Stephanie

Our Founder and Director

``These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.``

I have dreamed of a North Shore based recovery community for young adults for many years.

As a Northfield-based therapist, I have often been saddened by watching clients who wish to return home to the North Shore from out-of-state treatment or sober-living environments, but have no community to support them. Research is clear that a supportive fellowship of other recovering young people – connection – is the single greatest asset in sustained recovery. Without connection, and faced with integrating a sober lifestyle alone, my clients were struggling. I mean, let’s face it, it’s not easy to be sober and 18-30 years old.

Supporting our recovering young people and their families is the inspiration for Providence.

In my nearly twenty years of practice, I have worn many hats: juvenile court counselor, substance abuse treatment provider, wilderness therapist, program developer, clinical supervisor, and most recently, the owner and director of Transcend Counseling Associates private clinical practice. Perhaps it speaks to the pervasiveness of addiction that, in each role, I have had the privilege of supporting people along every step of their journeys through substance abuse.

Working with people in recovery compels me for many reasons. Here are some:

Recovery saves lives. Lives lost and lives not fully lived.

I have lost clients and friends to their addiction. I have grieved with their families, an indescribable pain. I have supported families whose lives have been leveled by their loved ones’ addiction. I have also sat with clients and friends who tell me recovery saved their life, saved their family and inspired a life they could have never imagined.

I believe in compassion.

Addiction is a vastly misunderstood disorder, one that people are blamed for having. Matt Yan, in a beautiful editorial for the Northbrook Tower, wrote these words:

“It doesn’t matter where addicts come from. It doesn’t matter what invisible borders they crossed to get here. They are people like us. The minute we think ‘that could never happen to me,’ we have lost sight of our shared humanity.”

Compassion without action is just observation.

Recovery is a journey of the spirit.

Like any life experience that brings us to our knees – for many of us this is crisis, grief, trauma – addiction requires its sufferers to turn deeply inward. Finding a road to peace, joy and connection is a journey taken in the deepest part of the soul.

Nothing is more inspiring than standing with my clients as they find their way along their path.

Now a bit about me!

An outdoor-based lifestyle is kind of my thing. I love hiking, mountains, gardens, fresh air and fresh food. A vegetarian since the age of twelve, I also love animals. I believe there is great meaning to be found in compassionate relationships between people and animals. And I’m totally the person for whom stupid animal videos were made. When I’m not eating chips in bed with my dog and my family, I like to be active. (Yes, I realize the contradiction). I like books, travel, people, adventures, and finding the simple joys. I’m epically clumsy, I never sit down and I’m really excited about the new riding lawn mower at Providence. My husband teaches and coaches at Glenbrook North High School and my kids attend Northbrook schools. We live in Northbrook five minutes from the farm.

– Stephanie Zwilling, MSW, LCSW