Getting to Know You: Sue Adamson, Clinical Director of Sage Recovery Center

Sue Adamson has built her career on a deep-rooted desire to empower people to rise above adversity and become healthy and well.

She set an intention to transition her personal passion for health and fitness into a professional career; she earned several certifications that included BCRPA Personal Trainer, Group Fitness, Aqua-Therapy and Yoga Instructor; AAHEP Medical Exercise Specialist and GCNM Nutritional Consultant.

Sue trained men and women in a variety of settings that included helping clients regain the full use, strength, and range of motion of their bodies after suffering from debilitating medical injuries. Sue has always been amazed by the strength of the human spirit; her vision expanded to helping others in a capacity beyond the mere physical. In pursuit of that vision, she set to work studying psychology, western counselling modalities such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and eastern philosophies such as mindfulness, visualization and meditation. Sue’s personal interests and professional career expanded to work in the field of addiction recovery in order to assist people wishing to confront their dependencies, shed their destructive habits, and regain control of their lives by to offering an integrative approach to treating addiction.

Currently, Sue Adamson is a registered member of the Canadian College of Professional Counsellors and Psychotherapists and serves as the clinical director of the Sage Health Center in Kamloops, British Columbia. Some of her accreditations include CPCA Registered Professional Counsellor and Master Practitioner of Clinical Counselling, CACCF Canadian Certified Addictions Counsellor and International Certified Alcohol and Drug Counsellor and she earned a JIBC Post-Graduate Complex Trauma Certificate. 

What do you currently do at your company?

My present position is the clinical director of Sage Recovery Center. I oversee the agency’s day-to-day operations, programming, staffing, referrals and case management. As a trauma-informed addiction therapist I also facilitate groups as well as one-on-one sessions with clients.

What was the inspiration behind your career path?

As long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to help people. My personal and professional passion transitioned to becoming a health and fitness contractor and then to pursue a career in addiction recovery. Simply put, this is the field where I think I can best be of service to the people that need help the most. I consider myself a voice for recovery.

What defines your way of doing business?

The words that leap immediately to mind are ‘empathy’ and ‘compassion.’ In order to offer support to people who are suffering with addiction, a person-centered approach is foundation for any kind of treatment. A person-centered approach is validating the person’s experience, providing hope, and offering a solution through an evidence-based program of recovery. Only then can you hope to gain their trust and work with them to uncover their physical, mental, and emotional triggers, the underlaying issues that contributed to their addiction.

What keys to being productive can you share?

In my line of work specifically, keeping a fastidiously updated and meticulously organized system is crucial. Because of the transitory nature of a residential addiction recovery center, we constantly deal with clients coming and going, many of whom have complex medical histories that we need to know about for health and safety purposes. Our clients are under our physician’s care and our clinical team conduct a complete biophsycosocial assessment in order to individualize treatment plans. Organization and case management is the key to providing consistent care. 

Tell us one long-term goal in your career.

I believe that the world is currently faced with two epidemics, the pandemic and addiction. I believe that Sage Health Centre and the recovery community has a responsibility of offer the solution of recovery to men and women struggling with addiction, their families and our communities. I would like to leave the Sage Health Center knowing that I assisted in cultivating a safe, supportive, inclusive environment that enables our staff, our clients and our alumni to be the best versions of themselves. These are the goals which I’m striving to achieve every single day.

What would you tell your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to follow your instincts and follow your passion as it will eventually lead to a very fulfilling career. Life is full of unlimited possibilities.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned through the course of your career?

Every individual has a wise self, and has the capacity to heal when given the opportunity and a supportive environment. Although every individual struggling with addiction is unique, there is also a common thread that supports men and women in understanding that they are not alone. Addiction the result of some underlying mental, emotional, or physical pain such as a personal trauma or tragedy. cases, such as opiate addiction, many clients suffered a physical injury and then become dependent on pain medications. Most clients who are admitted to treatment have attempted to address their addiction issues on their own and realize that they needed additional support.  

What advice would you give to others aspiring to succeed in your field?

There are a few nuggets of advice I would impart to anyone wanting to pursue a career in addiction recovery or management. Number one, is to lead by example, respect is earned by walking the talk. Two, is to be the best version of yourself and strive to be part of the solution in creating a positive work environment. And three, above all else, consider the welfare of the client as well as staff when making every single decision in order to promote their successful recovery.

What are some of your favorite things to do outside of work?

I love to spend time with my family and friends. I like taking walks in nature. After a long day, sometimes I enjoy watching a good movie.

What are a few influential books you’ve read and/or websites you keep up with that you’d recommend?

I wholeheartedly recommend The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz. It’s a book about self-empowerment based on wisdom derived from the ancient Toltecs, who were a pre-Columbian society native to Central America. Among other things, the book outlines four basic agreements that offer wisdom and understanding in advocating for self and others. Both staff and clients are encouraged to practice the four agreements and they goes hand in hand with living recovery one day at a time.