CHOICES’ Jeanette Limoli is a story of redemption

CHOICES’ Jeanette Limoli is a story of redemption

Jeanette Limoli is “anything but a wimp.” Limoli was born in Cleveland and raised in Hackensack, New Jersey. However, because her father was serving in the U.S. Navy, Limoli and her five siblings constantly moved back and forth between the Garden State and the home of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. As an adult, and despite having a lucrative job in the medical sales field, Limoli was excessively partying and frequently getting sentenced to prison for drug-related crimes. 

“As a Sicilian who grew up in a Sicilian community, I was exposed early to fast city life,” Limoli said. “I found myself getting into trouble. I’m a recovering alcoholic and an ex-felon. When freed on parole, I was struggling and knew I wasn’t where I was supposed to be. So, I quit the medical field altogether and decided to take a low-paying job at Dunkin’ Donuts. One day, I was talking with a friend of mine and she also said that I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be and urged me to return to school. So, I thought about it and enrolled at Columbus State Community College, where I received my associate’s degree in addiction and mental health studies.”

Limoli, who had already secured employment at Columbus, Ohio-based CHOICES Behavioral Health Care, decided to further her education while working and earned her bachelor’s degree in chemical dependency from Ohio Christian University in 2015. Limoli remains thrilled about her choice to become a counselor and is convinced that she found her true calling. 

“I started working here in August 2014 and I’ve met some really great people here,” Limoli said. “Most importantly, I’m happy and feel like this is where I was supposed to be. It was hard to leave such a high-paying job and earn so little at Dunkin’ Donuts, but I knew these were the steps that I needed to take to get where I wanted to be.”

Limoli distinctly recalls all the people who doubted her ability to succeed and she’s proud of her vast array of accomplishments since receiving parole. Still, perhaps more than anything else, she feels blessed to be in her grandchildren’s lives.

“Everyone counts you out when you are an addict and felon,” Limoli, a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor III (LCDC III) who plans to become a Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor (LICDC) in February after earning her second master’s degree, said. 

“You can either become what people tell you that you are or you can become better. You know, I still remember a parole officer who refused to call me by my first name. To her, my name was just my prison number. She motivated me to do better and prove her wrong and I have. In fact, I’ve accomplished every goal that I made since leaving the penitentiary. I’m able to participate in my grandkids’ lives and I’ve repaired bridges. To me, it’s not about money. To me, it’s about how I’ll be remembered and about what will be put on my tombstone.” 

Limoli believes that her no-nonsense approach has helped her mature into a solid counselor. Moreover, she believes that she’s gained the trust of her clients and learned how to manage stressful situations in the workplace in a positive way.

“I’m anything but a wimp,” Limoli said. “I’m strict and tough, but I’m also very loving and supportive. Basically, I’m a straight shooter and I won’t baby my clients. People need to know that they are messing up and, if they don’t make changes and keep it up, they are going to die. With that said, it’s still tough and painful to watch people sink and leave before the miracle of recovery can happen. But thank God for the one person out of five who actually wants help and works with you to get sober, improve, and grow.” 

Jeanette Limoli has overcome countless obstacles to become an inspiration to many people across the Buckeye State and that is undoubtedly one way she will “ be remembered.”

-Colin Linneweber