Sue Adamson

Recovery Center Clinical Director

Sue Adamson is the clinical director of a residential addiction treatment center located in Kamloops, British Columbia. She has been a passionate advocate for health and wellness for over 30 years, and has been a recovery professional for more than 15 years. Sue is a registered member of the Canadian College of Professional Counsellors and Psychotherapists, and her current certifications include CPCA Registered Professional Counsellor and Master Practitioner of Clinical Counselling, CACCF Canadian Certified Addictions Counsellor and International Certified Alcohol and Drug Counsellor, JIBC Post-Graduate Complex Trauma Certificate, GCNM Nutritional Consultant, and she has a previous background as a BCRPA Certified Health and Fitness Specialist.

As the clinical director of Sage Health Centre, Sue Adamson oversees all facets of the treatment programming and monitors all aspects of client treatment planning from their initial referral through to their placement in advanced continuing care groups. She is a trauma informed therapist who specializes in integrative approaches to addiction recovery that incorporate both western and eastern philosophies, including such methods as client focused trauma informed clinical therapy modalities; mindfulness techniques such as breath work and visualization; mind awareness; nutritional counselling; solution-focused therapeutic modalities; and 12-step recovery concepts. A dedicated professional, Sue Adamson considers herself a voice for recovery and the recovery community.

Where did the idea for your career come from?

I saw the need. My work as a health and fitness contractor gave me a unique perspective of addiction and how it manifests itself. Addiction, at its core, is generally a coping mechanism for people. People struggling with addiction usually have had some kind of trauma in their life or are dealing with underlying mental health issues such as depression or anxiety. Whatever mental health issue they went through in the past or are experiencing in the present, the chemical they choose—for example, alcohol or prescription medications—has become their way of coping. My experience seeing this happen again and again moved me to do more.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

There are many different aspects of my role as clinical director. My job description includes everything from clinical work to administrative tasks. I make my day productive by staying present in the moment. My workday is full of programming for clients, managing meetings, and seeing clients for therapy. I work with both individuals and with the families of those in early recovery. I have always been an organized person so this really helps keep me on track throughout the day.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I trust my gut. Everything on this planet starts with a thought. We are continuously creating our reality through how we perceive our reality. Whether I think of a new idea or a member of my team does, bringing it to life involves the same process. We discuss ideas, create a plan of action, then put that plan into active practice.

What’s one trend that excites you?

With the introduction and evolution of social media, I believe humanity is learning how to become a truly global community. There has been a shift of consciousness and people around the world are feeling more connected to each other. Human beings want to be a part of the solution more so now than we ever have before. This is a really exciting trend for me.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

The ability to be present in the moment is the most effective way for me to be productive. I work very hard to keep my work life at work and my home life at home. Taking off my work hat when I’m done for the day means that my family gets the attention they deserve when I’m home and off the clock. When I’m at work, I put my focus fully on being there and getting things done.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell myself to stop worrying about things that really don’t even matter. I used to worry about doing everything right all the time. I worried about what others thought of me. I wasn’t true to myself. If I could go back, I’d tell myself not to take myself so seriously, or certain situations as seriously as I did. Life is a gift, but when we’re young we don’t see it that way. I would have loved it if I knew how important it was to live in a place of gratitude.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Life is not about what happens to you, it’s about how you choose to continue through and deal with it—that’s what creates your character. A lot of people go through life thinking what happens to them is somehow a personal thing, when it’s actually more just their own perceptions influencing their reactions to outside events and other people.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Become a loving observer. Life is about all the choices we make every day. Taking a step back and reviewing yourself every now and then can have lasting beneficial results. Seeing how another person is navigating their path can help you with yours. Be mindful and lead with gratitude as much as possible.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Everyone that works in this industry is here because they have a passion for it. My strategy is to build a team that works well together and has a shared focus for patient recovery. We have created a safe atmosphere where everyone can be open and vulnerable when they need to, without the worry of how that vulnerability will be received.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge in this field are the lives lost. Addiction has destroyed a lot of lives and a lot of families. To rise above this challenge, I remind myself that there is a solution and that I can be a voice for recovery. Through proven methods and support, we can empower people to make necessary changes in their lives to actively live a program of recovery. Our goal is to help people recognize that they can take ownership of their lives and develop healthy coping strategies.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

With regard to entrepreneurship, I’ve always thought the best way to find success is to develop something based on your own passion and put your all into it. If you really feel that an idea you have thought up would help others in any way, trust your gut and give it a shot.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I am a firm believer in vitamins and supplements. It gives me the fuel and energy I need. Our bodies are machines of a sort—biological machines—but we tend to take better care of our cars than we do our own bodies. I regularly use supplements to help with my overall health and well-being and I think that is a good use of money.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I’m not the most tech-savvy person, but one piece of technology I use to help me navigate my day is remote access to our servers if I am out of the office or working from home. Having remote access to our servers means I can still access the information I need to help my clients no matter where I am.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz. It’s an amazing book about self-empowerment. I wish it was required reading in high school. I think it would be so beneficial for everyone.

What is your favorite quote?

“Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” It’s a Buddhist saying that I like because it reminds me that painful events can happen in life, but how we choose to respond to them determines how much we suffer from them. Also “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” Carl Jung said that.

Key Learnings:

  • Practice mindfulness.
  • Be grateful.
  • Never stop learning.
  • Help when you can.