Interview with Sherrie, a Workit Counselor in Our California Clinic

Workit Clinic is fighting the opioid crisis on both coasts, offering telehealth Suboxone treatment and online therapy for those ready to make a change.

Our team consists of counselors, clinicians, and people in recovery devoted to improving addiction care and lowering barriers that keep people from finding treatment. We met up with Sherrie, Workit’s Counselor in the Bay Area of California, to get to know her better.

Sherrie, you’ve been working in the addiction field for years. What got you interested in helping people who were struggling with addiction?

I’ve always been interested in being a part of helping others.  When I was younger, my best friend, who is like a sister to me, had a really bad substance use disorder and I was helpless as far as how to help her.  That was a terrible feeling and I think then something in me clicked then that I would do what I could when I could for those in need. I’ve had the privilege to be a part of many, many peoples journeys to a life without drugs and alcohol abuse and there is no greater reward than seeing those get to that wonderful place of recovery.  There is something special about someone wanting to get better and actually getting there. So to answer your question, I think that it was that friend that let me be a part of her getting to that place of peace that interested me in helping people struggling with addiction.

When we think of counseling, we often think of in-person care. But programs like Workit Health are changing the options for addiction counseling by offering online treatment. What should people know when preparing for online counseling?

Before starting online counseling, the best thing a person can do is to not overthink it.  Just think of having better access to support in the comfort of their own home. There is not one of us who cannot benefit from counseling, and online counseling allows more of us to obtain it.  Online counseling is so much more as it allows people to get what they want while sitting in their living room! A different kind of relationship develops too when counselor and client are working together online.  This lends to more of a partnership or collaboration than does meeting in an office. So to prepare for online counseling the best thing a person can do is, not prepare!

 
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Supporting others is something that I feel so lucky to be doing that that in itself is my taking care of myself.
 

Can you share a highlight of your career so far with us? We understand that you’re required to maintain confidentiality, of course.

I will have to respect this clients confidentiality and change this a bit.  A number of years ago I was at a brunch on Easter with my family.

It was really nice as my kids were still young and enjoyed those days.  But what it was that really made that day for me was a phone call I got.  Some of you just rolled your eyes at that, but yes, I had my phone with me in case one of my clients called!  I looked and recognized the number as one of my clients that I hadn’t heard from in a while.

Was really nice that he was still in touch!

He called me in tears just to tell me thank you for helping him as this was the first time in many years that he was able to spend the holiday with his daughters.  The first time in as long as he could remember that he was clean and sober on that day. I cried too, but he didn’t realize the huge gift he gave me that day! Also reminded me just how much I love what I do and how lucky I am that I get to do it!

What do you wish you could tell people about addiction, that is most commonly misunderstood?

This is easy.  The greatest, most disturbing thing that more people than not think about addiction is that there is only one way to treat addiction.  It saddens me that so often people do not take full advantage of what will work best for them because of others misinformed opinions. I wish people understood that they need to really look and find out what is the best path for them to get their needs met rather than just follow blindly what someone told them is the only way to get clean and sober.  So my response is really twofold: I wish I could tell people that one, just like there are many different kinds of people in the world, two, there are many different kinds of recovery options.

You spend a lot of time supporting other people. What are your favorite ways to take care of yourself?

My favorite thing to do to take care of myself is to get in my car and go to the beach.  It is my happy place! I’m so lucky that I live somewhere I can do this often as it really is how I take care of myself.  Just the peacefulness I feel when I am there is something that I cherish. I like that time to get away and be thankful for the ability to take advantage of the beauty around me.  Of course that is not something I can do every day, so it is important that I take time for myself just to be still. I love my family and friends, so I like the time with them as much as the alone time.  Supporting others is something that I feel so lucky to be doing that that in itself is my taking care of myself.

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As Workit Health's Head of Marketing, Kali Lux leans in to the culture gap between addiction, recovery, and medicine. She's interested in finding solutions that work for substance users better than drinking or drugging does, and believes Workit is one of them. She's written extensively on her own experience through addiction into long-term recovery. You can connect with her on Twitter @kalireadsbooks.