Edgar Rivera

I was 16 years old and already using heavy illicit drugs. To follow, were many years of hardship, not only for me, but for my family. These hardships were mainly due to my drug abuse. I managed to overcome my active addiction, over ten years ago.  I went back to school at the age of forty-two years of age. I have been a college student for over six years, including summers. I currently hold a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from the California State University, San Bernardino. I graduated with a certificate of completion and an Associates of Arts Degree in Alcohol and Drug Studies from College of the Desert, Palm Desert, CA. I decided to continue my education, because the more knowledge that I obtain, I am better equipped to help people in the field that I have chosen. I find balancing my work scheduled, my personal life, and the time that I need to dedicate to my education, the most challenging.

I have passed my certification test to become certified as a drug and alcohol counselor and am registered with the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals (CCAPP). I am currently employed as a Behavioral Health Specialist III for the County of Riverside, otherwise known as, Riverside University Health Systems. I am a case manager for the Substance abuse Treatment And Referral Team (START). Before this position, I was a drug and alcohol counselor for a state-mandated, DUI program. In the jobs that I have held as a counselor, I like the fact that I can witness the transformation of someone in crisis, to a person that has learned how to live a better quality of life.

In my spare time, I like to spend time with my family, travel, go to the theatre, and have recently started going to get body massages. I find all these things very relaxing. I enjoy watching comedies and enjoy reading studies that interest me. I have traveled to Mexico on several occasions. I lived in Mexico for the first five years of my life and then moved to the United States at the age of five years old. I have resided in Southern California, since arriving here, except for a brief period that my parents moved up to Northern California. I am the oldest of four children in a Mexican-American family. Being that I am the oldest, I am looked as the sibling responsible for helping my family out in a time of need. I am trying to get away from all that because that can sometimes provoke co-dependent behavior, on my part.

I am obtaining a master’s degree because I would like the opportunity to treat people that have experienced trauma, strained interpersonal and family relationships, experiencing difficulties in coping with their mental health diagnosis, etc. I decided to attend Grand Canyon University because it is one of the only programs that I found that was designed for working professionals like myself. I found other programs that were designed for working professionals. However, the tuition was costly. My ultimate goal is to become a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor along with becoming a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, a reasonably new license offered through the Behavioral Health Board of California. I plan to one day be one of the most sought out and most requested counselors in this area and maybe even across the United States. By obtaining my master’s degree, I will be prepared to help those in need of the help that they need to overcome crisis and learn coping skills that they need to live a better quality of life. By reaching my educational and professional goals, will not define who I am, however, it will enrich my knowledge in the field that I have chosen and will give me a sense of accomplishment once I obtain my license. It will provide me with the inner peace knowing that I am prepared to help people get to where they need to be, whatever, that represents to the client.

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