Could we get some brief biographical information from you? Hometown, previous experiences in recovery, educational/vocational track etc?
My name is Ryan Jarrell, and I’m the Program Coordinator at Green Hill Recovery. I was born and raised in North Carolina, and although I’ve spent time in different spots all over the country, I always seem to circulate back into the Chapel Hill / Carrboro area. Professionally, I’ve worked a wide variety of jobs, mostly in the restaurant industry, although I’ve also spent some years as a journalist in South Florida.
Perhaps the most direct experience I bring to Green Hill is my own personal struggles with drug and alcohol addiction and experience with recovery. From the beginning of my teenage years, my life became centered entirely around substance abuse, mental health disorders and the unmanageability that accompanies those afflictions. ‘Blissfully’ delivered into sobriety in 2012, I have, through continuous immersion in 12 step programs and the communities that surround them, managed to maintain my sobriety. I’ve also been able to fulfill aspects of my life I thought were completely closed to me, such as maintaining successful careers, entering back into academic life, and having a long term domestic partnership.
What precisely does Green Hill’s Program Coordinator do?
The Program Coordinator is responsible for ensuring the wellbeing and security of our Transitional Living residents as well as the training and general culture of our programming team. Essentially I lead the team that lives and works with residents on a day to day basis at the house. I handle a lot of logistical stuff – scheduling, budget oversight, etc., while also participating with our residents in their recovery, both as a group and on an individual basis.
One fantastic part of my job is working to help give our residents more agency in their life while a part of our program. Things like finding work, getting back into school, and ultimately making choices about who they want to be and how they want to move forward; this part of my job is extremely fulfilling.
What first made you want to work for Green Hill Recovery?
My journey to Green Hill was actually much more kismet than the arduous application process. One night I happened to be discussing my vocational track with a close friend of mine, concerned that I was slipping back into a service industry track that I wanted to avoid. The next morning, a staff member at Green Hill who I knew called me out of the blue and asked me if I wanted a job! I’m not someone who sees a lot of coincidence in their life, but that was kind of spooky.
What keeps you coming back day after day?
Two things entirely: first, I just really enjoy mixing it up with young men in recovery. There is likely nothing these guys have done, nothing they’ve felt that I haven’t experienced one way or another. My ability to relate with them helps with easing the recovery process a little bit and this provides me with some of the sincerest career satisfaction I’ve ever felt.
Secondly, I love that Green Hill is still an expanding company. This growth allows even the new Program Facilitators I work with the ability to provide input into all kinds of arenas. It’s really a great place to work. I feel valued not just by my guys, but by the leadership team, and that’s something that hasn’t always been present in my previous professional experiences.
If you could give a new program team member one piece of advice, what would it be?
The number one thing I would tell a new Program Facilitator is not to worry, you’re part of a much larger team. It’s fine (and sometimes vital) to reach out and bounce ideas off of other members of the program staff, the clinical team, even the leadership team. We’re all on this journey to recovery together.
When you’re not at work, what do you do to recharge your batteries?
Daily meditation and frequenting 12-step recovery groups are a huge part of my internal support system. I discovered yoga while working at Green Hill, and have found a small, daily practice really helps keep me balanced. I would add gardening to the list, since it’s a frequent activity of mine, but to be totally honest it generally stresses me out.
What makes Raleigh a superb environment for young people in recovery?
Between the large and diverse recovery community and all the vocational and academic opportunities available, I can’t imagine a better and more stimulating place to be a young person in recovery than Raleigh. There’s so much to do, and a variety of people that one can safely do it with.
What’s one memory you’ll always carry with you from your time here at Green Hill?
Without a doubt watching the guys process a difficult issue in IOP. I get to see these young people talk through interpersonal conflicts with so much maturity. Each time I am genuinely astounded by their progress and willingness to grow.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
To treat my partner like she fulfilled all my expectations. That singular sentence has done more to change my relationship than anything else.
What was your dream job as a kid?
I always wanted to be a novelist, an aspiration I’ve stubbornly refused to let go.
What’s one message you’d wish our residents would always carry with them?
That no matter where they are, no matter what they do, the love and tolerance of the recovery community is always there for them.
Quick facts about Ryan
Favorite album: Let It Be by The Replacements
Favorite movie: Blade Runner, most cuts
Favorite book: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Top karaoke song choice: Backstreet Boys, I Want It That Way
Dream vacation: Winter in Vietnam
Favorite spot to visit in Raleigh: Cup A Joe on Hillsborough Street
Favorite Green Hill activity: Yoga with our own private instructor, JA
Guiltiest pleasure: I will watch literally any movie starring Sandra Bullock. Any. Movie. It’s not even out of attraction. I just like her demeanor.