Father of Six Uses His Substance Abuse Experience to Help Others

University of Cincinnati (UC) Online student Roger Davenport’s passion for helping people who suffer from addiction led him to choose a career in substance abuse counseling. “My motivation comes from a personal level,” he says. “I feel I can make a difference with my lifetime of experience, 26 years in active addiction, and 15 years of recovery, along with the right education.”

As a young adult when Roger was facing seven years in prison, he was released from custody into a 12-step recovery program. He says, “My life story is a rollercoaster ride of ups, downs, and loops that might pull at your stomach and even take your breath away.”

Despite the many challenges before him, Roger chose a new path to take. During his recovery, he began to investigate getting a substance abuse-related degree. First, Roger set out to finish his associate degree and later began working as a case manager for the same program where he started recovery. Before long, he decided to continue his career in the substance abuse field.

Today, Roger works as Urinalysis Specimen Collector/Support Staff at Mountain Comprehensive Care Center. This organization specializes in mental health and substance abuse treatment for school-based adolescents to adults and medication management. Substance use disorder services include inpatient rehabilitation, intensive outpatient services, outpatient services, and aftercare. Mountain Comprehensive Care staff works directly with the Department for Community Based Services S.T.A.R.T. (Sobriety Treatment and Recovery Team) program.

Benefits of Learning Substance Abuse Counseling Online

After considering other online university programs, Roger settled on UC Online’s Bachelor of Science (BS) in Substance Abuse Counseling. The 100% online program is taught by some of the top professors in the field, and it’s ranked #10 for Best Online Accredited Counseling Programs (bestcolleges.com, 2022).

Roger believes UC Online’s program would better prepare him for a new career in substance abuse counseling. “The online format works for me, and I still get to enjoy the college experience,” he says.

The advantages of pursuing a degree online are numerous, and flexibility is one of them. As a husband and father of six kids, ranging from 14 to 25 years of age, Roger has a busy life. “We love to travel and UC Online travels with us. I’m also in ministry work and mentoring those who struggle with substance use,” he says.

Roger said the application process was painless because his Enrollment Services Advisor was there to answer any questions he had. “Enrolling in school will make anyone nervous because of the waiting process to find out if you were accepted. Seeing my application status online eased my anxiety,” he says.

Even scheduling classes each semester has been a pleasant experience compared to Roger’s previous college involvement.

“It’s as if I am right here on campus. Any time I have a question or concern and reach out to faculty, I get a quick response. I feel like UC Online wants me to succeed.”
– Roger Davenport, BS Substance Abuse Counseling student

Making the Most of an Online Experience

Roger, who expects to graduate in 2025, describes UC Online’s program as excellent. “The online platform is easy to navigate,” he says. “My academic advisor, Student Success Coordinator, and substance above program coordinator are easy to communicate with — and they all want the best for me. I feel a sense of belonging at UC Online.”

The curriculum has been enjoyable, as well, with one standout experience fresh in Roger’s mind. “The Drugs and Behavior course with Professor Wyler summarized information in an easy-to-understand format. Her lectures are entertaining, and she makes learning fun,” he says.

Roger’s interactions with faculty have been both professional and personal. He says communication via email is easy, and the faculty is always willing to help if needed. “It’s as if I am right here on campus. Any time I have a question or concern and reach out to them, I get a quick response. I feel like UC Online wants me to succeed,” Roger says.

Roger offers advice to others interested in an online substance abuse counseling bachelor’s program; he says:

First, be sure the program is regionally accredited. Then, find the program best suited to your career path that works with your life. Consider joining the available chat groups the school offers. Be proactive on the courses’ discussion boards, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Immediately Applicable Education Aligns with Career Goals 

The future looks promising for Roger as he works to complete a BS in Substance Abuse Counseling degree. Already, he’s able to integrate coursework learnings into his role at Mountain Comprehensive Care. He easily translates his new knowledge and specifically mentions the discoveries he made, learning about Motivational Interviewing Preparatory Change Talk (DARN) and Mobilizing Change Talk (CAT).

Roger says:

UC Online program has helped me in my current career path by giving me a greater knowledge base and the education I need. What I now know allows me to communicate on the same level with my coworkers, and I can offer my expertise in some of their cases.

For example, I encouraged a client to continue with their Intensive Outpatient (IOP) classes and recovery. I could apply the understanding of the different comorbidity disorders occurring with substance abuse. Also, my supervisor and I were discussing a client and were able to agree on which co-occurring mental disorder the client should be diagnosed with.

Follow Roger’s Lead and Take Your First Step Today

The future looks bright for Roger, with his newfound abilities and education that will help him become a certified alcohol and drug counselor. One day, he hopes to attain a master’s degree in social work and, eventually, become a therapist. “My degree will help me in the future to reach the populations I have compassion for assisting with a better understanding of how to help them,” he says. “I am so grateful for this program. The interactions with other students have been great. Everyone is striving to achieve the same goal, and you can see our community building in the discussion boards and chat groups.”

If you’re considering the Bachelor of Science in Substance Abuse Counseling program and are wondering if could fit with your career goals and life, here’s Roger’s advice: “Life and work experience are excellent tools to have, but UC Online has helped me become a better contributor to my current employer.”

Ready to grow your expertise and confidence as a substance abuse counselor? Complete our brief online form to connect with Enrollment Services Advisor.

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