Frontline Worker Spotlight - Chuck Scullin
People open up to someone when they have similar experiences. We know this in our own lives. Having common ground and sharing similar backgrounds brings people together. That is the premise behind Peer Recovery Specialists—individuals with lived experience are able to coach someone with a familiarity and understanding that builds trust. Chuck Scullin, Substance Use Specialist, is one of 15 peer specialists working at Community Care Alliance who meet people where they are in their recovery and offer a representation of hope embodied in their own successful life changes.
When asked to tell us something important about himself, Chuck said, “I'm in recovery myself and understand the fears and obstacles to get clean and sober.” He says it is most rewarding when a person struggling opts for a higher level of service to help themselves get stronger.
Another rewarding moment for Chuck was when a cocaine dependent person went into the hospital for a leg amputation. “She was already wheelchair bound. She actually had a specialized wheelchair for playing tennis and we would play and talk about recovery. We had been talking for almost a year. When I went to visit her in the hospital she was in a very good mood and said she was done with drugs. She went from pre-contemplation to action stage in a week, and as of this past July she was 2-years substance free.”
Chuck looks in on 34 people enrolled in Community Support & Recovery Services to see if the they are doing okay or if they are struggling on any particular day. He says that the part of the job he likes the most is the team approach as this collaboration informs him about his clients' needs and struggles. Chuck also facilitates a Relapse Prevention Group that has been temporarily discontinued due to COVID closings.
Senior VP of Community Support & Recovery Services, Mary Dwyer, said that when COVID19 surfaced and there was a need for staff to step up with tasks not usually part of their role, Chuck stepped up bigtime. He has been available and ready to help with unmet needs of clients and daily operations, including driving the van to take presumptive positive clients for COVID testing and providing a shuttle service for those who need to go grocery shopping.
“Chuck is a ‘go to’ worker in many ways. He is able to engage challenging clients. His nonjudgmental demeanor and willingness to help makes him approachable, not only to clients, but also to staff,” said Ms. Dwyer.
Chuck started work at Community Care Alliance as a Recovery Peer Support Specialist and transitioned to a Substance Use Specialist just over a year ago. He maintains his peer support certification and is on target to receive an Associate degree and license as an LCDP (Licensed Chemical Dependency Professional) at the end of this year.
The difference between a Recovery Peer Specialist and a Substance Use Specialist is in training and focus. Chuck maintains his certification as a peer, but his participation in training for his license for substance use counseling allows him to provide all of the core functions of a licensed substance use counselor—screening, assessment, engagement, treatment planning, collaboration, referral, counseling, as well professional and ethical responsibilities under the supervision of a licensed substance use counselor. Amy Skurka, MA, LCDP, LCDS, CCDP-D, CCJP, QMHP, Coordinator of Co-occurring Services is that person, and says, “Chuck is a caring and dedicated clinician. He meets his clients where they are at in their recovery. Chuck does not give up easily, and is always willing to go the extra mile to help his clients and fellow workers.”
As Ms. Dwyer said, “Chuck has been an outstanding employee not only as a peer specialist and then a substance use specialist, but also as a flexible helper during this pandemic. CCA is lucky to have him.