Former addict becomes recovery coach to help others


Clients can relate to Alyssa Gorbett because she has been in their shoes.

Offering substance abuse services, recovery coach services and intensive outpatient treatment groups, the 32-year-old Seymour woman is dedicated to helping people in her own community overcome addictions.

She recently transitioned from Tara Treatment Center in Franklin as the full-time outpatient and transitional residential coordinator to a PRN substance abuse counselor and also has joined Christopher and Associates Evaluation and Counseling Center Inc. in Seymour to offer services in Jackson County.

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“I reached out to Jill (Christopher) and I said, ‘I want to bring my program down here. If you guys have an opening or a spot, I would love to be able to be more engaged in the community,’” Gorbett said. “It’s where I grew up, and these are my friends I’m seeing struggling with addiction. I want to be another support for the community.”

Gorbett said her cycle of addiction started when she was 13 and involved methamphetamine, alcohol and pills. She wound up dropping out of school her sophomore year.

While peers played some role in her substance use, she said she had battles of her own.

“For me, it was just I had a lot of insecurities, and it was one of the ways I coped with stuff that was happening in my own life,” she said.

Gorbett quit using when she was 17 and was sober when she became pregnant with her first child.

“If I didn’t quit using, I was going to die,” she said. “I hear people all the time having 20, 30 years of use, and then they come in and they finally get that ‘aha moment’ or that time they really just admitted, ‘I’ve got to do something. I’m going to die.’ That’s when they’ve reached their breaking point or their rock bottom.”

She pushed forward in her life and earned a general education diploma when she was 22. She earned an associate degree in criminal justice from Indiana Wesleyan University and worked as a family support specialist for Centerstone. She later became a recovery coach until leaving that job after three years and moving up to Tara.

Gorbett earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from Indiana Wesleyan in 2018 and hopes to finish her master’s degree in December. She also earned a certificate in recovery coaching in August 2018.

“It’s just my drive to help people,” she said. “I was able to get myself sober, and I wish I had known then about 12 steps and recovery support because there just wasn’t very much of that back then.”

Since joining the staff at Christopher and Associates in November 2019, Gorbett has been trying to get the word out about the substance abuse treatment available for adults.

Intensive outpatient treatment is a nine-week intensive outpatient program Medicaid now requires, she said. It’s three hours a day for three days a week for a total of 27 sessions.

“That’s for somebody that doesn’t necessarily meet the residential criteria, but they still need intensive treatment,” she said. “If they are struggling and I know it, then I can help get them into a residential facility. That’s a good thing is being able to be aware of the treatment facilities that will help them out.”

Individual and family sessions and crisis intervention are included in the treatment on an as-needed basis. Gorbett also will help get adults connected to community resources.

“The curriculum used is all evidenced-based treatment and will focus primarily on recovering from substances; however, we will be working on the co-occurring disorders during treatment, as well,” she said.

After completing the program, clients meet with her once a week for eight to 12 weeks for relapse prevention and after-care sessions.

“It’s important that they stay engaged with the support and the recovery,” Gorbett said. “Whatever I can offer to do to help, that’s what I want to do. I just want to be a really good resource for the people in the community. For me, it’s really important that my clients feel that they are being heard and that they are cared for and that they have my support.”

Gorbett also is available to complete substance abuse evaluations.

Soon, she hopes to get a substance use-related teen program started. She has discussed that with Charlotte Moss, who works for Turning Point Domestic Violence Services and oversees the Teens for Change groups at local schools.

“It does start at a really young age. I was 13, and it comes sooner than that,” Gorbett said. “It’s really that cycle that happens, and to give them hope and opportunities and resources is really important.”

Gorbett also is part of the Christopher and Associates crisis team that works with Schneck Medical Center in Seymour.

“I really like going in and meeting new people and being able to offer them support because I think that’s just the biggest thing is knowing that there is somebody there that’s empathetic to you and is compassionate and is able to help you get where you need to go,” she said.

No matter where she’s working, it’s fulfilling to Gorbett to help someone transform their life.

“I’ve worked with teens that were using and they were able to stay sober, and now, they are in college, and I’m so excited for them and excited for their life and that they stepped out of that cycle,” she said.

“It’s important that they always do still remember where they came from so they don’t go back to that,” she said. “That’s why I do what I do. It’s not for money. Obviously, I have to take care of my family, but at the end of the day, if I was able to offer somebody some support or was just there for them, that’s what’s important for me.”

Gorbett said a lot of her clients have expressed interest in becoming recovery coaches.

“I say, ‘Well, there’s nothing stopping you. The only person holding you back is you. You just have to go for it. Stay sober, use those supports and just keep working toward your goals, and you will get there,’” she said. “When you become sober and you’re able to live your life really in the present, everything is so much greater. I want to be there to help them get to that point.”

When she thinks back on her four-year struggle with addiction, Gorbett said she didn’t think she would be here today. But she is, and she has found her purpose.

“I want others to be able to find theirs,” she said. “There are people I hung out with involved in CPS or lost their kids or died. It breaks my heart. I want them to be able to know that there’s more help in the community. It doesn’t have to be me, just somewhere. I just want people to reach out and not be afraid to do that. I think a lot of these people could become amazing and do great things for themselves and their families.”

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Referrals may be sent to Alyssa Gorbett at Christopher and Associates via fax at 812-523-8416 Attn: Alyssa or email [email protected] or [email protected]

If a client would like to schedule an assessment, they can call 812-523-0386 or 812-216-0128.

IOT group times are 9 a.m. to noon and 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Relapse prevention and after-care are 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesdays.


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