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Employee Spotlight – Substance Abuse Counselor

3 minute read

Employee Spotlight Series is back with more of Footprints to Recovery’s Rockstars!

Beyond our degrees and titles, we’re also real humans endlessly passionate about the fight for those struggling with addiction. Our DreamTeam is made up of many hard working talented individuals with interesting stories to tell. In our Employee Spotlight series, you’ll meet some of these people, learn what they do (on and perhaps off the clock), and how they keep Footprints to Recovery growing and flowing — just the way we like it.

This month’s Employee Spotlight Series features Mona LeClaire, BA, CADC – Substance Abuse Counselor. As a Substance Abuse Counselor Mona works with patients on an individual, group and family basis. She’s often a patient favorite and we understand why!

What gets you out of bed in the morning?


Gordy my greyhound gets me out of bed in the morning. Wait now, hear me out. Gordy is eleven, and has been a wonderful companion for nine years. He was retired early from a Florida racing kennel because, well, he wasn’t a winner, too big and just not into running. That was career number one for Gordy. Career number two was a job much closer to his big heart. He became a therapy dog for Footprints to Recovery. January 1, 2015 Gordy came to work with me and was such a hit with our patients that he was allowed to come to work every Friday. In the following months the value of pet therapy was proven by Gordy. Big, gentle Gordy took time to greet every patient in the morning community group. A patient once pointed out to me that he seemed to linger a little longer with new people he hadn’t met. After meeting Gordy, patients who were down, who didn’t smile or share would open up and start telling me about their own dogs. He brightened their day. Gordy loved his time in the office, and the whole office loved him. He even earned employee of the month February, 2015. He really is the best.


In your opinion what is the most unexpected reward people get out of treatment?


I don’t know about other treatment facilities, but at Footprints I think one unexpected reward for patients is discovering that they can have a lot of fun in recovery. Last summer one of my patients went on a fishing trip with her peers. With a big smile she described how she experienced this wonderful epiphany. On the boat, in the summer sun with fishing rod in hand, she realized she was having the time of her life, and sober! It was a defining moment for her.


What is your motto or personal mantra?


As my friends know, I am a collector of quotes. I have been texting a group quote every morning for the last six years. Should I ever forget, someone is sure to let me know. It just makes me feel good. My two favorite topics are gratitude and hope. Keep a daily gratitude journal and it will change your life. And, never, ever give up hope. The very first quote I sent remains one of my favorites, “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies,” by Stephen King from The Shawshank Redemption.

What message do you wish you could provide family, friends, or addicts around the world?

Hope. Never give up hope. I have been so inspired by Johann Hari’s Ted Talk, “Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong.” The opposite of addiction is connection. Check it out.


If you missed our last Employee Spotlight, check it out here.

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