Workit Health Stands in Solidarity Against Racism

We are deeply disheartened by the continued active oppression of the black community. As leaders in the addiction recovery space, it is our job as a team to lift up the voices of the black community, specifically the black recovery community, in these times. Most recently, we’ve been listening hard to posts like this one from Ariel Britt, a leader in the Collegiate Recovery Community. It cannot continue to take active murder and the voices and labor of the black community to increase our collective awareness of racial injustices. Racism should not be polarizing; it’s not a difference of opinion and we cannot and will not be a company that is unwilling to express support and create spaces for all voices.

That said, we’ve heard that the Workit team is feeling overwhelmed, appalled, frustrated and saddened, which can make knowing what to do extremely difficult. We encourage you all to focus on what is within your sphere of influence. For our black team members, know that the Workit team is here for you to listen and act accordingly – specifically your supervisor and Kristy in HR. If we have not done enough, we take responsibility and are proactively working to create a company that is welcoming of everyone. If you are a writer, consider working with Kali (kali@workithealth.com) to see if the Workit Blog or social could be your next platform.

For our allies, educate yourself and your loved ones. Seek to understand, not to be understood. Use the resources linked below to better understand actionable steps you can do with or without a budget. As Founders, we commit to going deeper than optical allyship, checking in our black colleagues, reading up on antiracist works (join the #Workitbookclub channel on slack to follow along), keep supporting after the outrage, and creating a long-term strategy to affect change in our field in partnership with team leads.

For everyone, above all communicate when you need space. We cannot provide the world’s best addiction recovery care if our team is not set up to be the best version of themselves.

The resources linked below are not all-inclusive and are perhaps overwhelmingly abundant. If you have any you’d like to add to our list, please email kali@workithealth.com.

We urge you to please take time to read through these resources or others as it is imperative to educate ourselves in order to dismantle racist structures.

Together, onward,
Lisa and Robin
Co-Founders and Co-CEO’s of Workit Health

Race in Addiction Care and Recovery

  1. Access to Addiction Care Varies by Race
  2. To Address Addiction, Confront Racism in Our Health and Justice Systems
  3. Race and the Drug War

BLM organizations, partners, & more

  1. Black Lives Matter (national)
  2. Color of Change
  3. The Movement for Black Lives
  4. Black Visions Collective

Bail Funds + Legal

  1. Minnesota Freedom Fund
  2. Statement from the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund
  3. The Bail Project
  4. National Bail Fund Network directory
  5. NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc.
  6. Reclaim the Block
  7. Campaign Zero

Mental Health resources

  1. Project LETS
  2. Become a Leader in the Mental Health Movement

Opportunities for activism

  1. 75 Things to Combat Racial Injustice
  2. Boycott Companies that use prison labor
  3. 11 Things You Can Do To Help Black Lives Matter End Police Violence
  4. Anti-racism resources – focused on white allies

Who Needs the Beach and Booze? Alternative Spring Break Offers A Different Experience

Workit Health hosted a team of four grad students for Alternative Spring Break, where they worked to create innovative solutions for addiction with Workit’s team in a brief trip to the Bay Area.

As a team of four graduate students from the University of Michigan School of Information focusing in User Experience Research and Design, our self-initiated Alternative Spring Break was to work with Workit Health in San Francisco, improving Workit member experience with their mobile app. Most days within the week, we had the opportunity to work at a conference room in The Wing space designed for women located in downtown San Francisco.

 Robin, Co-Founder of Workit, with the team. Robin, Co-Founder of Workit, with the team.

On Monday at The Wing, we met with the CEO & co-founder of Workit Health, Robin, to further discuss and understand her expectations and our assignment for the coming week. Robin has an award-winning design background, and brings that experience to Workit’s program. Robin walked us through the online courses and coaching Workit members went through when they begin their program with Workit Health, allowing us to better understand the context we were working with. We had the privilege to have a special guest presentation from Robin’s husband, Beau, who runs the design firm Founders & Co, and previously worked at IDEO. He gave us helpful insights of design processes and provided us with rule of thumbs for prototyping rapidly.

After Beau’s presentation, Robin dived back into explaining what our mission was for this week for Workit Health. They wanted us to build out a top-secret moonshot project which included innovative new interactive features for the member dashboard. We had the opportunity to walk through the current look of the app with Robin and hear a few of her ideas about the project. Before the end of the day, we scheduled interviews with Workit’s Marketing and Counseling teams to receive further insights into the possibilities we could develop.

Tuesday morning at our Airbnb in Oakland, we interviewed Kali, Workit’s Head of Marketing, and Brooke, Workit’s Head of Care Management. We did a deep dive into the audience that we’re designing for, as Workit is focused largely on human-centered and patient-led design. When we returned to The Wing, we had a guest presentation and talk with Kate Harris, co-founder & creative director at SIREN, about entrepreneurship, which was inspirational and motivational for our future career paths. Afterwards, we consolidated the key information from our interviews and researched user feedback regarding Workit Health’s current program.

 The ASB team at Pinterest. The ASB team at Pinterest.

On Wednesday, we had the opportunity to meet with Amy Compeau and a few other designers from Pinterest for lunch and learned more about what they do and their design process. After their generosity of meeting with us, we headed to the Workspace Cafe for a few hours to sketch out our ideas and began prototyping high-fidelity mockups. Since we only had one week for the project, we paired up and split the work. We designed prototypes of a brand new section of the app.

Thursday was our second to last day of working with Workit Health. We touched based with Robin to run some ideas past her and to make sure we were on the right track. We finalized our designs and worked on our presentation together. Friday morning, was presentation day and we headed into San Francisco one last time. We presented to the entire Workit team, including Counseling, Development, Marketing, and Design. We demonstrated our objectives, background research, and brainstorming with our sketches and high-fidelity prototypes, explained why we made certain design decisions, and provided additional recommendations.

We are truly grateful for this experience, as we learned a lot about how to design for an audience we may not be the most familiar with. We asked a lot of questions to become as familiar as we could with the problem space of helping people with addiction, which taught us how to ask the right questions to get those answers, especially without access to the patients directly. Additionally, we learned how to work quickly, as we went from being unfamiliar with the problem space to producing high-fidelity prototypes within a week!

Preventing Prescription Painkiller Misuse with Employee Education

Educating Employees on the Risks of Prescription Painkillers

The costs of prescription opioid misuse to employers are as great as $18 billion per year.

Knowledge is power. It’s a trite but true slogan, and especially applicable to the prescription painkiller epidemic; millions of Americans have inadvertently walked into opioid dependencies and addictions via legal prescriptions because they were unaware of the risks or ill-prepared to handle them.

A study from Castlight Health based on anonymous health data from 1 million people estimates that the costs of prescription opioid misuse to employers are as great as $18 billion per year: $8 billion medically-related and another $10 billion tied to productivity issues like absenteeism. Of course, the biggest tragedy of the issue is the devastation it causes to the people suffering with addiction and dependency, and their loved ones.

Addressing this widespread problem is an essential part of upholding a commitment to a safe and healthy workplace and workforce. While many of the contributing factors to the opioid crisis are outside of employers’ control, there are some relatively simple measures that can go a long way in protecting employees.

One particularly low hanging fruit: educational campaigns. Instilling awareness and providing information ahead of time empowers people to make more informed choices regarding their healthcare.

Here’s what employees need to know:

  1. The basics of the opioid epidemic and how individuals can develop problems with misuse, dependency, and addiction.

  2. How to discuss concerns with providers who prescribe or recommend opioids, and where to find information such as job descriptions to share with medical providers.

  3. The effects of painkillers on safety-sensitive tasks, driving, and other activities.

  4. Laws pertaining to prescription drug use and misuse at work.

  5. The importance of safe storage and disposal of medication, and not sharing with others.

  6. How to access confidential resources for help, for dependency or addiction, and how to refer people to help.

  7. Official company prescription drug policy and how it is monitored and enforced.

Education is just the start. A workplace with a focus on substance wellness and other wellbeing benefits, as well as clear and confidential access to evidence-based resources, is vital to also assist those who may be struggling.

6 Strategies for Spending (Sober) Holidays with Family

When I set out for my first sober holiday trip home, I did so with hopeful, helpful preparation.

I stopped drinking in June of 1997.  I went to AA and counted days off of alcohol. As I endured a roller-coaster of emotions day to day, sometimes hour to hour, I pretended to (and sometimes, genuinely did) enjoy my first sober summer New York City. As the hot days transitioned into cooler ones, and as I was safely past my first 90 days sober and experiencing my first sober everything, I prepared for my first holiday season – and potentially visiting my family – without my buffer and crutch, alcohol. I say “prepared for” because at the time, I wasn’t sure what I would do when the time came to fly home to visit my family.

As many are, my family is complicated. I am the oldest of 5 children. So at the time, I wanted to get down to my hometown to visit my siblings because Christmas was still quite “fun” with family gatherings and the younger family members still excited by the Christmas morning surprises. However, my family is much divided, and in spite of my excitement to see everyone, I didn’t have to think too far ahead to anticipate the feeling of dread when faced with the reality of the drama of my large, broken family.

“Alcoholism is a three-fold illness: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve,” so the saying goes in AA. Sometimes I roll my eyes at it. How dramatic to attribute so much negative discussion to these beautiful annual traditions. But sometimes I acknowledge just how difficult this time of year can be. That even though I relish the moment that Pumpkin Spice Lattes reappear in the Starbucks menu, and the evenings that I pass the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree when I leave my office, when I take an honest appraisal of my experience in the days leading up to, and celebrating these auspicious holidays, I know that sadness and anxiety creep in when I think of unmet family expectations, addicted family members who turn up in frighteningly bad shape, and the knowledge that one or both parents are sad that our family is divided and not the perfect picture we thought we should be.

“I know that sadness and anxiety creep in when I think of unmet family expectations and addicted family members who turn up in frighteningly bad shape”

When I set out for my first sober holiday trip home, I did so with hopeful, helpful preparation. For me, I had the relationship with my sponsor as well as meetings from which to draw support. Some recovering people might not go to AA but have therapists, trusted clergy people or friends with whom they can discuss anxious feelings or the idea of coming up with a Plan B if the family visit becomes too much.

Here are some of the suggestions I took both at my first sober holiday with my family, and in the years after:

1. Have phone numbers of trusted people to call.

In my early years we didn’t have cellphones from which we could text or call a safe person right away. Nonetheless, I kept a list of phone numbers of people who said I could call them if I felt anxious or like I wanted to drink. And I did. And it helped me tremendously! Sometimes just the sound of a friendly, familiar person’s voice calmed me to the extent that I could return to the dinner table where the crazy conversations were happening.

“Sometimes just the sound of a friendly, familiar person’s voice calmed me to the extent that I could return to the dinner table where the crazy conversations were happening.”

2. Rent a car, or make sure to have your own transportation.

There is nothing worse than feeling trapped at the family home or at the Holiday Party that’s gotten out of control with no means of getting away. I try to always have my own means of transportation when I’m visiting family anyway.

3. Stay in a hotel, or with friends.

I have a good friend who always had “my room” ready for me at her house, which wasn’t too far from my parents’. Sometimes I could afford a hotel, which was luxurious!  It was kind of fun acting like a tourist in my own hometown. Other times I couldn’t afford the plane fare, rental car, and a hotel, so I allowed my friend to house me.

Trust me, being able to stay on my own, away from my family, gave me the greatest peace during otherwise emotionally wrought visits home. There might be times when your family “insists” that you stay with them, but I’ve given them excuses such as needing a quiet place to be able to do work, having an allergy to a family pet, or even needing to catch up on my sleep – so that I don’t have to tell them that staying with them breaks my sanity into little pieces.

4. Keep a journal.

Sometimes it helps me to be able to sneak off and just write out how I’m feeling.  It’s a simple act but it has given me moments of solace when my mind races with wild emotion. Going off by myself to do a little writing is not a grand gesture, but it gives pause – however small it may be – during my time with the family.

5. Find a way to do service.

If I remember correctly, during my first Christmas vacation to see my family in sobriety, I cried a lot. I felt a lot of responsibility in keeping my family happy and often times, I just broke down and cried. I went to Midnight Mass that year. I cried – Mass was in my childhood church, filled with bittersweet memories – but while there I discovered I could assist the elderly celebrants during services. Being with others took away the sad feelings that were overcoming me. I was making new memories in that church. In late years, I volunteered on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve and Day. I found many organizations outside of my church which gave opportunities to help others during the holidays. Not only did I feel a new usefulness when I volunteered, I met new, really cool people who were there doing the same thing!

6. Try to remember that you’re not alone.

You’re not. You may experience loneliness or extremely difficult feelings which you once drank over. Holidays with or without the family can be difficult. The days and the feelings will pass. Call a friend, a sponsor, anyone you trust to speak to. You may even need to call a hotline. That is okay. I felt incredibly lonely in my early recovery, and I called those lines.

“I have learned to take care of myself in ways I didn’t know were possible, but my learning started out slowly.”

Over the years I’ve learned new, better ways to cope with my feelings during the holidays. I’ll tell you a little secret: this year, I’m not going home at all. I’m staying in New York and doing some of the things I mentioned above. I’ll volunteer. I’ll meet friends for dinner. I’ll go to a meeting. I have learned to take care of myself in ways I didn’t know were possible, but my learning started out slowly. Many things change if we give them time, ask for help, and try to be gentle and considerate of ourselves.

If this is your first sober holiday with family, I wish you well. My hope is that we all continue to grow and gain strength from each sober experience. For me, each experience has provided a bit more new perspective to be able to take on the next. We have come this far sober, and we can continue to do it. Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year to all.

How To Find The Best Suboxone Doctor In Michigan

You have questions about finding a Suboxone doctor in Michigan. We have answers.

Is Suboxone the best medication to help me detox from opiates?

Anyone who has been through it knows an opiate detox is rough. The good news is, there is medication that can help you get through opiate detox. From basic over-the-counter medicine to help you be more comfortable to prescription medications to make detox more bearable and stabilize you long-term, cold turkey isn’t the only option.

So what exactly is Suboxone?

Buprenorphine is a very weak opioid prescription medication, commonly referred to by Suboxone, it’s popular brand name. The buprenorphine in Suboxone is combined with naloxone, a medicine that blocks the effects of opioids, in a very small amount, to prevent misuse.

Learn More: Is Suboxone an Opiate? And Your Other Detox Questions, Answered

Can my current doctor prescribe me buprenorphine (Suboxone)?

Suboxone is a controlled substance regulated by the DEA, and physicians must have a DATA waiver to prescribe it. According to the National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment, “Only about 35,064 of the 800,000 US physicians (3%) have the necessary credentials to prescribe buprenorphine for addiction.”

However, the tide is turning! Different types of doctors are getting the DEA waiver and beginning to prescribe Suboxone. You can ask ANY doctor to become eligible for prescribing Suboxone by getting the waiver, or find one that already has the waiver. If you already have a relationship with a doctor you absolutely love, it doesn’t hurt to ask them to get waivered.

Until all doctors have the DEA waiver, Workit Health makes Suboxone treatment available throughout Michigan via telehealth. At Workit Health, your first appointment is in person, and the rest are done via video chat with your clinicians. Due to a lack of doctors across Michigan prescribing Suboxone, we’ve had clients drive hours to see us for that first appointment, then move to our entirely online program, which also includes online recovery groups, and 24/7 messaging with a recovery coach.

Learn more about how Workit Health’s online Suboxone program works.

Are there specific types of doctors that prescribe Suboxone?

All different types of doctors can prescribe Suboxone. Psychiatrists and addiction medicine specialists often treat patients with Suboxone in an office setting. Emergency medicine doctors are also on the front lines of the opioid crisis, as they’ve seen firsthand the effects of opioid addiction in the emergency room. This makes them especially likely to have the waiver and prescribe Suboxone. At Workit Health, our physicians, Dr. Melody Glenn and Dr. Theadia Carey, are experienced addiction specialists with years of experience managing teams who treat substance use disorders.

Meet the Workit Health team, and our panel of expert advisors.

What is the three day rule?

If you need immediate relief from opiate withdrawal, and don’t want to go to your dealer or the streets for help, any doctor can administer buprenorphine (Suboxone) for up to three days in an emergency situation. The three day rule doesn’t mean they must administer buprenorphine, but means that they couldThe three day rule:

“allows a practitioner who is not separately registered as a narcotic treatment program or certified as a ‘waivered DATA 2000 physician,’ to administer (but not prescribe) narcotic drugs to a patient for the purpose of relieving acute withdrawal symptoms while arranging for the patient’s referral for treatment”

Do I have to go to a methadone clinic to get Suboxone?

No. Although both Suboxone and methadone are effective treatments for opiate addiction, you don’t need to go to a methadone clinic to get Suboxone. Some methadone clinics do offer treatment with buprenorphine (Suboxone), but the regulations for prescribing methadone are different than the regulations for prescribing Suboxone.

Trying to decide between Suboxone and methadone? We cover the differences.

Will my insurance cover buprenorphine (Suboxone) at the pharmacy?

Private insurance often covers buprenorphine/naloxone. If it doesn’t cover the brand name Suboxone specifically, then another brand name. In Michigan, Medicaid requires a pre-authorization for a Suboxone prescription, but this is something your care team can help you with.

Suboxone Too Pricey? 6 Ways To Save On Scripts

What if I don’t have insurance but want Suboxone treatment?

If you don’t have insurance, our team at Workit Health has grant funding available for certain counties in Southeast Michigan, and affordable self-pay pricing for Michiganders all over the state. The fee includes a doctor’s care (your doctor will determine if medication works for you), engaging online courses, and online counseling. Give us a call, as we’re happy to discuss pricing and financing options with you: 855-659-7734.

Other programs in Michigan may offer different solutions, so be sure to ask about therapy requirements (and additional costs for private and group therapy). Our counseling is included in our flat monthly fee.

What should I look for in a Suboxone doctor?

Look for a doctor that offers counseling, or ensures that you are receiving counseling, with your treatment. Buprenorphine (Suboxone) plus counseling is the gold standard of care in opiate addiction. Ensure that your doctor listens to your goals for recovery, and allows you to define success in recovery in your own ways.

Building a relationship with a doctor can be
difficult, especially after opiate addiction. But honesty is crucial to success in recovery, and in medical treatment. Look for an understanding doctor that you feel comfortable talking to about your missteps, stumbles, and achievemen
ts along the way.

Try an online lesson from Workit’s program, on becoming your own healthcare advocate.

Have other questions about Suboxone in Michigan? Ask them in the comments.

Workit Health’s Team Celebrates Recovery Month

September is National Recovery Month, and at Workit Health we’re celebrating all month long.

National Recovery Month’s theme this year is Join the Voices for Recovery: Invest in Health, Home, Purpose, and Community.

A big part of community when working in addiction treatment is the culture of recovery created through the workplace. I caught up with members of our team at Workit Health to talk about what working in recovery means to them, and why it matters.

 

Lisa, Workit Health’s Co-Founder and Co-CEO

As in most aspects of my life, I don’t follow cookie cutter formulas for living a “recovery lifestyle.” I’ve always had a questioning soul, and have never been one to adopt a model hook line and sinker. When I was just getting started in recovery, it was critical for me to be surrounded by diverse models of “recovery.” One of the early standouts on my recovery path was the social worker who ran my intensive outpatient program who now drank moderately but had a history of drug addiction. It was important for me to see that was a possible path (albeit one that didn’t end up panning out for me). At that stage in my journey a person like myself today with 16 years of sobriety just seemed like a weirdo with nothing better to do than hang out in a self-help group. They didn’t “have something I wanted.”

 Here’s a pic of jaded me in early sobriety, mostly accompanied by Johnny Cash and Parliament Lights. Here’s a pic of jaded me in early sobriety, mostly accompanied by Johnny Cash and Parliament Lights.

What was most liberating was when I started to meet people who worked in the space who just preferred the sober lifestyle. The question of whether or not they “truly had the disease of alcoholism” was a mute point. They’d become addicted to consciousness and wouldn’t trade it for the world. They are the reason I work in the field today and love my teetotaler lifestyle. It made me giddy seeing all the luminous things they’d filled their life with now that it wasn’t bogged down in numbing out. Being one of those lights is my north star. They make sobriety go viral, they make everybody else out there look like they’ve lost their edge, rather than the other way around. September is National Recovery Month, a great time to honor all the lights you’ve been lucky enough to bump into on your path. Someday they will outnumber the stars.

Andrea, Social Work Intern

I have been a librarian for twelve years and I love it very much. After five years of sobriety and reading enough books on addiction, recovery, the War on Drugs, criminal justice reform, and public policy, I felt a pull to change professions and decided to go back to school for training to work in the substance abuse field. Working in recovery aligns with where I am at today. It answers the need to give back that many of us in recovery feel and provides me with a greater sense of purpose.

 

Hanna, Social Work Intern

With Recovery Month well underway, I find it pertinent to discuss the importance of celebrating individuals who use all of their strength to make changes in their own lives. Being in recovery is a huge process for those who are impacted by addiction. Having a substance abuse disorder, as well as a co-mental health disorder means that you cannot just will away the problem. The drugs essentially alter brain chemistry, making recovery a long, tiring, and complex process that often involve trials and tribulations. Recovery is also facing the stigma and stereotypes that are attached to substance abuse and mental health disorders.

Recovery Month holds its own importance. It’s a way to share your story, to be a voice to others who are too afraid to speak up, and essentially make it known world-wide that others who are struggling with addiction are not alone. With that, to those who are taking steps to improve their quality of life from mind-altering substances, mental health issues, or any other addiction: I am incredibly proud of you.

Kali, Head of Community

There is so much power in hearing that people’s lives were also really, really bad in the depths of addiction and then they got better in recovery. I will never get tired of hearing recovery stories. Because when I was drinking and using, I was convinced I was the only person struggling not to drink or use drugs at 4am alone in my apartment. I was so isolated. Now, whether it’s at 12-step recovery meetings, in Workit Health audio shares, through blogs and social networks, or recovery podcasts, our stories remind me every day that there is no right or wrong way to recover, and that recovery is possible. It’s not only possible, but progressive.

In early sobriety, I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to hold down a full-time job. I never imagined myself working full-time for a recovery company, but there was a lot I couldn’t imagine about what my life looks like today. I was just grateful to not be in withdrawal and not have crippling social anxiety, and more than that felt like icing on the cake. It’s a strange and exciting time to work in addiction recovery, as ideas about treatment are evolving and even the language is changing. We’ve lost too many friends and family members to drugs and alcohol to live in the status quo. We must push forward, even if it means we all must learn and grow in the process.

 

If you’re in a place today where you aren’t sure you’re going to make it until tomorrow, then I’d remind you that Workit Health was founded by two women who also felt that exact same way at their low points. Today they’re in long-term recovery, CEO’s of their own company, and using their past struggles to build better experiences for those looking for help.

We can and do recover, in Recovery Month and every month.

7 Emotions that Keep Us From Confronting Loved Ones About Addiction

When your loved one is struggling with addiction, emotions can keep us stuck in unhealthy cycles.

If someone in your life is struggling with addiction, there is no right or wrong way to feel. Expect a cycle of emotions from anger, to guilt, to fatigue, to confusion. Emotions are important aspects of our relationships—they’ve evolved to keep us healthy and safe. But sometimes, the emotions we rely on as natural instincts can keep us stuck. Let’s look at the big seven emotions that keep us from healthily expressing our concerns to loved ones about addictive behaviors.

Love

Call me Captain Obvious, but love is the big one. We referred to this emotion earlier, as a reason you may be walking on eggshells around friends, family members, or even coworkers struggling with addictive behaviors. And even though endless pop songs are written about the things we do in the name of love, it isn’t the only emotion keeping us from confronting those practicing addictive behaviors.

Confusion

Addictive behaviors are confusing and unpredictable. Just as you’re sure a loved one needs help, they seem to climb back on the wagon and act healthy again. Like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a great employee one day can be the holiday party disaster the next. Social norms demand that addictive behavior be hidden, so we only witness it in stops and starts. Is there a problem, or isn’t there?

Guilt

And if there was a problem, is it somehow your fault? Guilt plays a big part in keeping a cycle of addictive behavior trucking on forward, as those affected most can feel somehow responsible. The more responsible you feel for your son’s pill problem, the less likely you are to stop handing him over those hundreds of dollars. And once you’ve become a part of a cycle of addictive behavior, the guilt over allowing the cycle to continue grows even greater.

Shame

Shame is guilt’s ugly stepsister, and it keeps us all sick much longer than we need to be. The stigmas surrounding addictive behavior and the way it affects relationships are evolving in our society, but feeling shame about a loved one’s addictive behavior can create a barrier to seeking help. Brené Brown, in “I Thought It Was Just Me,” notes that “Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.” As the surgeon general’s report just noted, addictive behaviors are widespread, common, and (as we’d like to note) treatable. They aren’t shameful, and neither is loving someone affected by them.

Denial

Sometimes, it’s easier to wear rose-colored glasses. Denial is the dark side of trust’s moon. Are the stories you are telling yourself making sense anymore? And if not, do you need to get some more information? It’s important to have a healthy trust of your loved ones, but remember to listen to your own instincts. If you have sacrificed living in reality to avoid conflict, it’s time to take inventory of your own situation.

“If love is that big, beautiful (and sometimes crazy) emotion that keeps us caring at all, then fear is the knot in our stomach that makes us refuse to let go.”

Fear

If love is that big, beautiful (and sometimes crazy) emotion that keeps us caring at all, then fear is the knot in our stomach that makes us refuse to let go. It keeps us up at night, has us checking our phone for text messages when it hasn’t buzzed, and keeps us quiet when we know something needs to be said. Sarah Benton notes in “The Challenges of Dealing with an Alcoholic Loved One,” “I have often observed that fear is a driving force in the way that families relate to a loved one’s active alcoholism: fear of loss, fear of causing pain and discomfort, fear of illness and death, fear for safety, fears of opinions, fear of the unknown and fear of guilt.” Fear of change, retaliation, separation, or loss of control—all of these things can keep us in a situation that is less than ideal. If you’re a bundle of nerves, it might be a good time to evaluate what you can change in your life (your own boundaries and behaviors) and what isn’t effective to worry about (almost everything else out of your control).

Exhaustion

Running through that list of human emotions, who wouldn’t be exhausted? Sometimes, existing in a less than ideal status quo is easier than rocking an already shaky boat. This is especially true if you’ve been by the side of someone practicing addictive behaviors for quite a while. You might have tried and heard it all before, and exist in a state sort of like battle fatigue. If you feel exhausted, listen to that feeling. This is your body and your mind asking for a battery recharge. Focus in on your own basic self care. Remember that there is help out there for those with addictive behaviors in your life. But more importantly, you should help yourself.

7 Tips for Finding Suboxone Treatment in San Jose, California

If you’re struggling with opioid addiction, the medication Suboxone (buprenorphine) can help you through the withdrawal and help you get your life back in the long-term. How can you find a doctor who prescribes Suboxone in San Jose?

Due to DEA regulations, it can be (ironically) more difficult to find treatment with Suboxone than it is to be prescribed other opioid medications like percocet or oxycodone. Although this is changing as more medical providers go through the special training required to provide Suboxone and other buprenorphine medications, it can be a frustrating experience to find Suboxone doctors in San Jose or other areas of Santa Clara County currently accepting new patients.

Here are tips and strategies to help you find a Suboxone program and begin opioid addiction treatment:

1. Check out online Suboxone treatment.

At Workit Health, we only require a single in-person office visit to our Lafayette, California location. After that, all medical appointments are done online, via videoconferencing through our online program. Suboxone treatment at Workit Health also includes 24/7 messaging with a counselor, as well as engaging online addiction courses that teach you skills like mindfulness, handling emotions in sobriety, and understanding triggers and cravings.

Learn more about Workit Health’s online Suboxone treatment program.

2. Ask your general practitioner for a referral, or if they’re willing to get the waiver needed to prescribe buprenorphine.

The DEA requires DATA waiver certification to prescribe Suboxone and other buprenorphine medications, which requires extra training. Many times, this means that doctors, nurse practitioners, and other clinicians dedicated to treating opioid addiction aren’t general practitioners, but there is a push for primary care doctors to treat opioid addiction and prescribe buprenorphine. It’s worth checking in with your primary care doctor, and seeing if they are willing to get the training required to prescribe Suboxone or refer you to someone else who is.

3. Submit your information to TreatmentMatch.org.

Treatmentmatch.org is the NAABT (The National Alliance of Advocatesfor Buprenorphine Treatment)’s totally anonymous matching system, and a brilliant idea. Rather than call a list of providers and see which ones are accepting new patients, Treatmentmatch.org allows you to submit your information to buprenorphine providers near you and if they’re currently accepting new clients, they respond to your inquiry. Your information is cloaked through the matching system, so you can choose to contact providers who look like a good fit for you, but won’t be contacted by any others.

4. Contact Santa Clara County for assistance.

Behavioral Health Services of Santa Clara County does offer a Suboxone Treatment Program. Their website states, “The Substance Use and Treatment Services (SUTS) is the County’s first to use Suboxone for the treatment of prescription pain medication dependence, heroin addiction, and methadone or other opioid dependence.”

5. Look into local methadone clinics.

While many methadone clinics may have a different treatment style than office-based opioid treatment programs that prescribe Suboxone, like asking patients to visit everyday in the beginning of treatment and gradually earning take-home medication, methadone clinics are an available options that may sometimes prescribe Suboxone.

Check out SAMSHA’s list of opioid treatment programs (methadone clinics) in California.

6. Find prescribers via Suboxone.com.

The website for Suboxone, the most popular brand-name buprenorphine product, is frequently updated with a directory of doctors that currently prescribe Suboxone. The only issue here is that doctors need to remove themselves when they aren’t accepting patients, which may not always get done. Expect to call around a bit, but don’t let that stop you.

7. Look into clinical trials involving Suboxone or other buprenorphine medications.

Hey, this is a longshot, and if you’re struggling with addiction and need immediate treatment, applying for a clinical trial might not be the best way to go. But especially if you don’t have health insurance, lucking out with a clinical trial in your area can be a great way to get free treatment while contributing to the greater good of scientific research. Remember that some clinical trials use double-blind studies, or give some participants placebo medications. You can check out clinical trials wtih buprenorphine at www.clinicaltrials.gov.

San Jose, California is one of the largest cities in the Bay Area, California. Like all of America and Northern California, San Jose is being affected by the opioid crisis. Luckily the extreme rates of overdose that have affected the East Coast haven’t yet come to the West Coast. But why wait? Find treatment today, and take your life back from addiction.

The Impact of Addiction in Employees’ Families

Addiction is a family disease, even in the workplace.

I worked for four years in adolescent mental health, taking part in the journeys of hundreds of teens. Addiction and substance use disorder was a very common struggle for my students, and as I accumulated experience with this population, specific patterns emerged. One of the most striking patterns is the devastation that addiction has on family systems.

We so often tend to embrace an isolationist model of human beings, yet humans are innately social. We are a part of our systems, starting with the family, and when the family system cracks, the individual is put through extreme stress and pressure.

This seemed to be a universal truth voiced by those with whom I worked: parents’ careers were jeopardized by behaviors of their kids or spouses. Missed time at work, blown assignments, and strained relationships within their companies were commonly reported. Such consequences feed a cycle of frustration, shame, and pain for the family as a whole. No individual family member walks through the flame untouched. How could we expect them to?

At Workit, we ask the question: From an employer standpoint, how do we understand the silent battle that many of our employees fight on a daily basis? How can we quantify the pain, disengagement, and emotional drain that comes from dealing with such damage inside the home?

As employers, we want our employees to be well. We want good things for our people, and we want good things for the organization. These interests tend to merge in the long term.

Yet, even if we examine only what we can measure from a business standpoint, the numbers are compelling. If we take SAMHSA’s estimated 8.1% substance use disorder rate from 2014, which is one of the lower estimates available, and extrapolate generally, we find:

  • In a family of two adults, the odds of addiction in the household would be 15.5%.
  • In a family of four (with children 12 years or older), the odds of having at least one member exhibit substance abuse dependency increases to 28.7%. (1)

These figures, of course, are imperfect. They assume equal distribution across factors such as socio-economic status, family history, and geographic location. Yet the evidence that we have supports the notion that addiction is a universal problem. (2)

And while we can’t measure every aspect of the problem, we can pinpoint some ways that employees facing family addiction are likely to be affected:

  • Absenteeism
  • Decreased ability to focus on work
  • Social withdrawal
  • Lowered morale
  • Increased likelihood of employee exit
  • Overall worsened performance

It becomes clear that addiction in the family is a real threat to wellness, both for employees and organizations. The question, now, is what are we going to do about it?