When Bill Wilson created Alcoholics Anonymous in 1935, it was the first time someone established a [literal step-by-step]method for quitting drinking. It had rules and structure, and encouraged its members to be accountable for their actions, after they first admitted powerlessness over alcohol. A spiritual program at its core, it suggests turning one’s will over to the care of a Higher Power, working with a sponsor who has already been through all 12 steps and relying on service to others and the support of other alcoholics as a means of staying sober. And since its inception, AA has grown to include chapters all over the world, and a significant number of people have gotten sober with the help of it. Free, usually local and open to anyone with a desire to stop drinking, it was at one time considered to be the only solution for alcoholism or addiction of any kind.
It Works If You Work It…But There Isn’t Just One Way to Work It
In the 21stcentury, however, there are what seems to be endless options when it comes to drug and alcohol treatment. An entire industry has been founded on luxury detox and inpatient facilities that offer hours and hours of therapy, in addition to high end amenities like yoga, massage and reflexology sessions—all with a hefty price tag. There are outpatient programs, specialized rehabs for troubled adolescents and treatments designed solely for those who have repeatedly relapsed. Individuals can also explore Moderation Management, SMART Recovery, and even the controversial use of hallucinogens as a treatment method.
The truth is, just as no person is exactly alike, neither is any addiction. In that regard, there is no right or wrong way to seek treatment. There are so many misconceptions surrounding what having an addiction means and what avenue one can take to rid themselves of it.
And Then There Was Workit
That’s where Workit Health comes in. A cutting edge treatment program, Workit Health was created by Robin McIntosh and Lisa McLaughlin, two friends and former addicts who, in 2014, had long term recovery under their belts and were active in the 12-step community. At some point they both started to notice that they were losing people they had known through AA to what is now referred to as the opioid epidemic. McLaughlin and McIntosh, who both had a tech background, also noticed that during this time of technology being so essential to everyone’s lives—you can order everything from a car to a pizza online—it seemed odd that addiction treatment was not up to speed. From there, Workit Health was born.
An online addiction treatment program, Workit Health offers three different individualized treatment plans with Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), individual and group counseling options and recovery coaching. Clients can partake in just one of these plans or a combination of them, and they can be faciltiated from the comfort of one’s own home. Or car. Or wherever you need support. Pretty cool, right?
Workit Health was launched in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where there is a brick and mortar clinic that clients have to initially visit (only one time) to receive their assessment and treatment plan. After that, everything is done online. Due to the success of the program and accessibility this treatment model created, Workit Health recently opened a new location in the Bay Area of Northern California. Lafayette, California is a quaint town about 20 miles outside of San Francisco, and the facility and programming here offer the same benefits as the Ann Arbor location.
There are a lot of myths around addiction treatment and Workit Health is aiming to educate (and bust some of those myths for good):
Myth #1: Expensive inpatient treatment is the only way to get clean and sober.
For one, the myth that the only way a person can quit opioids is a 30 day or more inpatient program (that’s often not fully covered by insurance and can end up running upwards of $30,000—and doesn’t come with a guarantee of continued success in sobriety) is simply not true. Workit Health’s programs connect clients to an addiction specialist that offers medications that can actually help addicts reduce their cravings and safely get clean.
Additionally, sometimes commiting to 30 days of residential treatment simply isn’t an option for people with a lot of professional or personal obligations. Suggesting that this is the only way to get well might even deter someone from seeking help, not knowing there are other, more flexible resources.
Myth #2: Addicts suffer from a lack of willpower or moral character.
The idea that people are addicts because of lack of willpower or moral character is absolutely false and completely outdated. Addiction has been proven to be a brain disease as the use of drugs and alcohol alter a person’s brain chemistry, which is why it is so difficult for addicts to just go cold turkey (not to mention very dangerous is some situations). Workit Health offers Work It Counselor and Workit Coach, two online services through their program that provide 24/7 access to a personal recovery coach and evidence-based addiction courses presented in a game style for just five minutes every day.
Myth #3: All addicts are the same.
Addiction can affect anyone at any time. There are many different catalysts for why one may start using drugs and alcohol as a way of coping or just for fun. Maybe there was a past trauma or abuse that was never addressed, or perhaps there is an underlying mental illness that is being self medicated. There isn’t a certain “type” of person that is going to become an addict, just as there is no “correct or perfect” way to receive treatment.
Myth #4: Using a drug like Suboxone is replacing one addiction with another.
Peer support programs such as AA were founded in a time that perhaps couldn’t foresee the physiological side effects of an addiction like opiate addiction. Extended periods of abusing drugs such as heroin or prescription painkillers can severly damage the nerve receptors in one’s brain. Depending on the person, his or her length of usage and the type and dosage of drug, there is chance they might need some form of MAT indefinitely. There are also those who rely on drugs like Suboxone (a partial opioid agonist that does not create the same level of euphoria as a full agonist such as heroin) to ease the painful symptoms of withdrawal, in combination with behavioral health treatment. MAT can be a miracle for some opiate addicts, when administered by a physician in the context of structured treatment and plenty of therapeutic support. The Workit Clinic is a track primarily for clients struggling with an opiate addiction that not only offers medical care with a staff physician using telehealth on an on-going basis, but also group therapy options that can be attended either online or in person.
Workit Health is a treatment program that was created by addicts, for addicts. It is backed by medical professionals to help men and women find recovery and stay sober within the safety of their own homes and in their own time, without breaking the bank. And now with their newest location in the Bay Area, more and more people will have the opportunity to do just that.
And that’s a fact.
Photo courtesy of Workit Health; used with permission