About six months ago, I was contacted by a young woman to do an interview. It was really quite random. She had visited our website (and probably many others) and felt inspired to create an “alcoholism portal”. She called and asked for an informal interview. My husband and I were driving across country, in an RV, so it was perfect timing….. We were happy to speak with someone different than ourselves.
Well, her website went up … then a professional interview went up … then another and then there was mine. She did a great job on her site. I thought I would share a little about M. and her interview with me.
About Life Lived not Wasted
I am 27 years old, I have a college education, a good job, and I am an alcoholic. I have been for nearly a decade now, and I am tired of not facing it, and not talking about it – like it won’t be real if it is ignored.
This site is here to provide basic resources to find help, insightful interview answers from experts, and my personal stories about my struggles and successes – to humanize the issues caused by alcohol so that maybe we will start discussing solutions. If we continue to be quiet about alcoholism, we will continue to lose lives to it. It’s time to start a conversation that focuses on healing instead of blaming, and I want it to start now.
LLNW: Please share a little about yourself and your organization. What do you do? How did you get started?
Victoria: I am the clinical director of 800RecoveryHub and our sister company No Cost Rehab. We started our company because treatment programs are specialized. The problem is that the clinics cannot look at a case as objectively as we can. For example, if a person comes to a clinic with a co-addiction like alcoholism and bipolar disorder, but that rehab facility specializes in a different addiction, then (even if that clinic wants to provide help) that may not be the ideal place for the patient’s care. Also, there have been a lot of changes in the health care laws since the Affordable Care Act was passed and it is unreasonable to expect people to understand what their insurance will cover. We can help with that.
Have you had any experience with addiction yourself?
Yes, I drank abnormally the first time I tried alcohol. By the time I was 25, I was drinking all day, every day. It got very bad at the end and I hit bottom at 19 years ago at age 26.
What information should someone have available before calling to find help?
Any insurance information they have, their full name, address, and a list of substances they use. They can call us at our 800 number use our chat service, or fill out a quick form and we will call them after receiving it. We are also very active and able to communicate through social media.
What questions should a person ask themselves before calling to seek help?
We talk to people in various stages of addiction. Sometimes they are court ordered to enroll in treatment and in other cases they are desperate to save their life. The thing I find most interesting is that a person doesn’t have to want help to get better. We get patients that simply don’t want to get sober, but are going to rehab to save their job or marriage. My assumption has always been that they will relapse after the program ends. However, this is not always true. Once people start feeling better, they like the way they feel, and when we like the way we feel, we want more of that feeling. I guess that is why many of us start using drugs and alcohol in the first place.
Will your representatives be able to help guide a person toward the right treatment option?
Yes, that is what we specialize in. We are also very good at helping people obtain the right insurance policy, if they don’t already have one.
What if the person does NOT have insurance? Is any help available?
If you live in the United States, you must have insurance by law. Having said that, we get a lot of requests for help from uninsured people, and we are able to provide them with options. No one is going away empty-handed.
What method of treatment is most commonly sought by alcoholics?
This has changed a lot over the years. The 12-steps of Alcoholics Anonymous used to be the model for most treatment centers. Now there are a lot of different options. The most common seems to be a combination approach — a mix of therapy, group counseling, medication (short and long term), and traditional 12-step support.
If a person gets a recommendation for a treatment program, do they HAVE to seek that treatment?
No, they can’t be forced to go. Once we had a person flee while on the way to the treatment center. His dad stopped for gas, and the guy just ran. Many times, they end up calling us back.
Will people be forced into any kind of treatment?
Sometimes treatment is court ordered or mandated by an employer. But, the person can still leave. Rehab centers are not set up like prisons.
What would you say to someone who is nervous about starting the process of finding help?
Jump in because you have nothing to lose. Right now, the Affordable Care Act mandates that insurance companies cover drug and alcohol treatment. That could easily end. Take the opportunity while it is there. There is a saying that, “We will gladly give you back your miserable life if you don’t like the treatment.”
Why SHOULD someone call to start looking for help?
People don’t think about calling a treatment center by accident. If someone is questioning their drug or alcohol use, they have a problem. Normal people don’t ponder this concept.