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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
My Role Chose Me: Working as an Addictions Coordinator in Baltimore, MD
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Rolesia Rogers, Addictions Coordinator at Health Care for the Homeless in Baltimore, MD, shares the story of her career. She says “her role chose her.” Rolesia talked with HRC’s Wendy Grace Evans about the importance of mentoring, supervision, and support over the past several years.
My Role Chose Me: Working as an Addictions Coordinator in Baltimore, MD

Rolesia Rogers is the Addictions Coordinator at Healthcare for the Homeless in Baltimore, Maryland. Rolesia started her work as a peer counselor. Through significant support, mentorship and tuition reimbursement, she has earned five promotions, a Masters in Human Services degree, and is an approved alcohol and drug supervisor.

Q: How did you become an Addictions Coordinator?

A: Growing up in Baltimore, addiction has been at the forefront of the city and my family. When I came to Healthcare for the Homeless (HCH) in 1996, I was a retail manager at a local mall. So many people wanted to talk about their problems and recovery. It was actually these experiences in retail that prompted me to look into this kind of work.

Now I know that this position is my assignment in life. My role chose me. I think it was just compassion for people who I grew up - people who wanted to hear me and who wanted to be heard. It is my passion to help my brothers and sisters without racial boundaries.

Q: What was it like when you first started working there?

A: Since 2003, I have been the addictions manager and provided individual counseling to adults. I work with adults with co-occurring disorders and clients in intensive outpatient treatment. Basically I do everything other than direct clinical supervision.

When I first got here, I worked on the streets. I saw folks being shot, depression and poverty. It could be overwhelming if you didn’t take care of yourself. I felt myself driving back to the agency feeling flat and sad. Regression and relapse are always just a step away. Early on I knew the importance of supervision and support.

Q: How were you supervised at HCH?

A: My supervisor, Laura, and I often wondered where I would end up. When I first came to work here, I only had ten junior college credits, but I don’t even know how I got them. I just knew I needed to work because I had a family.

Laura always validated me. If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t have made it.

Q: What do you think about the role of mentors at work?

A: I think it happens as part of direct supervision. Mentors offer a lot of coaching, with a non-judgmental attitude. I am very lucky to work at an organization where you always feel loved. I was also lucky to have mentorship and support from hands-on leaders.

One of my mentors, Louise, was very supportive. She would check every paper I did and went to my graduation. Louise has remained my mentor for years. She is really good at what she does. I wouldn’t have had motivation without this added support. I have had about nine mentors in my thirteen-year career.

Q: What are your plans for the future?

A: I plan to be a mentor and to give back to addictions staff what was given to me. I think my true passion is providing holistic services to women and children. I don’t like to just use the term “treatment” for women who have so many kinds of pain.

I would like to go into prisons to help rehabilitate women. I would also like to stay here. I think I have a future here. I don’t know if I can go any further in this role. I just got my fifth promotion this week!

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