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Sayward's story

“We {providers} get to see people at their worst, but we also get the privilege of seeing people at their best.”

Sayward Salazar offers a different point of view from other Know the Facts stories. Her story shares the perspective of a treatment provider, someone who has dedicated their professional life to helping those dealing with addiction. Sayward is a licensed clincal social worker from Richmond, Indiana. Currently, she works with pregnant women and mothers struggling with substance use disorder at Fresh Start Recovery Center in Winchester, Indiana. With a background as a social worker and therapist, Sayward has been in the addictions field for nearly 20 years.

From an early age, Sayward knew she wanted to help people. Her mother was a home health aide and many in her extended family are social workers and therapists. Sayward studied psychology at Earlham College and went on to earn her master’s in social work. As a licensed clinical social worker, Sayward has been a counselor and a therapist for people with substance use disorder. She’s currently the director of a addiction treatment facility that serves women, expectant mothers and mothers of young children.

As a treatment provider for those struggling with addiction, she has seen people at their worst, and at their best. She knows how this disease can affect the life of an individual and their loved ones. Over her career she has learned that addiction is not a choice, “I haven't found a single person that has sat down and said, ‘I want to be an addict. I want to do this for the rest of my life.’ People are tired. They're tired of chasing. They're tired of hustling. They're tired of doing all of that.”

For Sayward, her service is about empathy, compassion and acceptance. Over the years she has seen the struggle of addiction and the hope of recovery. She encourages everyone to learn about substance use disorder so they can be more understanding about this disease. She recognizes that, as communities, we need to be willing to accept people living in recovery with open arms. But ultimately, she asks that Hoosiers put themselves in their neighbor’s shoes and choose compassion.

Stories of Recovery

Meet the Artist: Cristianne Fritsch

Cristianne's photo

Brazilian-turned-Hoosier artist Cristianne Fritsch moved to Osgood, Indiana, 10 years ago when she and her husband wanted to be closer to his family. This is the second story she’s illustrated for Know the Facts. When she watched Sayward's story, she saw it as more than a team of knowledgeable professionals, but also a group of people who fit the role of caring friends - individuals who would offer their helping hands with heart and without judgement. This inspired Cristianne’s approach, “I tried to translate that kindness into illustrations that hopefully demonstrate a level of warmth and compassion, with characters interacting in a softhearted, accepting and gentle manner.”