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Jesse Chaison, Family Engagement Specialist at Spectrum’s New England Recovery Center, has a special connection with our clients, as he was once a client himself. Just before Christmas in 2010, Jesse arrived at Spectrum Health Systems’ inpatient program for drug and alcohol addictions, where he remained for 8 months.

In an effort to feel like he “fit in,” Jesse began drinking at the age of 12.  It wasn’t long before he began using marijuana, cocaine, and other pills. Jesse’s substance use became a big issue within his family, and child protective services eventually placed him in a foster home. His addiction continued, resulting in several interactions with law enforcement authorities.

Despite the turmoil, Jesse managed to graduate high school and soon moved to Florida with his parents for a fresh start. Things were going well for a while but soon took a turn for the worse. After yet another alcohol-fueled arrest, his parents bought him a return plane ticket.

“I was homeless and moved around to half a dozen cities,” Jesse said. “I was incarcerated for two years on and off. Life in general just wasn’t going well and I felt that I couldn’t function without drugs and alcohol.”

During his last period of incarceration, staff at the correctional facility talked to Jesse about seeking treatment for his addiction, and that’s when he was introduced to Spectrum Health Systems.

“This was my first program,” he said. “At the time, I didn’t think it was going to do me any good but as it turns out, treatment opened up a whole new world for me. I realized that I can be sober, and I don’t need alcohol to function.”

As a result of his recovery, Jesse was able to connect with support groups for people with addictions and also found community within his church. Later, he got married, was baptized in his church and has maintained lifelong connections at Spectrum. He even joined our team as a case manager at the New England Recovery Center in 2017 so he could help others like himself. Today, he continues to further his education and is studying to become a certified drug and alcohol addiction counselor.

Jesse graduated with honors from Assumption College with his Bachelor’s degree after completing his Associate’s degree through a community college in 2013. Today, he works as a Family Engagement Specialist in the detox unit at New England Recovery Center. Working in the field of addiction allows Jesse to help others that are seeking a life of recovery.

“No matter what your situation is, you’re not too far gone,” he said. “You can get help.”

Addiction may be your past, but it does not and will not define your future.

If you’re struggling with addiction, know that recovery is possible for everyone. If you need help, call the New England Recovery Center at 844-500-6372.

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