Former Teacher Finds Healing in Working with Others in Recovery

A high school English teacher and mother of two, Joy Clubb had a great job and a loving family. But alcohol, and later opioid addiction, robbed her of her career – and threatened to destroy her relationship with her husband and children.

After two stays in residential addiction treatment, Clubb was living in a halfway house and ready to return to the workforce. With teaching no longer an option for her, she cleaned houses and worked as a horse stable custodian. “I had been stripped of everything, including my belief in myself,” Clubb said.

Eventually, she applied for a job in housekeeping at Bluff. When she came for her interview, the Bluff team decided Clubb had more to contribute by working with patients. They hired her as a behavioral technician instead.

A New Beginning at Bluff

The position was a turning point for Clubb. She found inspiration and satisfaction in helping others learn navigate early sobriety. As her self-esteem grew, so did her confidence in her recovery. She became a recovery coach, sharing her story with other patients and offering support and encouragement when they most needed it.

Interested in taking on another challenge, she became an expert in electronic medical records (EMR) software. She was promoted to EMR super user, responsible for troubleshooting, answering staff questions and training new employees in using the software. She soon received another promotion and became patient services coordinator. In that role, she coordinated the intake and admissions process, including handling documentation, administration, arranging transportation, educating families on what to expect and assisting with the transition to residential treatment.

“It’s very rewarding, to have taken someone that is currently abusing drugs or alcohol and who is motivated for treatment, to get them here and get them the help them need,” Clubb said. “A lot of times I feel like I know them already. Sometimes I’ve worked with their family for a month to get them here, or I’ve been speaking with them for several days. When they get here they’re broken and beaten down. But over time, you see that light going on in their eyes. It’s the most satisfying thing.”

Today, Clubb is program manager at Bluff. Her role includes managing support staff, conducting quality assurance to ensure charts and facilities are in compliance with Joint Commission accreditation, and developing innovative programming to address an array of patient needs.

Celebrating Three Years of Sobriety

This December, she marked three years of sobriety. Married for over 20 years to her high school sweetheart, she’s relishing her time with her husband and her sons, one who is a college student preparing to go into the medical field, and the other a high school honors student and soccer star.

“They have peace of mind. They know that I’m coming home when I say I will,” Clubb said. “My family has been able to come out on the other side of this. Not unscathed, but the relationship I have with them now is absolutely incredible. I missed so much of them growing up. But instead of regretting that and dwelling on it, I try to enjoy every moment with them today that I can. They are amazing. And they are proud of me.”

She remains dedicated to maintaining her own sobriety, and to helping others achieve an alcohol and drug-free life. “My husband used to say he wanted the old Joy back. Now he has an even better version.” Learn more about our addiction treatment approach at Bluff.