Could we get some biographical information from you? Where you’re from, academic history, professional history, experiences in recovery, family life etc?
I was born and raised in Westfield, New Jersey – about 30 miles west of Manhattan. My twin brother Anthony and I are the youngest – technically, I’m older than Anthony by 7 minutes… My sister Alyssa is the “middle child” and my brother Jon is the oldest. Anthony and I attended Seton Hall Preparatory School and I ended up committing to play lacrosse at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
I spent about 3 years at F&M before attending my first treatment center – after lots of ups and downs, I got sober in 2017 and started to put together a nice little life for myself. I began working in the treatment field at Hope for Families – an addiction counseling center in Greenville, SC. I moved from Hope for Families to Pavillon’s outpatient services in Greenville. While working at Pavillon, I met the love of my life, Ashley, and we were married in April 2020.
Ashley took on a promotion at work that allowed us to move anywhere we wanted in North Carolina. After looking up treatment centers in Raleigh and seeing Green Hill’s website, I knew this is where I needed to be. Ashley and I moved to Raleigh in August of 2020 with our dog Oakley to embark on our next adventure!
What precisely does a Program Facilitator do?
A program facilitator essentially lives life alongside our clients – I am a living example of someone who has literally been in their position many times, and came out the otherside. I think that uniquely qualifies me to help them throughout this process. Program facilitators are the boots on the ground. We make sure our guys are doing what needs to be done on a daily basis. From morning meds, to grocery store runs, getting the guys to the office, taking them to recovery meetings, beating them in ping pong – PF’s are in constant contact with our guys and help facilitate all the greatness Green Hill has to offer.
What made you want to work in the substance abuse field?
As someone in recovery, I find a great deal of purpose working in this field. I empathize a lot with our clients. I’m someone who has attended every level of addiction treatment as a client. I think because of my experience, I’m well suited to work in the field. I’m at a point in my life where I don’t know exactly what I want to do yet. I feel like I’m pretty good at working with young adult men who are new in recovery and for now it’s exactly where I’m supposed to be.
If you could give a new Program Facilitator one piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t take things personally and choose your battles. This is such a relational job, it’s crazy to think that you can really make anyone do anything. At the end of the day, I don’t have the power to change anyone. All I can do is show up every day to work with the best attitude ever and try and positively impact the lives of those around me. Every client is different and I treat them each individually. This allows me to seperate who they are from what they do.
What keeps you coming back day after day?
The laughs, the camaraderie, the shared struggle. Working with young adult men has me laughing nonstop every single day. It’s an interesting juxtaposition – alcoholism and addiction is such a serious deal, but we find levity and fun to get through it together. I would also be remiss if I didn’t say “the process”. When someone young and beat down changes their life, it’s a miracle. It is an honor and a privilege to be able to participate in the transformation process of young adult lives. I keep coming back for the miracles that unfold on a daily basis.
What do you believe makes Green Hill stand out in its field, and why?
We operate on a different level at Green Hill. The disease of addiction is interesting because no one exactly has it figured out. This makes for all sorts of different treatment approaches. Green Hill believes in developing young men who live with profound purpose. I didn’t get sober to just live some mediocre life! Therefore, we ask all of our guys to cast some sort of vision for their life.
We come alongside them in rediscovering their passions and interests and then get them moving towards that goal. This is a concept unlike any other sober living I’ve been to or worked at. The difference at Green Hill is our level of intentionality. Come to Green Hill for one day and you’re liable to see our CFO in the backyard of our house making concrete curbs (true story) to skate on outside. Olympic great Michael Phelps has this concept of “dream, plan, reach”. I think that goes on everyday at Green Hill.
When you’re not at work, what do you do to recharge your batteries?
My mental health is directly related to my physical health. When I’m off work there’s a very high chance that you might see me running or riding my bike around Raleigh. You will also find me on the lacrosse field, coaching varsity high school lacrosse. I find great purpose in coaching lacrosse, a lot like I find great purpose as a PF at Green Hill. Recharging my batteries looks like adventuring with Ashley and Oakley, exploring every inch of the research triangle! I’m a big fan of relationships, and so I try and fill my days off with time spent with people (as best as I can with COVID) because that’s what life is about!
What makes Raleigh a superb environment for young people in recovery?
Raleigh has it all. When I think about environments for people in recovery, I think about this concept of building “recovery capital”. Part of being in recovery is the idea of building “community recovery capital”. What that means is, for recovery to develop, it’s important for a community to have adequate resources to support the growth of one’s recovery. Raleigh has all of those resources. Especially for young adult men trying to get back on track.
We have the educational sector covered with NC State being walking distance from our house and other great institutions close by. The AA and recovery support group scene in Raleigh is thriving and has a heavy “young people” presence. The job market is increasing and projected growth moving forward is looking to be above the national average. Raleigh has got it going on!!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? How has that advice affected your day-to-day?
The best piece of advice I’ve ever received would probably be to lower my expectations in life. I can knowingly or unknowingly place expectations on everything and everyone in my life. I used to lack awareness of this and it would negatively impact a lot of my experiences. When I became aware of the expectations I was setting, I realized that my expectations were just opportunities for me to be let down at my own expense.
I understand it might be a tall task to “have zero expectations” of others, but I can tell you with confidence that on a day-to-day basis, I have very little expectations of others. I think that because of this, my interactions with others and relationships are much more enjoyable!
What’s the one message you’d like the parents and loved ones of our residents and clients to know?
Your loved ones are in good hands! From the top down, our Green Hill staff is bound together by a common thread: our desire to positively impact the lives of our clients. I see it everyday at work. I hope that the parents and loved ones of our clients know how much we as staff care. We care about your loved ones and want the absolute best for them. I will do everything in my power to help and be of service to them. Also, the TL house is just a good time! We have so much fun on a daily basis.
QUICK FACTS ABOUT JOEY
Favorite movie: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Favorite book: Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins
Favorite album: The Head and the Heart
Favorite podcast: Crime Junkie
One thing your hometown could be known for: Its quaint downtown – also Whitney Houston is buried there…
Dream vacation: Tanzania to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro
Favorite meal: Chicken Marsala
Dream job as a child: I wanted to play shortstop for the New York Yankees.
One thing everybody loves that you secretly hate, and why: Most social media platforms because I get too distracted
Guiltiest pleasure: Really whiny pop-punk music