light on the things they may need to change, and we encourage them to move forward. I’m very passionate about what I do.” Barry works with immense compassion and his desire to share many years of experience with the disease of addiction make Barry a highly successful counselor. He has an enormous amount of patience, and his willingness to give people the time and support they need makes him an invaluable asset at Pathway Society, “[w]orking in this field for so long, I’m pretty good at reading people. I just take the extra time – maybe when I shouldn’t – but at the same time, when it works it’s a lifesaver. It’s important to me to be able to give that experience. Because I’m in the recovery community I hear people talk about how Pathway Society has saved their life. Pathway Society is a big part of who I am.”
His selflessness, compassion, and work ethic make Barry an excellent counselor. Barry says the biggest difference between his career in the tech industry and his career as a counselor is what he’s able to take away at the end of the day, “I loved [working as a purchasing agent] in my early life because I was young and energetic. Now I take that same energy and apply it [to counseling]. There’s no deadline, but there’s life. It’s much more rewarding than watching a machine go out the door to watch someone come back and be proud of their work with recovery. And that I helped them.”