Staff Spotlight: Stanley Foster, Peer Recovery Supporter

Stanley Foster has long been drawn to the healing profession. Today, he uses his experience with recovery to help others on their recovery journeys as a peer recovery supporter at Joseph & Mary’s Home. He began working in the Sisters of Charity Health System as a chemical dependency counselor at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center in 2016. He became certified as a peer supporter in 2022 through the ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County and its OhioMAS Peer Recovery Supporter training. Stanley has a bachelor’s degree in social and behavioral sciences from the University of Alabama–Birmingham.

Describe your role at Joseph & Mary’s Home.
A peer supporter is someone who has experiences that are the same or similar to the clients that I counsel. I’ve had experience with substance abuse and homelessness. And it’s good to talk to the clients and be an example that you can get better. It’s ironic that the worst things that happened in my life, that I have been the most ashamed of, are the things that I use to talk about and motivate other people. When I talk about substance abuse and losing my job and the experience of finding a place to sleep for a night, clients listen because they trust me.

What is your super power?
I would say my faith and relationship with God. Coming from down South [Alabama], I was raised in the church. Just like the prodigal son, I had to go out and experience life. It took me all the way out and I had that moment when I cried out to God and he heard me. When I turned my life over to Him, things started to get better.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Helping others. I’ve helped a lot of people, only by the grace of God. There are men who were my clients and they are now counselors in the field at City Mission and Salvation Army, also helping others. This job is just right for me. Most of the clients are my age and have medical issues. I’m able to build trust and can relate to what stages they are at in their journey.

What do you do outside of work to rest and recharge?
Mostly spend time with my family. My mom and two sisters are all in Cleveland and we get together on the weekend. My mom is 88 and is a retired nurse. She is in remarkable health. I say I’m taking care of her, but she is taking care of me. I love cookies and she likes to tell me that I’m eating too many sweets. My son and daughter are grown and both live in California. We are constantly in communication over Facebook or the phone.