“Anna,” aged 49, began using alcohol over the years to cope with her life. Her husband was stationed away in the military and while he was away, she began using drugs as well as alcohol. Her increasing substance misuse lead to an affair and when Anna’s husband found out, he divorced her and took custody of their teenaged kids.
Anna began doing things she never dreamed she’d do just to get the drugs she had become so dependent on. Drinking before going to work, she was unable to hold down a job and so she was forced to move in with a family member who was emotionally and sometimes even physically abusive.
When she first came to GNMH, Anna felt trapped in a life that was not working for her. She had lost two jobs in a six-month period due to drinking. She was estranged from her family, and her living situation made her feel imprisoned. When she was finally connected with the Integrated Dual Disorders Treatment (IDDT) program, things began to change quickly for her.
The IDDT program is an integrated treatment model that helps individuals who are struggling with both a mental health and a substance use disorder at the same time. The team approach utilized by IDDT and the concept of “meeting the client where she is” are what really worked for her. With other models of treatment, it is believed that the addiction must be addressed first and then the mental health disorder can be worked on. It turns out that this is not necessarily the best approach and doesn’t often work. Instead of insisting that Anna get sober first, the team listened to what SHE wanted.
Anna related in particular to one of the supported employment specialists on the team, and that relationship kept her engaged while she was building trust in the program and the various providers. Once Anna’s therapy begun in earnest, she was able to make tremendous progress within a remarkably short amount of time.
Anna has been able to remain sober and her goal is to find a job that will be a good fit for her. For the first time in a long time, Anna is excited about the future and feels that she is finally on the path to a fulfilled and healthy life. When asked about how she managed to turn her life around, Anna says: “This program has literally saved my life and now I have the hope and support I need to move forward.”