October 8, 2019—It felt as if he had woken up from a long, painful dream.
After a decade of worsening consequences and suffering in active addiction, Corey Richardson, P.A. ’92, M.P.A.S., D.H.Sc., became willing to make a change.
“With addiction, the brain becomes high-jacked. Over ten years of active addiction, this disease destroyed my life, hurt those I cared about and brought shame to the PA profession,” Richardson says, today 21 years into continuous sobriety.
By devoting himself to a 12-step recovery program, Richardson was able to rid himself of his former life in active addiction and the addict thinking that plagued him throughout his training as a PA and into his career. The experience motivated him to use his occupation to help others who are ready to begin the same long journey to recovery.
“It was only after years in recovery that I could get a sense of who I was and where I needed to take my life to make amends to those I had harmed,” he says. “Through my own recovery journey, I began to see that I could help others struggling from addiction.”
Today, Richardson is the CEO and clinical director of Integrated Care of Greater Hickory, which offers comprehensive medical, behavioral, pharmacy, transitional housing, transportation and toxicology services throughout North Carolina to patients struggling with addiction. At Integrated Care, Richardson and his team aim to “help people gain insight into their disorder while acquiring critical lifesaving skills to keep them from returning to a life of addiction and destruction.”
“There is an interconnectedness in recovery between personal responsibility, honesty, personal development, integrity and forming healthy, interdependent relationships with others on this journey,” he says.
This holistic approach to healing encompasses a large multidisciplinary team at Integrated Care. Licensed social workers and therapists, addictions specialists, counselors, peer support specialists, physicians and PAs, pharmacists, transitional housing managers in recovery and other providers form treatment teams and create individualized plans for immediate and lasting outcomes.
“Our programs identify needs and offer interventions that engender health and wellness in the individual seeking care,” Richardson says. “For us, health means renewal, stability and resiliency in every way.”