I was born in Buffalo, NY and was adopted at 6 months. I had a pretty “normal” childhood. Once I got into my teens, I began to experiment with alcohol. Upon entering college, I progressed to other drugs. During my freshman year, I experienced a psychotic break. Despite this, I continued to abuse drugs. Somehow, I managed to graduate from college and was able to land my first real job. Throughout these years, I was in counseling and had many inpatient psych stays. It was a recurring cycle of hospitalization, recovery, and relapse. It all came to an end in 1988 when my counselor referred me to a 12-Step program; which I still participate in today.
Addiction Counseling is My Calling
Since that time, I returned to school and earned my Masters degree in Student Personnel Administration and became a Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor. I worked as a substance abuse counselor for six years in the 90’s and then entered the world of higher education where I worked for twelve years primarily doing Admissions-related work. Two years ago, I made the decision to return to counseling and joined Horizon Health Services as a mental health counselor with a specialty in addictions.
I have also been involved in several mental health/addictions-related projects over the last 5 years. I wrote a book entitled Working on Wellness: A Practical Guide to Mental Health (Chipmunka Publishing). I also developed a 10-week college prep program for the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center. I speak regularly in the Western New York area and have presented at several mental health conferences. I am currently on the Board of Directors for the Mental Health Association of Erie County. I am on the planning team for the United Church of Christ Widening the Welcome Conference. I am also the Honorary Chairperson for the 2012 Road 2 Recovery Mental Health 5K and Wellness Walk. I have been published in the Buffalo News and will be featured in the Spring 2012 edition of BP magazine (On My Mind).
Karl Shallowhorn Welcome Video
In my first video for the Debunking Addiction blog, I share a bit more about myself and my hopes for the blog. I hope you’ll come back often and read my articles and share your thoughts and addiction experiences in the comments area. We can definitely learn from each other.