February 05, 2018
Veronica Muniak has had a lifetime of lived experience that has helped her move forward in the addiction recovery field.
As someone in recovery herself, she was at first anxious about applying for employment at Phoenix. But when she started as a program assistant - just over two years ago - she felt immediately embraced by the Phoenix community.
“For me, recovery is part of my life,” she says, expressing delight that she was able to be upfront about that during her initial job interview. “I love what Phoenix is doing for people in recovery and for the Surrey community. And I really look up to founders Ann and Michael Wilson.”
As a program assistant Veronica was often the first point of contact for people looking to change their lives-people not only struggling with addiction, but those who had the sense of hopelessness and defeat that accompanies this struggle. For Veronica, the role was an opportunity to share both her deep sense of caring as well as her feelings of hope and optimism in the world.
Veronica then was promoted to admissions coordinator, a position that is the main contact for people wanting to access Phoenix programs. There, she heard each person’s story and, in particular, recalls one resident who had done “the circuit” several times - the loop of relapsing, attending the Sobering Centre, the hospital, Creekside Detox and recovery facilities - broken up by sleeping on the streets.
“He had done that a couple of times,” Veronica recalls remembering when he came to her crying. He was in his mid-40s, had been adopted as a child and had to contend with child abuse. “He was so grateful that Phoenix kept helping him- the fact that Phoenix had given him chances and opportunities,” she recalls.
Veronica is grateful that Phoenix has given her opportunities, too. “Phoenix gave me opportunities to take my strengths and fully use them.”
Veronica is now the Governance and Executive Assistant reporting to the Executive Director. In this role, she helps the Executive Director in developing new initiatives, creating strategic partnerships, sourcing funding and maintaining a supportive work environment. She also helps coordinate and organize all meetings for the Board and its subcommittees, compiling and distributing agendas and all relevant material.
For anyone who is struggling with the concept of recovery, Veronica believes the most important trait to develop is perseverance. “As addicts we never give up - we keep fighting and surviving.
“So, if you take the same drive you had in addiction and turn it to a positive light, you can find housing, education, employment and self-healing… Phoenix can help you do that.
“I have found purpose working at Phoenix, helping others and working with a team that cares about our world.”