Both hope to
Sarah Fecht / Reporter
Del Mar College’s Addiction Studies Program helps students who want to counsel individuals who struggle with chemical dependency. This program has a unique set of students who are set to graduate this month. A father and son are graduating from the same program with the same degree.
George Ramirez, a single father and a licensed cosmetologist who owns his own business, decided he wanted to go back to school to pursue his associate degree through the Addiction Studies Program to become a licensed chemical dependent counselor, or LCDC. In recovery himself, Ramirez wanted to give back by sharing his experience and give hope to those who are struggling with an addiction or who are in recovery.
Ramirez wants to continue his education at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and pursue a bachelor’s degree in communication after completing his LCDC certification.
His son, Aldo Ramirez, always wanted to pursue psychology and go into counseling and decided to focus on getting his LCDC after seeing how his dad struggled with an addiction and then got clean.
“I’ve always wanted to do something related to counseling, but especially after seeing him get clean through Charlie’s Place, it just seemed like a giving back for me,” the younger Ramirez said.
Ruben Garcia, the duo’s instructor for the Addiction Studies Program, noticed the family bond between the two.
“I have known both George and Aldo for two years now,” Garcia said. “It has been a blast just to watch the family dynamics amazingly, they worked very well together when they share the same class.”
The father and son, by playing to each other’s strengths, also help keep each other motivated.
“I look up to him. I know he’s going to go far,” the father said.
Aldo feels the same about his father.
“He’s the smart one … we can really bounce off each other,” Aldo said.
Aldo Ramirez hopes to counsel people with mental health disorders. He aims to become specialized in co-occurring counseling, which is dual-diagnosis treatment dealing with substance abuse and mental health disorders at the same time.
Both father and son are interning at the same clinic, South Texas Substance Abuse Recovery Services, or STSARS, for their practicum through the Addiction Studies Program. The STSARS program, located in downtown Corpus Christi, includes a co-occurring counseling program called the Co-Occurring Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorder.
The father-son duo will graduate on Dec. 12 and begin studying for their LCDC exam. They both plan to attend Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in the spring.
“What an experience to go through this together … I consider it a blessing,” the elder Ramirez said.