Could we get some brief biographical information from you? Hometown, previous experience, education, etc?
I was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan and relocated to Weddington, North Carolina, just outside of Charlotte, when I was ten years old. I played lots of sports growing up but ended up finding a passion for lacrosse and played year-round through high school. When I wasn’t playing lacrosse or partying, I spent my time playing ultimate frisbee, disc golf, guitar and going to see live music.
I developed an addiction to painkillers after several sports-related injuries and quickly became dependent on them. I was a highly functioning addict and managed to graduate high school with a 4.5 GPA. I attended North Carolina State for 5 years until I was expelled as a consequence of my behavior and struggles with substance abuse.
My journey towards recovery started shortly after with my first stay at an inpatient rehab in Palm Springs, CA. I managed to stay clean for a short period of time after that, but spent the next 5 years going in and out of various levels of treatment, eventually moving to even more dangerous forms of substance abuse. After a very serious hospitalization caused by my addiction, my family cut all ties with me. I found my way to a long-term residential treatment program for the homeless called The Healing Transitions of Wake County. I stayed at Healing Transitions for 15 months to complete their program and then pretty much started from scratch.
Since then, I have built a joyous and purposeful life for myself full of fun and supportive people, including the family I mentioned earlier. I joined the Green Hill team during its infancy and pride myself both on helping build it into what it is today and the bold direction it’s moving into the future. In my free time, I enjoy taking trips to the beach, travelling to see my favorite band (Phish), playing darts, disc golf, and socializing with friends.
The most important parts of my recovery are service work and maintaining my physical and mental health. I visit my former treatment facility on a weekly basis to volunteer and help other men in recovery.
What do you believe makes Green Hill stand out in its field, and why?
Green Hill stands out for one reason: we genuinely take a vested interest in each one of our clients, as opposed to treating them as just another dollar sign. Our small, tight-knit staff and the work culture that surrounds it helps us support our residents to be their best.
What keeps you coming back day after day?
Knowing that I will most likely have fun at work and that I will have the chance to make a difference in someone’s life.
If you could give a new Program Coordinator one piece of advice, what would it be?
No matter how hard you try, you can’t make someone change. You can only give them the tools they need. The rest is up to them.
What’s one memory you’ll always take with you from your time here in Green Hill?
I’ve always been fond of our Holiday work parties. It’s fun to have everyone in the company in one place and watch their personalities come to life. The white elephant gift exchange never disappoints.
What’s one thing your hometown could be known for, and why?
Where a lot of the Panthers reside.
What does your ideal day look like?
Assuming this day is a weekend, I’d like to wake up around 10 and go for a 3 mile run followed by some weight lifting. After that, I’d want to go eat brunch with my girlfriend at one of our favorite spots – Tazza Kitchen. Later on, we head to the pool with some friends and cook dinner. Later in the evening, we would head over to the pool hall to shoot some darts and then come home to binge-watch shows on Netflix.
How has your family impacted the way you approach your life in recovery?
The best thing my family ever did for my recovery was push me away so that I could no longer manipulate or lie to them. I’m sure it was hard for them, but it was what needed to happen for me to take responsibility for my own life.
What’s one message you wish our residents at Green Hill would always take with them?
I have two, but I think they’re equally important. First, don’t let your past define you. And second, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Quick Facts about Jay
Undergraduate school: North Carolina State University – in progress
Desert Island movie: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Favorite book: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Favorite album: Live Phish Volume 17 – Portland, Oregon 7/15/98
Dream vacation: Thailand
Top karaoke song choice: Debra by Beck
Favorite spot to visit in Raleigh: Cedar Hills Disc Golf course
Favorite meal: Sushi
Dream job as a child: Rockstar
Favorite Green Hill activity: Beach Volleyball