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Staff Spotlight Joanna Ahern

Sep 19, 2021

Joanna Ahern – Alumni Care Coordinator for Center for Men’s Recovery (F-troop) at Hanley Center

What brought you to the field of addiction treatment? What brought you to Hanley?         

Before working at Hanley, I worked in the foodservice industry, and my life felt unfulfilled. I had a friend who worked at Hanley Center at the time, and I asked him what it was like to work there. He explained how life-altering it was to be a part of this company and people’s journey into sobriety, so I decided to change career paths and never looked back.

What is your favorite part about working with alumni?

While working in other departments at Hanley, you get so close with the patients but cannot follow up with them and their progress after they discharge. Now that I am a part of the Alumni Care Team, I constantly check in on my alumni, offer support, celebrate sobriety milestones, and utilize the experiences of alumni to help the incoming patients.

What have you learned through your experience working in treatment?

Human beings are fallible but also extremely resilient. Sobriety is not for the faint of heart. It is a difficult journey for many but also the most amazing gift you can ever get. If you are breathing, there is still a chance, and everyone deserves a second chance at life. We get to live two lives, and the second chance is even more miraculous than the first.

Do you participate in any professional activities outside of work? 

I will be finishing my bachelor’s in social work next semester following my internship and then pursuing my master’s in social work.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? 

I love to travel. I didn’t see anything outside of the basement in my mother’s house during my struggle with addiction. Now that I am sober, I realize how vast this beautiful world is and how much I took for granted. The most remarkable thing during my travels is learning how extensive the hand of Alcoholics Anonymous is. During one of my trips driving through the jungles of Costa Rica, I wondered if there were any meetings, and sure enough, I looked outside and saw AA written on a piece of cardboard with meeting times.

School is my primary focus right now, but I love CrossFit and exercise. For years I put poison into my body and did not realize how powerful I could be. Understanding that I possess physical and internal strength was transformative in my life, and I found that truth by getting connected with my body through exercise.

Hanley Center is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting recovery.

For information on our programs, call us today: 561-841-1033.

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