“I’ve always wanted to reach a point where I have initials behind my name,” Mack Cook said with a laugh. “I just want to keep moving up.”
Cook–who is the Behavioral Health Technician Supervisor at Georgia Addiction Treatment Center in Peachtree City, Georgia–now has the opportunity to do just that. This week, he was accepted into the CARES Academy in Georgia, a quarterly classroom experience for those in the Atlanta area to become Certified Addiction and Recovery Empowerment Specialists.
Cook, who has been clean for more than five years, has been with Georgia Addiction Treatment Center close to three years. With his opportunity at CARES, he will be able to continue his work as BHT Supervisor–where he works closely with clients–and begin facilitating group sessions at the center.
“I’m already right there with the clients, but CARES will give me more education about addiction and recovery,” Cook said. “I have a lot of experience and I help a lot of people, but this will give me more training and the ability to help people in different avenues.”
Cook’s CARES academy experience begins on October 19; he will participate in 40 hours of in-class training, with informal lectures and interactive workshops. The CARES Academy says the program focuses on “developing skills such as Motivational Interviewing that enables CARES to provide quality peer recovery support services.”
In addition to touching the lives of many clients, Cook has a significant impact on his colleagues.
“Mack strives daily to become a better person, not just for himself, but for others,” said Andrew Widota, the Director of Operations at Georgia Addiction Treatment Center. “Here at Georgia Addiction Treatment Center, we are absolutely thrilled to showcase the success of such a great employee. Mack has grown by leaps and bounds since being employed by GATC and shows no sign of slowing down. Couldn’t be more proud.”
Cook says that in addition to becoming CARES-certified, he also has interest in becoming a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist in Georgia. With many blessings and opportunities at his fingertips, Cook remains humbled and grateful for all that a life in recovery has given him.
“I’m still in awe,” he said. “After 32 years of active addiction, during which I’ve been homeless or living under a bridge, I’m going to new heights. This is amazing.”