Counselor offers healing and support for addiction
After facing addiction herself, Melanie Perrin, sober since 1979, is looking to help those who are still struggling.
Her new outpatient counseling business MA Perrin Recovery Service LLC at 216 Main St. in River Falls gives her a new way to do just that, in a private and comfortable setting.
"People can come in and it's just them here," she said.
Perrin's own battle against addiction was difficult, and she wants to give people the resources she didn't have.
"Learning how to live sober, I just had nothing there," she said. "My recovery was really slow."
Through her counseling, Perrin hopes to show people their value and help them realize that they're not their addiction.
"You've got the opportunity to help them step away from that," she said.
She wants to give those with addiction back their empowerment.
"I'm just a really strong advocate for helping people," Perrin said. "And I won't give up on people."
A three-time cancer survivor, Perrin wasn't sure if she would have this chance.
"I'm just thrilled to be able to have the opportunity," she said.
Perrin said she finds it rewarding to help people, especially knowing firsthand what they've been through.
"For me to be able to still be alive and to be sober, to be able to give the gift to someone else, to be able to be their gift, their advocate," Perrin said.
Judgement and shame fuel addiction, so Perrin said it's important to connect with people and help them stand back up.
"It's a really horrible disease and I think people deserve help," she said.
A River Falls resident, Perrin is excited to be back working in town.
"I'm looking forward to connecting with the community," she said.
Though her business is new, Perrin's efforts to support those fighting addiction are not. With a bachelor's degree in sociology and a masters in addiction counseling, she's previously worked as an addiction counselor, and last year she published a book "Standing Back Up Against Addiction."
"When an addict reaches out for help, do not become blind and indifferent," the opening of the book states. "Do not let what becomes for you an opportunity in allowing the addict to feel God's love and presence through you, pass you by."
Before opening this business Perrin worked as a clinical director. She decided to go back to counseling because she said it is her purpose in life.
"It's why I'm still around," Perrin said. "I was meant to do this."