Stepworks Connect Podcast: Van Ingram

By | Stepworks Connect

 Episode 2: “Van Ingram”

This is our second episode of the Stepworks Connect Podcast! Van Ingram, Executive Director of the the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, joins us to discuss his journey in public service and his career dedication to keeping Kentuckians safe and healthy. We delve into what the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy does, focusing on some initiatives and programs that are available to those in need of addiction treatment.


This podcast series will explore and debate topics in addiction, treatment, and recovery. The podcast will include diverse guests, from recovery experts and behavioral health professionals to ordinary people who have had personal encounters with addiction and recovery. The purpose of this addiction podcast is to engage you in useful conversations about risks of substance use and ways forward in recovery. Listen in and share the podcast with others! If you have any comments or suggestions, please e-mail us at


We’ll announce when new episodes are posted through our social media pages and our Stepworks Connect newsletter. If you’d like to stay up to date, please fill out the form below!

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4 Ways Addiction Causes Financial Trouble

By | Stepworks Connect

Anyone struggling with a substance use problem learns that addiction causes financial trouble. Often these money problems come up in ways they might not have expected when they first began using addictive drugs. The consequences of an undiagnosed or untreated addiction eventually reach most or all aspects of one’s life. That translates to damaged relationships, personal health problems, unreached goals, a lack of direction, and other negative outcomes.

Because money problems and poverty create their own set of problems that can be difficult to find a way out of, it’s especially important to consider some different ways that addiction causes financial trouble. Here are five financial consequences of addiction that often drive people struggling with substance use further into desperate situations.

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5 Tips for Getting Into a Recovery Mindset

By | Stepworks Connect

Here at the Stepworks Connect blog, we talk a lot about why it’s a good idea to seek treatment if you’re struggling with a dependency on drugs or alcohol. Contacting a treatment program for admission can be a life-changing decision and a milestone in your life. So what’s next? Addiction treatment programs are made to guide personal change and growth. That means the results of going into addiction treatment depend greatly on how you approach it and how you navigate the program during your stay there. In other words, your mindset, attitude, and expectations can contribute to your treatment success! Can you think of ways to start getting into a recovery mindset to make the most out of treatment?

Similarly, if you have encouraged a loved one to seek treatment, you can continue to support them. One way to do that is by motivating them to have a positive and realistic view of their expectations and commitment to treatment.

Whether it’s you or your loved one who is preparing to enter an addiction treatment program, consider these aspects of getting into a good recovery mindset!

Get into an “all-in” recovery mindset

How can you prepare to get the most out of addiction treatment? Put the most into it! If you’re “all in” for recovery, that means you’re prepared to make treatment the central focus of your thought and action. It means you’re committed to making real changes, even if that means confronting thoughts or behaviors that seem difficult to change. The truth is, no matter how locked into addictive thinking and compulsive behavior you feel, we can change our thinking and behavior.

Tell your ego to take a backseat

Some people have trouble in residential rehab programs because they’re not used to following directions from others. Getting into arguments with staff or other people in the program is a common cause of leaving treatment prematurely. It’s important to remember that you’re not going into a treatment setting in order to impose your feelings and desires on other people. Instead, you’re there to take stock of the ways in which your thoughts and feelings are creating problems in your life by playing into a substance dependency.

Prepare to put your ego in check by understanding the importance of following the rules and directions that your treatment program has in place. They’re there to help you—not by turning you into someone who blindly follows orders, but by helping you put in place some structure in your habits and thoughts. Remember that you’re learning practices that you will need to use independently after you get out of treatment.

recovery mindset, residential treatment, substance use treatment, opioid treatment, heroin treatment

Prepare your recovery mindset for ups and downs

Life in a treatment program can be a bit of an emotional roller coaster. It’s normal to have good days and bad days, days you feel ready to take on the world and days you feel it’s too hard to change. Prepare yourself to take these internal swings in stride by acknowledging that they’re normal and completely understandable. Try to take a middle road by not placing too much stock in extreme optimism or extreme pessimism.

If you wake up feeling like you have your addiction kicked and you could leave the program today, recenter your thoughts by acknowledging you still have some things to learn. If you find yourself feeling hopeless or extremely negative, remind yourself that anyone who puts in the work can make real changes.

Another useful way of combating negative thoughts while you’re in treatment is to remind yourself of why you’re there. Do some thinking before your admission day about the most important reasons you’re going into treatment. Is it to be a strong source of support for loved ones who depend on you? Is it to start a journey to a particular life goal? You’ll be confronting some difficult emotions while in treatment. It’s important to have these goals to draw on in moments of negative or pessimistic feelings.

Focus on YOU…

It can be hard to leave loved ones behind for even a short stay in treatment program. When we’re feeling vulnerable, it’s normal to want our closest friends or family members there by our side. But too often this becomes a barrier to getting the most out of treatment. Being overly concerned with being apart from loved ones while you are in treatment means you are not really focused on making the personal commitment required for recovery.

The truth is, your family and friends will be waiting for you when you graduate from your treatment program. And you’ll be better prepared to have a healthy relationship with them.

For those who have encouraged a loved one to seek treatment, it can be helpful to reassure your loved one that they don’t need to worry about obligations to friends and family while they are in treatment. Let them know that they are supported in their recovery, and that their loved ones are willing to pull a little extra weight while they’re away. If you’re able to, try to help out in practical ways by volunteering to cover some responsibilities they feel need to be met (within reason, of course).

…But take advantage of the social aspects of treatment

Although you’ll be focusing on personal issues having to do with your own thoughts and behaviors, that doesn’t mean treatment is about isolating yourself from social interactions. Residential treatment programs have the benefit of placing yourself in a social setting that is all about recovering from addiction. Take this opportunity to make allies in recovery from substance dependency.

recovery mindset,substance use treatment,addiction recovery,heroin rehab,alcohol treatment

In practical terms, that means being open about sharing your experiences with the others in your groups. It also means listening to the experiences that they share. Everyone there will be on a unique path from addiction to recovery, but there will also be many points of shared experience and growth through social learning. Don’t be afraid to connect with others in the program, while at the same time respecting the interpersonal boundaries your treatment program sets. You’ll find that recovery is easier when it’s a shared journey with others who you acknowledge and respect.


These tips are by no means exhaustive, and it’s a good idea to do your own self-reflection before entering an addiction treatment program. Think about how you can shape a recovery mindset that will make your treatment experience a productive one. And remember that a new way of living is within reach!


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4 Types of Addiction Treatment: What’s the Difference?

By | Stepworks Connect

Getting help in the form of professional treatment is the next step for someone who thinks they have a substance use problem. But that next step can be confusing for those who are unfamiliar with the different types of addiction treatment that are available. What’s the difference between residential, outpatient, and other kinds of professional help for addiction? Which one might be right for you or your loved one?

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Stepworks Connect Podcast: Dr. Tom Ingram

By | Stepworks Connect

This is the debut episode of the Stepworks Connect Podcast!

For your audible enjoyment, we’re launching this series to explore and debate topics in addiction, treatment, and recovery. The podcast will include diverse guests, from recovery experts and behavioral health professionals to ordinary people who have had personal encounters with addiction and recovery. Our purpose is to engage you in useful conversations about the risks of substance use and ways forward in recovery. Listen in and share the podcast with others! If you have any comments or suggestions, please e-mail us at


“Dr. Tom Ingram”

Dr. Tom Ingram, founder and CEO of Stepworks Recovery Centers, joins us to discuss his journey into the medical profession and career dedication to bettering the field of addiction treatment. In this debut episode, we reveal how Stepworks came to be. We’ll also look at the substance use treatment industry as a whole, breaking down some controversial issues and investigating the science of addiction.


We’ll announce when new episodes are posted through our social media pages and our Stepworks Connect newsletter. If you’d like to stay up to date, please fill out the form below!

Stepworks Connect Newsletter


Tips for Motivating an Addicted Loved One to Seek Treatment

By | Stepworks Connect

It’s very common to be confused about how to help an addicted loved one. Addictions can go ignored by family members or friends who don’t want to push their addicted loved one away. Others have extreme reactions to finding out their loved ones are using drugs and just cut the addicted loved ones out of their lives altogether. Neither of these responses are likely to be ideal for helping a loved one onto the path to recovery. Most people would probably like to find a happy medium between saying nothing and completely alienating an addicted loved one. How can you help motivate a loved one to seek treatment for a substance use problem?

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Have an Addicted Loved One? Here Are 3 Reasons Why You Can Help

By | Stepworks Connect

Finding out that a loved one might be struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction sometimes creates a difficult situation. Family members or close friends of an addicted loved one can be concerned about their welfare but also unsure what to do about it. Doubts about intervening might cause family members or friends to put off any conversations about drug use, and as time goes on, their addicted loved one continues to use, falling deeper into addiction.

It’s an understandable reluctance. I know I should say something, but what if they don’t take it well? How can I help if they shut me out of their life? Is it really any of my business? It isn’t uncommon to have thoughts like that, but we should look at a few reasons why it’s important to push through the doubts and talk to your addicted loved one about their problem. These three reasons to talk to your addicted loved one show that the benefits of helping your loved one far outweigh the costs of letting an addiction continue without speaking up.

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Prioritizing Treatment Still the Best Response to Heroin Epidemic

By | Stepworks Connect

In 2017 it’s nearly impossible to be ignorant of the levels of drug addiction ravaging communities in the United States. Stories of heroin overdose epidemics or community harm reduction efforts have become a daily feature of news and social media. Just this week The Guardian reported on a study of the heroin epidemic that found that heroin use in the U.S. is about five times greater today than it was a decade ago. Some demographics studied saw an even greater jump in heroin use. What’s being done to stem the rise in addiction?

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News Roundup: Will healthcare bill roll back addiction treatment?

By | Addiction News, Stepworks Connect

U.S. House mulls deal to repeal addiction coverage guarantee

Republican congressional leaders proposed a change to their health care replacement bill that would remove the requirement for insurance companies to provide coverage for mental health and substance use treatment. The lawmakers are considering scrapping the “ten essential health benefits” in effort to garner more votes for the American Health Care Act, which would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

The change would affect individual market plans, but the AHCA in its current form had already done away with the essential health benefits protection for Medicaid plans. The law would also gradually roll back the Medicaid expansion through which many have been able to access addiction treatment services. One recent report by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky found that Kentuckians newly covered by the Medicaid expansion saw a 740 percent increase in substance use treatment services.

A vote on the health care bill is expected to take place today, with the outcome uncertain. Lawmakers have faced criticism for how the bill would roll back addiction coverage and access to addiction services during the ongoing epidemic of opioid abuse and overdose.

Spring breakers at risk of encountering $5 overdose pill

Officials in Pinellas County, Florida, have issued a warning about pills that look like Xanax but contain the highly potent fentanyl. Users could be completely unaware that the pills contain the potentially fatal substance, and officials have linked the pills to nine deaths in recent weeks. They say the pills are so potent that a single pill could induce a fatal overdose. The officials noted that the situation is especially dangerous given how cheaply the pills can be obtained. One pill is said to cost just five dollars. Those going on spring break in the region should be wary of taking any pills recreationally, as well as knowing the risks of mixing opioids with other substances.

medication disposal, harm reduction, addiction treatment

Kentucky doubles down on drug harm reduction services

While increasing access to addiction treatment is essential to countering the opioid epidemic, harm reduction services are also a vitally important aspect to fixing the country’s serious drug problems. New services in two Kentucky regions aim to enhance Kentucky’s harm reduction abilities. In Northern Kentucky, community leaders are looking at a convenient medication disposal service as a way of intervening before some addictions get started. Because many have become addicted first by using medications that were legally prescribed, easy disposal of excess medications could stop them getting into the wrong hands and leading to new addictions. The disposal pouches destroy the drugs placed inside them and can be thrown away by the consumer. Officials hope that distributing the pouches for free across Northern Kentucky will lead to a reduction in addiction sufferers.

In Madison County, Kentucky, the health department announced plans to introduce a mobile needle exchange program. The service will build on Kentucky’s growing resource of needle exchanges, with at least 15 other such programs operating in the state. These programs are effective at harm reduction, reducing the number of needles that could be infected with a diseases like the hepatitis virus or bacteria that lead to dangerous infections. In addition, the clean needles that will be distributed will be one-time use only, discouraging the dangerous practices of sharing or reusing needles. Needle exchange programs are often beneficial not only for harm reduction, but also for creating points of contact for drug users to receive encouragement to seek treatment.

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Header image by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Injection Drug Use: How Risky Is It?

By | Stepworks Connect

Out of all the ways that addictive drugs are used, using needles to inject drugs into the bloodstream can carry the greatest risks to one’s health. While it’s pretty widely known that injecting drugs is associated with hard drug use and high risk for overdose, many people aren’t aware of the range of harmful consequences that can come from just one use of a needle.

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