As part of our ongoing series that highlights NHTI alumni, the following blog post is written by Guy Torgersen, who completed his Associate of Science in Addiction Counseling at NHTI in 2018.
I have an MBA in finance from DePaul University in Chicago. I spent 30 years in a technology sales career; at age 57, I felt a calling to make a career change. I had been frustrated as I got older and had to deal with corporate downsizings and layoffs. I felt that, the older I got, the more at risk I was for finding that next sales opportunity.
I have been married for seven years, and in 2015 my wife and I discussed whether it made sense to make a change. I had volunteered in the state prison system for 15 years and had learned to facilitate groups. I also have personal recovery experience. Alcohol was such an acceptable part of the life on the road, and I didn’t want a part of that anymore. My wife, Deb, was so encouraging and supportive of my decision to go back to school and get a degree in Addiction Counseling from NHTI. She told me, “Why don’t you follow your passion for helping others, and I will help support you until we adjust our lifestyle.” I was motivated!
I worked as a recovery coach at Hope for New Hampshire Recovery for a year, helping men and women get into treatment. I then moved to Helping Hands Transitional Sober Housing. I spent almost 5 years there, first as a case manager and then as a licensed alcohol and drug counselor once I had gotten my state licensure. I worked with people in need of sober living coming from a treatment program, homelessness, and prison or jail.
NHTI offered me so much! I knew they had an excellent reputation in New Hampshire for their program, which rivaled other bachelor-level programs. I was able to go for my associate degree in Addiction Counseling for less than half the cost of a four-year program; it allowed me to continue working in the field full-time and accruing my necessary work hours toward the New Hampshire clinical licensure for drug and alcohol counseling while going to school part time.
NHTI’s professors were excellent with practical working knowledge in their field that they brought to the classroom. NHTI had a great financial aid office that helped assist me in the tuition assistance I needed. Lastly, the courses were practical in the core curriculum with role-playing in counselor situations, as well as practicum internships with clinical supervised experience, which I completed in two county jail settings. I loved being in class with younger students with a passion to help others and share my years of life experience with them.
NHTI helped me achieve my goals as a licensed drug and alcohol counselor. I have had the opportunity to run my own intensive outpatient program, work with state parole officers and drug court, and counsel those in state driver intervention programs. I now work for a Better Life Partners, a medical assisted treatment program for opiate use disorder and alcohol use disorder. I do group counseling, individual counseling, and clinical assessments. I believe my days at NHTI laid the groundwork for all that I have achieved.
Follow your dreams and your passion; it allows me to help others that so desperately need assistance.