Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Substance Abuse Counseling Certificate Completed January 2009!

“Never let go of hope. One day you will see that it all has finally come together. What you have always wished for has finally come to be. You will look back and laugh at what has passed and you will ask yourself... 'How did I get through all of that?” Anonymous

In the mail I received a letter from the North Shore Community College, Registrar’s Office.

Dear Sherri:

Your application for graduation from North Shore Community College has been processed. I am pleased to inform you of your eligibility to graduate on January 15, 2009. You have earned a Certificate in Substance Abuse Counseling. Your diploma will be available on campus to pick up in February 2009.

You are eligible to participate in the annual commencement ceremony to be held on May 21, 2009.

Congratulations on your achievement and good luck in your academic pursuits.


Ms. Mel Potoczak,
Associate Registrar

OK – this may sound strange but I actually finished the Substance Abuse Counseling Program in May of 2007 – but technically I am considered a January 2009 graduate. WHY? Well, I wanted to waiver the "Intro to Psych" Course because I had other Psych Courses from my undergraduate and graduate programs. I sent the transcripts over to North Shore Community College – not to be transferred but to waivered as a course requirement. Somehow my paper work got “lost in the shuffle” and I waited and waited and waited to hear back regarding my request. In fact, I waited for TWO years!

All of my friends that I had classes with graduated and moved on to work in the counseling field. I stayed behind and worked at the North Shore Community College’s Computer Lab. I didn’t mind this so much but because I liked working in the lab and assisting with computer questions - plus I really enjoy being on the computer and writing my Toastmasters speeches and posting on blog. But since my hours have been reduced at the lab (along with many others) I realized it is time for a BIG change. And "CHANGE HAS COME".

Ironically when I was in Calgary attending the Toastmasters International Convention in August an instructor Joe from North Shore heard my interview with Bob Oaks on “Fighting Domestic Violence” that aired on WBUR 90.9 Boston NPR News Station.

This is the link if you want to read/hear it.

Joe was very instrumental in helping me to finally get my certificate because he was able to connect me with Mel from the Registrar’s office where I once again I filled out the paper work and waited and waited and then I opened up my letter of completion!

FINALLY it is official in January 2009 I will have my certificate and can get a job in the counseling field! Wish me luck - I will keep you posted since I am now "CERTIFIABLE" j/k - giggle and grin!
Oh and BTW - I have applied for a position here at NSCC that is perfect for what I want to do - allowing me to utilize my educational background and counseling skills.

Did your paper work or project ever get “lost in the shuffle”? How did you handle it? Did you give up? Wait a year or two like I did? Or did you address it right away?


Definition of Substance abuse

Substance abuse: The excessive use of a substance, especially alcohol or a drug.

(There is no universally accepted definition of substance abuse.)

A definition of substance abuse that is frequently cited is that in DSM-IV, the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) issued by the American Psychiatric Association. The DSM-IV definition is as follows:

• A. A maladaptive pattern of substance use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by one (or more) of the following, occurring within a 12-month period:

1. Recurrent substance use resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home (e.g., repeated absences or poor work performance related to substance use; substance-related absences, suspensions or expulsions from school; neglect of children or household)

2. Recurrent substance use in situations in which it is physically hazardous (e.g., driving an automobile or operating a machine when impaired by substance use)

3. Recurrent substance-related legal problems (e.g., arrests for substance-related disorderly conduct

4. Continued substance use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of the substance (e.g., arguments with spouse about consequences of intoxication, physical fights)

• B. The symptoms have never met the criteria for Substance Dependence for this class of substance.


1. A beginning; a start.
a. A ceremony at which academic degrees or diplomas are conferred.
b. The day on which such a ceremony occurs.


Graduation is the action of receiving or conferring an academic degree or the ceremony that is sometimes associated, where students become Graduates. Before the graduation, students are referred to as Graduands. The date of graduation is often called degree day. The graduation itself is also called commencement, convocation or invocation. At the University of Cambridge, it is known as general admission. In the United States and Canada, it is also used to refer to the advancement from a primary or secondary school level.

When ceremonies are associated, they usually include a procession of the academic staff and candidates. Beginning at the secondary school level in the United States, the candidates will almost always wear academic dress, and increasingly faculty will do the same. At the college and university level, the faculty will usually wear academic dress at the formal ceremonies, as will the trustees and degree candidates. "Graduation" at the college and university level occurs when the presiding officer confers degrees upon candidates, either individually or en masse, even if graduates physically receive their diploma later at a smaller college or departmental ceremony.


Rosie said...

Congratulations my friend. Now it is time to move on with things and start a new life. Love it!

Sherri Raftery, M. Ed. said...

Thank you Rosie!

I hope to find something soon!


Abel said...

Congratulations, Sherri! I always knew you were certifiable!