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Conversations with Joyce Mahoney

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joyce Mahoney.

Hi Joyce, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I have been a social worker for many years and a CPS Agent. I saw firsthand the destruction on the family that the abuse of drugs and alcohol caused. I was always going the extra mile to help families to get back on track and get their children back or help them locate the appropriate treatment program. I took an early retirement from the State of Maryland and started the process to open an outpatient substance abuse treatment program. I wanted the program to be a model for other providers. We have small groups, we help clients with many of their problems and challenges besides addiction. I have a three-pronged approach for successful recovery. Treatment, stable housing and gainful employment. This has led to opening our sober living home for men and purchasing a building to start a restaurant and hire and train those coming out of rehab, jail or prison. I am available to my clients 24/7 because the disease of addiction is not an 8 hour a day problem. This is important for them to know they can call me when they need help.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Addiction is never smooth. My faith is very important to me and we have been blessed with our office space inside of a local church. We struggled when the State of Maryland released the Medicaid provider and hired a new one. It was a disaster and for a small nonprofit, it was devastating to us financially. It has taken the new organization about 18 months to finally begin getting the systems to work and for providers to be paid appropriately. So it was smooth sailing for a while then COVID happened and we could no longer fundraise. Keeping clients on the phone for three hours did not work, so we reopened the moment the Governor sent the order for essential businesses to reopen. It has been very challenging to fight an opioid epidemic in the midst of a medical pandemic. My faith has been strong and we are still here and providing services to the community.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
As a social worker, I am proud of my practice with families and children over the years. I did not specialize in substance abuse but I consider myself an expert in understanding the challenges that addiction presents to the family. I am listed in the University of Maryland Book of Social Workers making a difference in the community. I am proud of my completion of my Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology. It was a personal goal of mine early on in my career and it was completed in 2015. There are many personal challenges in managing a small nonprofit. I am the Executive Director, handling many administrative duties as well as a practicing clinician, as well as the Marketing Director and the CFO. I have two part-time therapists for which I am grateful because this program would not function without their help.

I feel that my many years of experience allow me to meet my clients where they are and serve them with the best information, access to resources and these things help to empower them.

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
Perhaps the most important lesson is understanding that you cannot start a business, run a business, manage the finances, and provide clinical services without help. It does take a village to help families in their time of need.

Contact Info:

  • Email: jmahoney@realsober.org
  • Website: www.Realsober.org
  • Facebook: The Sober Truth
  • Youtube: Sober Truth

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