This article originally appeared in the Summer 2021 issue of Advances in Addiction & Recovery.
By Mita M. Johnson, EdD, LPC, LMFT, LAC, MAC, SAP, CTHP-II, NAADAC President
Join a committee – who has time for that? You do! Why? Because it is a win-win proposition for you and NAADAC. Every committee has a unique focus that is in alignment with the mission and vision of NAADAC, while also recognizing and developing the unique passions and talents of each committee member. NAADAC seeks to serve all professionals and allied service providers who work with addictions across the country and globe. As the preeminent resource for anyone working in the addictions profession, NAADAC is called to develop certifications, standards, and resources that are meaningful, timely, and scientifically-validated. We are also called to advocate for our members, nonmembers, and clients struggling with addiction. As a professional association, NAADAC’s course is steered by its active Board of Directors. The Executive Committee, Affiliate Presidents, and Regional Vice Presidents support, guide, and protect NAADAC as the association extends its reach year after year.
There is only so much that board members and board meetings can accomplish; committees divide the board’s needs into manageable tasks. Each committee develops specific goals and objectives, which are endorsed by the Executive Committee and Executive Director. Committees are clear in their mission, directives, and scope of work; committees have the opportunity to develop timely and evidence-based resources needed by our members including webinars, white papers, standards, certification questions, curricula, certificates, and speaking engagements. Each committee is as unique as its members, who are active within the profession and have a pulse on what is most needed by other professionals. NAADAC would not be the association for all addiction professionals – members and nonmembers – without the dedication and on-the-ground vision of its committee members. Committees challenge us to rise up to the occasion to use our voices and our talents to help those without a voice.
NAADAC is not the only beneficiary of a committee’s work; committee members equally benefit from their service to NAADAC. As a committee member, you get a valuable seat at the table. Your voice is heard by leadership as you play a key role in strategizing and developing vital work products. It’s invigorating to serve on a committee where you have the challenge, responsibility, and privilege of understanding how everything needs to work together for the benefit of the committee, board, and association. There is incredible pride in meaningfully giving to something you care deeply about. Not only will the impact of your voice be felt, but you will also hear the impactful voice of others. Committees are a place to learn and grow, personally and professionally, by virtue of the relationships formed and maintained. You will build relationships with providers here at home and around the world.
You will broaden your perspective on all topics related to addictions including co-occurring disorders, culturally-responsive care, clinical supervision, ethics, accreditation, advocacy, and social justice, to name just a few. Like everything else in life, you will receive as much as you give. Your passion, your growth, and your contributions will energize your work on a committee. Serving on a committee expands your network of allied professionals; you will work alongside esteemed colleagues who are, themselves, subject matter experts. You, as a committee member, have the opportunity to share your unique skills, knowledge, and abilities with others who share your passion, concern, and desire for social justice. There is a sense of pride and ownership when products are developed that can help our profession.
Recognition is important and committee membership allows you to share that you are part of a national association that sets the standards for addiction counseling and allied services. Committee membership and board participation are highly beneficial to your career. Engaging in these professional growth opportunities enhance your marketability and open doors for career advancements. You can increase your professional credibility, grow your professional network, sharpen your clinical skillset, strengthen your leadership abilities, learn team management skills, create opportunities to coach and mentor the next generation of professionals, gain exposure into the inner workings of the addictions industry, gain an insider’s perspective on professional membership organizations, reinvigorate your passions, and elevate your reputation as an ethical, committed member of NAADAC.
I started my journey with NAADAC by joining my state affiliate. I joined committees within the state affiliate because I wanted to understand how addiction services were delivered in my state. At my first NAADAC conference, I checked out the Executive Committee, the Board of Directors, the standing committees, and the NAADAC deliverables. I came as a skeptic because I belonged to three other national professional associations at the time that were only interested in creating products and making money; many professional associations do not really invest in serving their members where they work. I was shocked at how much NAADAC gives to members and nonmembers alike – and not because they want to follow the money. I joined various committees and eventually worked my way up the ladder of experiences at NAADAC. I learned that NAADAC is about the providers, by the providers, and for the providers. NAADAC accomplishes what it does through its boards, affiliates, committees, and outstanding staff – members and staff on a mission to elevate the quality and scope of care provided to each and every client.
Please thoughtfully consider exploring or joining a committee at NAADAC – we truly need your help and your voice!
Mita M. Johnson, EdD, LPC, LMFT, LAC, MAC, SAP, CTHP-II, has been practicing in the world of mental health, marriage and family, and addictions counseling for the past 30 years. She earned her Doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision degree and is a core faculty member in the School of Counseling program at Walden University. In addition, she has a thriving private practice where she provides clinical supervision, counseling services to our military, and addiction-specific training and education. She has been providing telebehavioral health services to individuals and groups for several years and is a board-certified telehealth practitioner. She is involved in regulatory and credentialing activities in Colorado and regional workforce recruitment and retention initiatives. Her areas of specialization include pharmacology, co-occurring disorders, ethics, culturally-responsive care, and clinical supervision. She has been an active member of NAADAC for over 15 years, has served as the Ethics Chair, and began her term as NAADAC’s President in October 2020.