Josh Pannell’s title might technically be “Executive Program and Clinical Assistant,” but he sees that as basically just a nice way of saying that he handles a little bit of everything. Whether it’s facilitating group activities or assisting the admissions team, directing the communication of doctors and pharmacies or helping clients take their first steps into their new lives, Pannell enjoys being a catch-all for Roots Through Recovery. After all, he was one of the facility’s very first employees and comes from a background that gave him plenty of knowledge on the other end of treatment.
Why were you initially interested in getting into this field?
Honestly, I had no clue what else I wanted to do with my life. I’m in recovery myself, and when I became sober I didn’t want to go back into sales. I didn’t know what I wanted to get into, so a counselor at the facility I was at recommended going into this field. They helped me go back to school to get everything I would need. Although I was originally scared to death of going back to school, once I started looking into it I got really excited about it. I dove in head first and started working in admissions and in a residential program while going to school full time. I pretty quickly realized that I wanted to keep going after I got my initial certification, so I’m now pursuing my bachelor’s degree with a plan to get my master’s degree after.
What do you think it is about Roots Through Recovery that sets it apart from other treatment facilities that you’ve seen?
It’s the environment and team for sure. When I was in treatment, I never had the luxury or privilege of going to a facility like this. I always had the standard nonprofit one-size-fits-all mold. We have so many types of treatments, therapies, and experiences here for people to see what works best for them. Every facility says that they have “personalized” treatment, but I’ve never before seen such personalized treatment that really focuses on the individual. It’s also such a tight-knit team that helps everyone. I’ve never been a part of a team that works so closely and communicates so well.
What have you learned while working at Roots Through Recovery?
Kind of like how the treatment isn’t one-size-fits-all, sometimes success isn’t either. Success doesn’t necessarily mean that the client doesn’t relapse, but it might just be about an overall life change or giving them the tools they need to function in society whether sober or not. The goal is not just staying sober, but also about addressing the trauma that they’ve experienced. Identifying that trauma and learning how to address it has helped me recognize some of my own patterns as well.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Well these days I’m mostly going to work, school, and also planning my wedding for May. In the little free time I have, I enjoy going to the gym — I’m trying get back into a shape that’s not round — and I like going new places, having new adventures, and eating new food. I’ve learned in the last year or so that i really enjoy going to amusement parks like Disneyland. My fiancée and I will go to Disneyland for a couple hours on a Friday evening, and we also love going up to Yosemite every year. I enjoy local things too as long as I’m doing something new and having fun.