No one chooses to become addicted, and there are many reasons why people use and abuse substances. It doesn’t take long to reach rock-bottom – losing everything, including your children and your health. Rachelle, a patient at Therapeutic Health Service’s Snohomish/Everett Branch, never imagined she’d lose her life to addiction, but she almost did.
A Challenging Diagnosis
Rachelle was diagnosed with cancer at age 25. A diagnosis that shocked her and stopped her from living her best life. As a mother of a young child and a young adult herself, Rachelle had to work twice as hard to make ends meet. Working as a truck dispatcher and no stranger to hard work, Rachelle knew how to juggle priorities, but she couldn’t do it all. Rachelle turned to using cocaine to get through the day, to help her stay awake and remain focused. She felt she needed it to handle the stresses of being a single mother, a cancer patient, and working full-time. Soon cocaine wasn’t enough, and she started using heroin. Everything went downhill fast after that.
Heroin’s Effects on the Brain
According to SAMSHA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration,
“Heroin use alters brain circuits that control reward, stress, decision-making, and impulse control, making it more difficult to stop using even when it is having negative effects on your life and health. Frequent use also can lead to tolerance and withdrawal, so you need more of the drug just to feel normal.”SAMSHA “Tips for Teens – Heroin”
Even though Rachelle knew heroin was hurting her mind, body, and relationships, it was incredibly difficult to stop. Rachelle didn’t want to use, but withdrawal kept her from quitting. She was rapidly losing everything; her home, her car, and soon her son.
Losing her Son
Not long after becoming addicted to heroin, Rachelle’s 5-year-old son was taken from her. She continued to spiral out of control. “At that point, the thought of losing everything that I’ve ever loved, I just was doing anything and everything to numb that pain. It was hard, it was super hard” said Rachelle.
In a few years she and her boyfriend (who was also addicted), became pregnant. Five months into her pregnancy she realized it was time to quit. Time to get her life back together and put a stop to the pattern of addiction that had held her down for the last three years. Rachelle said, “I got pregnant, which was an eye-opener ‘cause I couldn’t imagine losing another child at that point. That was my motivation to get clean.”
Rachelle was contacted and referred into service at THS.
“Basically, I came in here, bawled my eyes out, laid it all out on the table. I mean it was rock-bottom for me. I wouldn’t be able to live through having another child yanked from my hands. I was doing anything and everything to support my habit: stealing, car theft, the whole bit. I was at the worst time in my life…This place saved me.”– Rachelle
Working Hard for Recovery
Rachelle worked incredibly hard when she entered treatment. She was determined to end her addiction and recover what she’d lost. Rachelle offered an ultimatum to her boyfriend, either he joined her in treatment, or he had to go. Her boyfriend entered treatment one month behind her and they’ve both been clean since then.
Rachelle and her boyfriend, now fiancé, are both 5 years clean. Their baby was born healthy and Rachelle now sees her eldest son every other weekend. They even have a new baby on the way! Together with her fiancé, they are working on buying a house with room for their whole family.
Reflecting on Success
Joy Jack, Rachelle’s counselor had this to say, “Working with Rachelle has been a really rewarding experience for me, because many people who come to our program are not as successful and don’t know what they want when they get here. Rachelle was somebody who did have that focus on making recovery her priority.” Joy later added that she was incredibly proud of Rachelle, her fiancé, and all the hard work the two had put into their recovery.
Rachelle’s life is now back on track. Reflecting on her life now she said, “I have my kids now and that’s everything to me, that makes me rich in myself. I’m happy with life now and today. I can’t really ask for more. I’m pretty blessed.”
Every day we care for hundreds of patients like Rachelle. Our counselors support our patients to help end their addiction, set goals, and build their future. Your donation helps us to continue creating new futures for the adults and youth we serve. Your support helps us to achieve our mission of fostering healing and recovery.
What’s different about methadone?
Like other opioids – heroin, Vicodin®, OxyContin®, Vicodin® or fentanyl – too much methadone can be harmful. Unlike these drugs, methadone effects start slow and take time to reach full effect. Methadone stays in the body much longer than other opioids. MAT clinical staff will start a patient on a low dose of methadone and will gradually increase the dose over time. This increases the total amount accumulated in the body.
How is a starting Methadone dose established?
In order to set a starting dose,
staff take your body into account. Your physical health and other prescribed
medications, supplements, and any herbal remedies you may be taking are
considered. Staff also consider your use of opioids (amount, frequency, method
of administration), and use of other drugs or alcohol.
It is very important that you provide staff with honest, true, accurate information. If you don’t, the dose of methadone you are administered may not take into account your lifestyle and needs. A patient’s dose is considered by a provider using guidelines provided by the federal government.
Staff will slowly increase your dose as you start in treatment. This allows for the methadone level to gradually build up. You may still experience withdrawal symptoms after starting on methadone. However, your providers will evaluate your symptoms to help you get to a stable dose.
What does Methadone do for you?
An ideal methadone dose should
accomplish the following: relieve symptoms of withdrawal, should not make you
feel drugged or “high”, and remove your craving for opioid drugs.
These effects might not be achieved right away. It may take time for MAT staff to find the optimal dose for you. Each person’s body and metabolism is different, so each person’s dose has to be set to their unique needs.
What happens if you take too much Methadone?
There is a great risk of harm if you take too much methadone. Symptoms of over-medication include feeling “high”, drugged, or unsteady, drowsiness or “nodding off”, slow or difficult breathing, mental confusion, extremely contracted pupils, blue lips or fingernails, a slow heartbeat or feeling very calm or itchy.
An unusual boost in energy and/or the ability to stay awake for a long time may also indicate overmedication.
If you experience any of these symptoms at any time, DO NOT IGNORE THEM. If you or someone you know experiences any of these symptoms, THS clinical staff or emergency services should be contacted. All patients are encouraged to have Narcan/Naloxone at all times. It can be life-saving in the case of methadone or opioid toxicity. Ask your methadone provider or your medical provider for a prescription and more information regarding the use of Narcan.
Mixing other drugs or alcohol with methadone can be very dangerous, resulting in mixed-drug toxicity (i.e. benzodiazepines, alcohol, other sedatives). This toxicity can lead to hospitalization or even death.
What should I tell my family and friends about Methadone?
Many people do not understand what
addiction and addiction treatment looks like and how it works for patients.
Many people falsely believe that using methadone is the same as using heroin.
They may think that you are trading one addiction for another. This, however,
is absolutely not true. It is important to remember the points below when
speaking to your family and friends about treatment:
Opioid addiction is a chronic illness and methadone is an opioid prescription medicine used to treat it. Methadone has been used in this way for more than 54 years. Through Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), millions of people have recovered from opioid addiction.
Methadone does not make you “high”. People who are treated with methadone will function perfectly well while taking it.
Just like diabetes, heart, and blood pressure medications, methadone must often be taken on a daily basis for up to a lifetime. Many people need a long-term daily dose to ensure their well-being.
What should I tell my employer about Methadone?
In certain jobs, drug testing is required. Honesty is a good approach in this case. Not telling an employer about your prescription could mean you are found to test positive for opioids. However, your treatment cannot be used against you. Laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act protect persons in treatment for addiction from job discrimination. Certain “reasonable accommodations” must be made. This can include a work schedule that allows for clinic attendance.
What are Take-Home Medications?
Take-home medication, sometimes known as “carries”, require patients to fulfill specific criteria outlined by both the federal government and the individual clinic. If you are interested in learning more about these criteria, your counselor can provide a handout. Once you have met the criteria, your counselor helps you fill out an application for take-home doses. This application is then reviewed for approval by the medical director and care team.
“Methadone & You”, Brochure by Addiction Treatment Forum. 2000.Clinco Communications.
In Need of Service?
Connect to care now through our Get Help form. Click the button below to go to our online form where you can request help. A qualified clinician will contact you within 24 hours to get you started.
The first thing you need to know about addiction recovery
Is that it doesn’t happen overnight. Recovery can take many years and even after a long period of sobriety, relapse is always a possibility. Betty is a patient at Therapeutic Health Service’s Summit Branch. Her story of recovery highlights the time it can take to reach recovery and what it takes to get there.
Betty became a patient of THS in 1981
She was 30 and pregnant with her daughter. Betty had been addicted to heroin for several years. She was in need of real help. At that time methadone was just starting to be used in the long-term treatment of opiate addiction. Previously Betty had tried a 21-day detox program that used methadone, a new treatment at the time. “It was a three-week program, so there was no time for counseling and other issues in your life. It was very hard to get the benefit of methadone in such a short time” Betty recalled. “A lot of treatment goes along with methadone. It’s your mind, body, and soul, all those have to be addressed and that takes time.”
Betty’s addiction was a traumatic experience
When asked what she remembers of that time, Betty said “Before I got on methadone I was totally lost. I had a habit and I didn’t know what to do about it, I just know I didn’t want it. Every moment is spent trying to figure out what you’re going to do for your next fix.” For Betty, methadone provided the stabilization she needed to move past her addiction.
The relief was just…Even the first day the relief was just…amazing. Just knowing I didn’t have to do things I didn’t want to do. I probably would not go to prison for the rest of my life. I could start rebuilding a life. Methadone was a real miracle for me.– Betty Hopper, THS Patient
Now 68 and retired
Betty is living the kind of life she always wanted to. She exercises regularly, lives in a beautiful, no-fuss apartment and is heavily involved with her church. Betty helps her church community in a number of different ways, including helping at their regular homeless feed. Knowing she can help others, provide treats, and study her faith means the world to Betty. Her recovery through time has made these things possible.
Betty wants others to know that methadone isn’t a way to get high, it’s a way to get well
I’d love for methadone treatment to be destigmatized. It’s really important to me because it’s affected my life so much. The perception is so opposite what’s really happening at these clinics. If people realized what we really do here, they would have a whole different view of methadone clinics. We have real treatment. We have groups, we have counselling, we have doctors, we have all kinds of outreach programs available through the clinic that you wouldn’t get anywhere else.
– Betty Hopper, THS Patient
Betty receives daily methadone treatment
Through a low-level maintenance dose. This helps her have peace of mind as she goes about her day. She’s seen the benefits of treatment through time. Having been sober for 20 years, Betty looks forward to growing old with grace knowing she has the support she needs.
Thanks to methadone and regular counseling
Therapeutic Health Services has been helping people like Betty recover from addiction to opiates for nearly 50 years. Recovery through time has improved and through their efforts, thousands of people have recovered from addiction. Each day the care staff at Therapeutic Health Services is helping people to create the lives they want to live.
We hope that you will join us
In supporting the recovery of hundreds of people like Betty. With your support, people in need can take their next step in moving past addiction and into a brand new life. Please show your support and donate, you’ll be part of creating a new tomorrow, today.
THS is hosting Alcohol/Drug Information School (A/DIS) at two of our branches, Summit and Eastside, once monthly through to December 2019. These courses help individuals make more informed decisions about substance use.
What is Alcohol/Drug Information School?
The Alcohol/Drug Information School classes offered through Therapeutic Health Services meet the requirements set forth in the Washington State Administrative Code (WAC) in conjunction with Washington State Courts, Probation, and the Washington State Dept. of Licensing.
Participants will have the opportunity to learn about the risks and consequences associated with the continued use of potentially addictive
substances. A/DIS is a workbook based course meant to educate and inform people about the decisions they make and their impact on themselves and those around them.
When are the Class Sessions?
Eastside Branch Classes
1412 – 140th Place NE
Bellevue, WA 98007
Monday – Thursday 7 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Friday 7 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Summit Branch Classes
1116 Summit Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
Monday – Thursday 7 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Friday 7 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Information About Class Sessions
- All classes start promptly at 8:00 a.m. and will last a minimum of 8 hours. If you are more than 10 minutes late, you will not be permitted to take the class.
- The class fee is $95 which includes the cost of materials.
- Fees must be paid and intake paperwork completed at least one day prior to class.
- Intakes are completed at the front desk. Tickets, legal information, names and addresses of attorneys, referrals or assessments are to be brought at the time of intake.
- Classes and meetings can be tailored to meet mandated hours – for more information contact the Eastside Branch.
How to Register
You can register by contacting the branch nearest you. View a list of branches here:
It Starts Small
One of the scariest aspects of opioid use is how easily it can slip into your life and change it forever. What’s worse, you can become addicted after taking just a few pills. Sometimes you’re hooked after being on pain medication for a small injury. Something sends you to the doctor: a broken toe, a sprained wrist, wisdom teeth removal. You’re sent home with a prescription: oxycodone, hydrocodone or codeine. You take your medication and before you know it the bottle’s empty. Suddenly your body is craving more.
That’s how it was for Brenda, a patient of Therapeutic Health Services’ Shoreline Branch. Brenda was prescribed pain-killers because of a toothache. She would never guess she’d become dependent on them so quickly. As Brenda puts it, she never took the drugs to get high, she took them because her body needed it.
Brenda described most of her days when she was using as staying at home and popping pills, hardly doing anything for most the day. Brenda wasn’t trapped alone, her husband also developed an addiction. Together they wasted day after day taking pills at home. It wasn’t long before they found themselves buying pills off a drug dealer. It’s difficult to imagine: a grandmother, a servant of her faith, a kind woman, buying drugs on the street at prices that broke her life.
Time to Stop
Eventually Brenda reached a point when she disconnected from the person looking back at her in the mirror. Brenda describes herself as a fashionable, attractive person, but reflection showed she was losing that spark. That’s when she and her husband decided they were done. They were done with the constant cycle of buying and taking drugs and wasting days doing little else. Brenda and her husband connected to a methadone provider and started their recovery. Brenda says it saved their lives.
Recovery isn’t instantaneous, for many it’s a long and difficult process. Brenda and her husband are still in recovery. Brenda came to Therapeutic Health Services’ Shoreline Branch six years ago, and her quality of life as seen a huge boost since entering treatment. Brenda is proud of herself again, she gets out of the house and spends time doing what she loves, like spending time shopping and engaging with her church community No longer trapped by her addiction Brenda is free again something she says, you can’t put a price on.
What Tomorrow Brings
Brenda is deeply grateful for the care she has received and for the peace her treatment has provided her. Brenda thanks “Jesus for her recovery, for Therapeutic Health Services, her counselor Paula Wolfe, and for the creator of methadone therapy and medication assisted treatment.” Brenda feels that these forces saved her life and she is grateful for them.
Support Those in Need
Brenda’s story is unique, but it echoes the stories of so many in our community who struggle with opioid addiction. With our region and nation in the throes of an opioid epidemic, your support is needed now more than ever. Your contribution to THS gives us the power to provide quality, effective treatment to more people like Brenda. This is what counts: saving lives and creating new futures. Join us and donate today.
A Hard Start
Debra had a hard start in life. She was born addicted to heroin, her parents were both users before she was born. At the age of 13, Debra decided she was going to try heroin. Debra asked her father to shoot her up. He begged her not to. Debra told him, that if he didn’t give it to her, she’d go find someone who would. So he shot his 13-year-old daughter up with heroin. Debra had been addicted for decades until she began treatment at Therapeutic Health Services.
Treatment and Recovery
Debra has been a patient receiving Medication Assisted Treatment (methadone) at Therapeutic Health Services’ Shoreline branch for two years. For the last year, Debra has been completely clean from heroin for the last year. Her cravings being managed by her medication-assisted treatment and she is exploring the underlying cause of her addiction through regular meetings with her counselor.
Recovery has opened a new door for Debra. She was recently cured of Hepatitis C. Debra had been trying to get the cure for quite some-time after the treatment was released. The problem was she was frequently relapsing into heroin use and would have to continually restart the treatment process. She remembers feeling frustrated with herself and her condition. Debra had a path to being free from the disease, but her addiction was a barrier. Finally, with the help of Medication Assisted Treatment and her counselor, Paula Wolf, Debra was able to complete the process and is now 100% Hepatitis free. Debra fought hard to overcome this horrid disease, which claimed the lives of both her parents.
Loss of her Husband
The last year has been incredibly challenging for Debra. She lost her husband in April of 2018. He died from complications from methamphetamine use. As she puts it “he was putting it in his morning coffee each day.” Debra was devastated and it was this pain that helped her commit to becoming clean
Having sold her and her husband’s home, she found herself without a place to live. Living with addiction for most her life had a negative impact on Debra’s relationship with her family. With no other place to go, she showed up at her son’s house and said, “I know I haven’t always been good a mother to you. I know I wasn’t there for you when you needed me,” He welcomed her into his home without hesitation and she’s been there since.
Today and Tomorrow
Debra is now living each day as best she can. She’s involved in her church and has been trying to find ways of being helpful within her faith community. Her hope now is to find a way of using up her time. “Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop” she said. Debra knows the key to preventing her relapse in the future will be working hard on her treatment plan goals, staying involved, and finding pro-social activities that support her recovery.
Recovery can be a long and challenging road. There is no cure for addiction and like most chronic illnesses, it needs to be managed for life. Care at Therapeutic Health Services recognizes this. Our team understands that patients need time to heal and move past their addictions at the pace that’s right for them. Now that Debra is clean, she can start working on finding herself, discovering who she is when she’s not using heroin. Our team is there with her, every step of the way.
Support Those in Need
To support patients in recovery, like Debra, please consider donating today. Help give people struggling with addiction, the support they need to restore their lives and rebuild their futures.
Katrina has a problem. She’s spent the last 10 years coping with a heroin addiction. She’s suffered from her addiction, from her bipolar disorder, and she’s been on and off the street a number of times, dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. However, her co-occurring substance use and mental health condition and her lack of stable housing are not her
Katrina’s story is individual but it isn’t unique. Hundreds of patients are served each day at THS, many of which face the same challenges as Katrina. Each day our counselors are helping patients move past their respective traumas, an effort which is guided by evidence based care that is trauma-informed.
Trauma Informed Care makes safety the chief focus in working with a patient. As Lindsey Arrasmith, CDP puts it:
Trauma InformedCare is acknowledging that you’ve been through…some stuff. We can begin to separate you from that trauma, from that stuff, in a way that does not bring you down, that does not weigh you down, that does not prevent you from living your life. It empowers you to go achieve your dreams.”
Lindsey helped lead the effort to adopt Trauma Informed Care (TIC) throughout THS. She was taught about TIC at a previous position where she learned “Seeking Safety” ‑ the modality of care now used by all THS staff. “Seeking Safety” is an evidence-based practice developed by Lisa M. Najavits, PhD at Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital. “Seeking Safety” teaches providers to work with clients to develop safety in all parts of their lives; relationships, behavior, emotions, and thinking. The modality can be used anywhere, by anyone, for anyone to help those in need to work through trauma and addiction problems.
Lindsey was deeply moved by her “Seeking Safety” trainings and as she incorporated it into her work, she was touched by how much it helped her serve patients. Working with a patient means going through their trauma with them and providers work hard to ensure this process is safe for their patients. “I think as clinicians we have this fear, especially in the beginning, of ‘What if I hurt someone?’ Having ‘Seeking Safety’ as a foundation, is a safety net” Lindsey said when asked how the modality works in her practice.
Care isn’t a cure, it’s a process. A person in care has to go through many challenges in treatment. Trauma-Informed Care and “Seeking Safety” helps guide care to ensure patients can recover and move toward leading better lives. Therapeutic Health Services trauma-informed care policy recognizes that “survivors need to be respected, informed, connected and hopeful regarding their own recovery.” Under the guidance of this new policy, all staff at THS are working together to create safe environments where patients are empowered to reach their own goals and make full recoveries.
Your Information. Your Rights. Our Responsibilities.
This notice describes how medical information about you may be used and disclosed, as well as your rights regarding this information and how you can get access to this information. Please review it carefully.
Effective Date: Jan 1, 2018
You have the right to:
- Get a copy of your paper or electronic medical record
- Correct your paper or electronic medical record
- Request confidential communication
- Ask us to limit the information we share
- Get a list of those with whom we’ve shared your information
- Get a copy of this privacy notice
- Choose someone to act for you
- File a complaint if you believe your privacy rights have been violated
You have some choices in the way that we use and share information as we:
- Tell family and friends about your condition
- Provide disaster relief
- Include you in a hospital directory
- Provide mental health care
- Market our services and sell your information
- Raise funds
Our Uses and Disclosures
We may use and share your information as we:
- Treat you
- Run our organization
- Bill for your services
- Help with public health and safety issues
- Do research
- Comply with the law
- Respond to organ and tissue donation requests
- Work with a medical examiner or funeral director
- Address workers’ compensation, law enforcement, and other government requests
- Respond to lawsuits and legal actions
When it comes to your health information, you have certain rights. This section explains your rights and some of our responsibilities to help you.
Get an electronic or paper copy of your medical record
- You can ask to see or get an electronic or paper copy of your medical record and other health information we have about you. Ask us how to do this.
- We will provide a copy or a summary of your health information, usually within 30 days of your request. We may charge a reasonable, cost-based fee.
Ask us to correct your medical record
- You can ask us to correct health information about you that you think is incorrect or incomplete. Ask us how to do this.
- We may say “no” to your request, but we’ll tell you why in writing within 60 days.
Request confidential communications
- You can ask us to contact you in a specific way (for example, home or office phone) or to send mail to a different address.
- We will say “yes” to all reasonable requests.
Ask us to limit what we use or share
- You can ask us not to use or share certain health information for treatment, payment, or our operations. We are not required to agree to your request, and we may say “no” if it would affect your care.
- If you pay for a service or health care item out-of-pocket in full, you can ask us not to share that information for the purpose of payment or our operations with your health insurer. We will say “yes” unless a law requires us to share that information.
Get a list of those with whom we’ve shared information
- You can ask for a list (accounting) of the times we’ve shared your health information for six years prior to the date you ask, who we shared it with, and why.
- We will include all the disclosures except for those about treatment, payment, and health care operations, and certain other disclosures (such as any you asked us to make). We’ll provide one accounting a year for free but will charge a reasonable, cost-based fee if you ask for another one within 12 months.
Get a copy of this privacy notice
You can ask for a paper copy of this notice at any time, even if you have agreed to receive the notice electronically. We will provide you with a paper copy promptly.
Choose someone to act for you
- If you have given someone medical power of attorney or if someone is your legal guardian, that person can exercise your rights and make choices about your health information.
- We will make sure the person has this authority and can act for you before we take any action.
File a complaint if you feel your rights are violated
- You can complain if you feel we have violated your rights by contacting us using the information on page 1.
- You can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights by sending a letter to 200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20201, calling 1-877-696-6775, or visiting www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/complaints/.
- We will not retaliate against you for filing a complaint.
For certain health information, you can tell us your choices about what we share. If you have a clear preference for how we share your information in the situations described below, talk to us. Tell us what you want us to do, and we will follow your instructions.
In these cases, you have both the right and choice to tell us to:
- Share information with your family, close friends, or others involved in your care
- Share information in a disaster relief situation
- Include your information in a hospital directory
If you are not able to tell us your preference, for example, if you are unconscious, we may go ahead and share your information if we believe it is in your best interest. We may also share your information when needed to lessen a serious and imminent threat to health or safety.
In these cases we never share your information unless you give us written permission:
- Marketing purposes
- Sale of your information
- Most sharing of psychotherapy notes
In the case of fundraising:
We may contact you for fundraising efforts, but you can tell us not to contact you again.
Our Uses and Disclosures
How do we typically use or share your health information?
We typically use or share your health information in the following ways:
To Treat you
We can use your health information and share it with other professionals who are treating you.
Example: A doctor treating you for an injury asks another doctor about your overall health condition.
To Run our organization
We can use and share your health information to run our practice, improve your care, and contact you when necessary.
Example: We use health information about you to manage your treatment and services.
To Bill for your services
We can use and share your health information to bill and get payment from health plans or other entities.
Example: We give information about you to your health insurance plan so it will pay for your services.
How else can we use or share your health information?
We are allowed or required to share your information in other ways – usually in ways that contribute to the public good, such as public health and research. We have to meet many conditions in the law before we can share your information for these purposes. For more information see: www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/consumers/index.html
Help with public health and safety issues
We can share health information about you for certain situations such as:
- Preventing disease
- Helping with product recalls
- Reporting adverse reactions to medications
- Reporting suspected abuse, neglect, or domestic violence
- Preventing or reducing a serious threat to anyone’s health or safety
We can use or share your information for health research.
Comply with the law
We will share information about you if state or federal laws require it, including with the Department of Health and Human Services if it wants to see that we’re complying with federal privacy law.
Respond to organ and tissue donation requests
We can share health information about you with organ procurement organizations.
Work with a medical examiner or funeral director
We can share health information with a coroner, medical examiner, or funeral director when an individual dies.
Address workers’ compensation, law enforcement, and other government requests
We can use or share health information about you:
- For workers’ compensation claims
- For law enforcement purposes or with a law enforcement official
- With health oversight agencies for activities authorized by law
- For special government functions such as military, national security, and presidential protective services
Respond to lawsuits and legal actions
We can share health information about you in response to a court or administrative order, or in response to a subpoena.
- We are required by law to maintain the privacy and security of your protected health information.
- We will let you know promptly if a breach occurs that may have compromised the privacy or security of your information.
- We must follow the duties and privacy practices described in this notice and give you a copy of it.
- We will not use or share your information other than as described here unless you tell us we can in writing. If you tell us we can, you may change your mind at any time. Let us know in writing if you change your mind.
For more information see here: www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/consumers/noticepp.html
Changes to the Terms of this Notice
We can change the terms of this notice, and the changes will apply to all the information we have about you. The new notice will be available upon request, in our office, and on our web site.
Veggie Tails and Honesty
When my daughter was younger, she’d love to watch Veggie Tales. I had a copy of one of her favorite VT videos. The title: Larry-Boy and the Fib from Outer space. The premise of the storyline focused on dishonesty vs. honesty. Each time Jr. Asparagus told a lie, the character Fib grew larger and larger. At the end, Fib became quite big and caused trouble for Jr. Asparagus. It was only when Jr. Asparagus realized he needed to tell the truth. Each time he spoke the truth, Fib decreased in size. A simple message for children. Yet, a fundamental principle truth for people in recovery.
In Sobriety Demystified: Getting Clean and Sober with NLP and CBT, author Byron A. Lewis, M.A. writes:
“…This clearly demonstrates a primary curative aspect of the Twelve steps program: the focus is not on the problem, but rather on the solution. …intrinsic to this step is a primary principle of Twelve Step programs known as rigorous honesty.”
What Lewis is referring to is the hard-line truth: all individuals suffering from substance use disorder come to a place of admitting to the fullest extent the nature of their problems. In line with the First Step, Lewis remarks how it is the start of the process.
Admission of Powerlessness
A person becomes powerless because substance use becomes a pervasive, chronic, and progressive disease of brain reward and motivation. Lewis comments on how ongoing sufferers of substance use tend to foster a tendency toward ignoring the consequences of compulsory behavior. Instead, the individual believes they are capable of handling problems associated with their continued use.
While they may trust in their own confidence in managing problems, despite continued use, there is repeated failure in moderating, limiting, or controlling their actual use. Instead, problems become exacerbated. Continued use despite negative consequences.
As a moderately seasoned counselor, I provide the following information to my patients:
- Inability to manage when substances are consumed
- Inability to manage the amount of substance use being consumed
- Inability to manage behaviors associated with being impaired/under the influence
- Inability to manage any withdrawal symptoms being experienced because of increased substance use
In Alcoholics Anonymous, one may even hear someone say, “I just can’t stop at just one drink”. They are admitting the reality of their own inability to control how much, how often, and how they behave once they start drinking.
It is this moment of clarity and honesty with themselves, a person may be able to start laying the foundation for a recovery-based program.
The Power of Honesty and an Unmanageable life
Not only has an individual become powerless over their substance use, but their lives have also become unmanageable. This recognition is a second layer of the foundation. Another rigorous honest approach is the acknowledgement of the pervasive impact it has had on the individual sufferer.
“For the addict in the midst of addiction, life is often a downward spiral that ends in incarceration, institutionalization, violence, loss, and death. Some may continue to function in seemingly normal ways – working, parenting, and participating in society – but an internal death occurs, a numbness arises, and they start to disconnect from themselves and from others. A wall of denial and suppression, too high and too thick to scale or break through, keeps others out and keeps the addicts in, trapped by [their] own defenses, prisoner to [their] own addiction (Refuge Recovery – Addiction Creates Suffering, pp 3-4).”Noah Levine
Levine continues with these points on how suffering manifests in an individual:
- Stress created by craving for more
- Never having enough to feel satisfied
- Stealing to support continued substance use
- Lying to hide ongoing substance use
- Ashamed and Guilty of one’s behaviors
- Feeling (belief) of unworthiness
- Living in constant fear the consequences of one’s actions
- Intense emotions of anger and resentment
- Hurting other people and self
- Intense hatred toward self and others
- Jealousy and envious of others
- Feeling victimized and/or inferior toward others
- Selfish due to being needy and greedy
- Lack of confidence toward genuine sense of happiness and wellness
- Anguish and misery of being enslaved by continues substance use
The nature of unnecessary suffering (as Levine remarks in his book) is a battle between our desires for happiness versus our need for survival. In ongoing substance use, it is merely about survival from one moment to the next. A person’s life is focused on seeking out, obtaining, using, and recovering from the effects of alcohol and/or drugs.
Levine makes this statement on how one’s recovery is fundamentally founded on the principle of honesty:
This is a process that cannot be skipped or half-assed. The foundation of our recovery is a complete admission and acceptance of the suffering that we have caused and experienced due to addiction.Noah Levine
Levine continues by explaining that this rigorous honesty needs to happen in order to do away with any shred of denial, minimization, justification, or rationalization. It is a principle truth that requires a radical honest approach toward healing. This radical honest approach encompasses two truths:
- Come a complete and total understanding of the reality of our own suffering and negative impact substance use has had on our lives.
- Accept the reality and truth that it is because of our continued substance use that is the causation for our own suffering.
Through our admission and acknowledgement, and by embracing the reality, that because of ongoing substance use, one has become powerless and life had become unmanageable.
Moving Toward Freedom
Admission to our sense of powerlessness and inability to manage life is the first step in creating an abstinence-based recovery program. An individual begins to experience freedom by striving toward physical sobriety. Once physical sobriety is achieved, an individual starts the hard work of reaching emotional sobriety.
Physical sobriety is the ability to establish and sustain life without alcohol and/or drugs. It is the ability to manage and cope with the symptoms of withdrawals. Keeping up daily empowerment to use different ways of managing cravings instead of those that lead back toward substance use. It is the ability to regain self-control and making daily decisions not to drink or use.
Emotional sobriety is more rigorous in bringing an individual face-to-face with their own inner turmoil. Learning how to manage intense emotions. Becoming empowered to move toward healthier relationships, financial stability, regain a peace of mind, finding meaning and purpose, rediscover core values and beliefs, and practicing a healthy lifestyle. It is a process of transformation and restoration of our true sense of identity.
Through emotional sobriety, a person regains the ability to manage their own emotions. This does not mean we fake it till we make it, or, force ourselves to think positively all the time. It means we are honest with ourselves when it comes to the nature of our own emotions: Positive or Negative. If we are not managing our emotions, our emotions are managing us and we end up not doing well. We fall short because we return back to our old behaviors.
The Nature and Power of Honesty
Like Jr. Asparagus, a person suffering from substance use creates a life that is dishonest. It becomes a rather large beast in their life. The only way we are able to bring ourselves back to the right way of living is by a radical and rigorous honest approach. The more we are honest with ourselves, the smaller and insignificant our own suffering becomes.
While it does not free ourselves from the consequences of our substance use, it does empower us to face those consequences in order to regain mastery over our own lives.
If you are struggling with substance use, Therapeutic Health Services offers a variety of treatment options for you. We offer regular intensive outpatient, outpatient, relapse prevention, MAT-Methadone, and MAT-Suboxone. Please see below to connect to care.
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