Working with substance abuse clients is both extremely challenging and extremely rewarding. Although it is a difficult field to work in, the moments where you actually get to see the impact you've made on the lives of your clients will make all of the tough days worthwhile.
The biggest thing to think about when looking into substance abuse counseling is how well you feel you will be able to detach yourself from the job. You get to know your clients very well and their lives often resemble the most heartbreaking movies you can imagine. Some of the things you hear will haunt you. Worse still, you will grow to love people who are very likely to die. The odds are against any particular client staying sober. You never know which ones are going to make it.
If you have a compassionate heart, a high level of patience, and the ability to keep a positive attitude when it seems like everyone else has given up, then this might be the career for you.