Together we do this - not alone anymore

Scott McDowell

Scott McDowell – serves on the Master Trauma Foundation Advisory Council. On episode 16 of the Stephen Center Help Hope Heroes podcast, Scott McDowel, a Peer Support Specialist for Community Alliance is interviewed. His life has been full of trauma and addiction since a very young age. With 6 years of sobriety and various life experiences in prison and rehab, Scott is able to pay it forward by supporting peers that are staying in homeless shelters. Hear Scotts story and how it helps him make an impact in our community today.

Life Support Group members
I was in a very low place in my life. I felt depressed, stressed, and lonely. I had just separated from a 20 year marriage to a man who was a drug and alcohol addict and verbally and mentally abused me. I didn’t know what to do or how to change my life and then I met a member of the Life Support Group. She invited me to attend a meeting with her. I reluctantly decided to go. When I arrived I was warmly greeted and welcomed. The first few meetings I attended I just sat and listened to others share. I was never pressured to speak. It wasn’t long before I realized I wasn’t alone and that the other members wouldn’t judge me. I felt very comfortable and soon joined conversations and built up my self-esteem. I gained the knowledge of my worth and strength to get myself out of my situation. I currently attend the weekly meeting and look forward to the time I spend with the spectacular members. I would recommend Life Support Group to anyone.

Life Support gives me a place to go to be with like people, which helps me feel not alone. AA and NA are not for me but this is. I am feeling less shame about myself. I can bring my children with me, there is free child care and our evening meal too! It is a very relaxed setting and very easy to come to.

I get so much out of it! I trust the people there and I do not trust people easily. I am able to grow, learn, and share with others like myself. The sharing has really helped me and I have noticed a change in myself by attending.

Attending Life Support gives me a feeling of positive worth. It has given me the strength to get out of a bad situation. I have noticed a positive change in myself and others have too. It feels good to be a part of something like this, to talk without the fear of being judged.

This group gives me the chance to think about things. It has gotten me out and to something and now I find myself wanting to go. I find hope there.

Testimonial - From “pissed” ordered to take stupid mandated trauma group to life changer

Well, I’ve always been a helper, and in my past 2 years at MHA, I have focused on learning to shift my wanting to help into the ability to support people. Using my lived experience to show people that they can live a different life is not only a job to me. I have finally found somewhere where all the baggage, all the good, bad and ugly of my past is no longer looked at with such disdain, and I am embracing the lessons that life has taught me and striving, daily, to live a different life.

Back in 2018, I was given a directive by my probation officer to attend this Trauma group, and quite frankly, I was pissed. (Thankfully) I hadn’t ever been a victim of sexual assault, I had never been a victim to nor had I ever witnessed any serious trauma, and I had a pretty uneventful childhood. What the heck could I possibly stand to gain from this stupid probation mandated class. The first week I went in, I really was only there physically, up until the end of the class. I don’t remember exactly what she said nor the content of the conversation, but the lady facilitating the group opened my eyes to the fact that what may not seem to others to be a huge trauma, may look totally different to me, and that maybe I didn’t even know how some things had affected me. She challenged me to truly think about things, and it was through this self-reflection that things really clicked.

Through the class, I was able to work through the trauma of my soon to be ex-husband sexually assaulting a young girl in my home, in the same room where my children lied asleep, and the subsequent trauma of the accusations towards myself from the detective that worked the case. Though I never realized how this event affected me, after the class I felt something that I hadn’t felt in a long time: I felt free. All the guilt, anger and sadness that I had built up over the event was gone, and I felt physically, emotionally and mentally free from something I didn’t even know had been weighing me down.

I don’t remember the lady’s name that facilitated the group, but I feel indebted to her. It was through her willingness and ability to challenge me, her patience and true understanding of trauma that brought me to the place I am today.  This trauma group was a life changer to me, and I am blessed for the opportunity to share this liberation with my peers.