Take 5 Spotlight – Mike Hooper
Nobody gets to recovery from a good place, and Mike Hooper was no exception. “I reached out to the VA crisis line because my addiction to alcohol had reached a point of total destruction of my life.” Hooper, a veteran who is now SMART’s Ohio Outreach Director, says he hadn’t connected with any type of recovery program and felt like he was out of options and headed for more trouble. Then he unexpectedly found SMART Recovery.
At first, he was cynical and skeptical about whether it could help, but it turns out his concerns were completely wrong. One big reason it worked for him was that he had never come across a self-empowering pathway like SMART that put the participant in the driver’s seat while providing practical tools and mutual support, “[it] began my road to self-management, acceptance and forgiveness.”
Now he is a SMART employee and spends his days connecting SMART with people and organizations. Mike says his best reward is being able to pay it forward by helping to save lives from addiction and maladaptive behavior. Based on his own success, he has a lot to contribute to the cause.
Here are Mike’s responses to the Take 5 Spotlight questions:
- Are there tasks you perform regularly during your workday? Basically, anything to do with creating new connections, which I really enjoy. I do this throughout Ohio and beyond by sharing the specifics about the SMART Recovery Program and how it can be an asset to individuals and organizations.
- What are a couple of the ways you interact and coordinate your job with other national office staff? I love being part of a newly developed Outreach Team with Jessica Shapiro and Cheryl Simmons. It’s a welcome change to be able to work directly with headquarters employees on a regular basis.
- What is one of the ways that you think you personally make a difference at SMART? I feel the most direct impact I’ve had for the organization is bringing awareness about SMART and its resources to others who didn’t even know we existed. It gives me great pride to make a connection with a potential recovery resource so that they can utilize us directly in their recovery efforts.
- What is your message to all those dedicated SMART volunteers across the country? Three for the price of one: you matter, you are the reason we’re saving lives, you are SMART Recovery!
- What kinds of things are you interested in outside of work? There are so many—fitness, family, reading, writing, MMA & boxing, gaming, Japanese language and culture, movies, and singing.
It’s clear that Mike believes that Life Beyond Addiction includes embracing new experiences, enjoying a wide variety of people and activities, and just plain having fun. He knows that he’s not wrong about SMART this time—it’s a pathway to a happy and healthy life.
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