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 substance use counselors, clinicians, and people in recovery. We’re all devoted to improving addiction care and lowering barriers that keep people from finding treatment. We recently 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. I was helpless as far as how to help her. That was a terrible feeling. I think 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 people’s journeys to a life without drugs and alcohol abuse. There is no greater reward than seeing those people 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 letting 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. Online counseling allows more of us to obtain it. And 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 when counselor and client are working together online. This leads to more of a partnership or collaboration than meeting in an office does. So the best thing a person can do to prepare for online counseling is, not prepare!
Can you share a highlight of your career so far with us? We understand that you’re required to maintain confidentiality, of course.
To respect this client’s confidentiality, I’ll have to 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 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 recognized the number as one of my clients that I hadn’t heard from in a while.
I was so glad he got in touch!
He called me in tears to thank me for helping him. 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 with him. He didn’t realize the huge gift he gave me that day! It 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?
That’s easy. The greatest, most disturbing thing that more people think is that there is only one way to treat addiction. It saddens me that people often don’t take full advantage of what will work best for them because of others’ misinformed opinions. I wish people understood that they need to really find the best path for them rather than blindly following what someone told them is the only way to get clean and sober. I wish I could tell people that just like there are many different kinds of people in the world, there are also 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 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. It really is how I take care of myself. 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 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, and I like the time with them as much as alone time. Supporting others is something that I feel so lucky to be doing—that in itself is my taking care of myself.