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Emily Fox

KET Kentucky Heath feature

By Stepworks Connect

Joyce Johnson is the Outpatient Clinical Services Director at Intensive Health by Stepworks. She was featured on KET’s Kentucky Health television program to discuss Kentucky’s battle against substance use disorder. Here’s what she had to say:

“From education to location, addiction knows no bounds. Ninety-four percent of those who struggle with substances aren’t getting the help they need. This is a serious issue in our state.” 

Joyce shared the Stepworks approach, including how we… 

  • walk with patients
  • honor each patient’s life narrative
  • view addiction as a brain disease
  • develop real-life recovery solutions 
  • extend grace and forgiveness

Stepworks is building a high-quality network of treatment resources to help Kentucky wage this fight.

Stepworks Team Member of the Year

By Stepworks Connect

Recovery is more than just a job. It’s a calling. Every year, we recognize one team member who made the Stepworks mission their personal mission… someone who personified Stepworks in 2022.

What does it look like to help people hurt by addiction reclaim their dignity and build a better life? The answer is Ashleigh Baker, the 2022 Stepworks Team Member of the Year.

Here’s what Ashleigh’s teammates at Stepworks London had to say: 

Ashleigh is dedicated to the patients we serve and always does her best to put our patients in the best possible position to succeed. Ashleigh has had a tremendous amount of growth over the past year. She has become one of our most effective team members and a wonderful ambassador of Stepworks culture to her coworkers and patients.  

Because of the significant growth she experienced this year, Ashleigh has taken on more of a leadership role inside and outside of her home facility. Ashleigh became part of the clinical coverage team. She began co-facilitating clinical groups and completing individual sessions with patients when needed. 

Ashleigh is eager to learn and do everything she can to help our patients be successful. This year, Ashleigh filled in at multiple facilities when they were short-staffed and provided coverage for other team members there, including therapists. In short notice and emergency situations, Ashleigh always says yes to helping patients at her home facility and on the road. 

Congratulations, Ashleigh! Thank you for your service, the example you set, and the inspiration you provide.

I Am Tenacious – A Stepworks Alumni Story 

By Stepworks Connect

Spend a few moments at any of our facilities and you will hear the stories of our alumni. Our staff celebrates every milestone, every recovery success, every high point, and every low with our former patients. The family community and support system that patients experience during their time in residential treatment never stops. They are always welcome to come back to visit.

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Making the Call for Help

By Stepworks Connect

Our Stepworks Recovery Centers team understands the energy it takes to make that call for help. Whether this is your first time seeking treatment for your addiction or you have found yourself in the middle of a relapse, our team cares about you, the person on the other end of the line.

We asked Access Center Director Sherry Coomer a few questions about the culture she is working to create.

Some people would just say this is a call center. Why do we call it an access center?

We are more than a call center. My team isn’t just here to try to get you into the doors of our treatment facility. We are here to guide you through the process of finding help. Regardless of whether that help comes from one of our treatment programs or another organization that we refer to, we want to give you access to all of the tools that will help you succeed.

People can often be apprehensive or nervous about taking such a big step and seeking help. How does your team ease their fears?

First, our team understands the disease of addiction. We know the barriers that have likely contributed to them not seeking treatment. So, we work hard to be kind, compassionate, and understanding as we navigate them through the intake process.

Why is your team so passionate about their efforts?

We never want to forget that these are real people, with families and loved ones that desperately want to see them get better.

We are excited to expand our Access Center so that we have even more voices of comfort available when you take that brave first step. If you are suffering from addiction, we are here. Call us, we can help: 1-800-545-9031.

Primary Care in a Recovery Friendly Environment

By Stepworks Connect

At Stepworks, we realize that treatment within the walls of our residential recovery centers is just one of many paths to overcoming addiction. For some, the path of sobriety looks different — and for many, the management of their disease even after residential treatment requires a community of providers. That’s why we are thrilled to announce the expansion of our services through Intensive Health by Stepworks.

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3 Steps to Nurture Your Mental Health

By Stepworks Connect

Twenty percent of Americans with an anxiety or mood disorder such as depression also have an alcohol or other substance use disorder.

Many of the patients at Stepworks fall into this category. Their substance use disorder is directly linked to their mental health. During a patient’s stay at Stepworks, we work diligently to nurture their physical, behavioral, and mental health. But the work doesn’t end when they leave our facility. That’s why we encourage our patients to remain committed to their mental health as they make progress on their recovery journey.

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COVID Update I Facilities Accepting New Patients

By Stepworks Connect

Houston, we STILL have a problem.

Our patients have a potentially fatal illness: addiction. At any given time, there are over 22 million people in the United States who have a substance use problem. We must remain open to help those suffering from this deadly disease. We want to take this opportunity to remind everyone of the steps we are taking during this time of national illness. 

Stepworks COVID-19 FAQ: 

Are we accepting new patients?

Yes. While we are taking extra precautions and implementing safeguards during this time, Stepworks remains committed to being a place of hope for those with substance use disorders. All of our facilities remain open and are accepting new patients.

What precautions are we taking?

We are screening all incoming admissions for the following: recent travel to high-risk areas, known exposure to the virus and the presence of cold-like symptoms, especially in the elderly. We will decline any admission who has, in our opinion, a higher than normal risk of having the disease.

Within our facilities, we continue to provide information about COVID-19 to all staff and patients. Throughout the day our Stepworks’ staff sanitize surfaces and make hand sanitizer available to our patients under staff supervision. Masks are provided to any patient or employee who has signs and symptoms of respiratory illness. And finally, if a patient develops a respiratory illness, at their request, they may be given the opportunity to seek evaluation at the local emergency room at their own expense.

Are we continuing with visitation?

In order to keep safety a top priority, we have suspended all visitation for our patients at this time. In place of visitation, patients will be allowed to sign up for extended phone time with their family members. Additionally, Skype or Facetime sessions will be scheduled to allow for our patients and their families to connect. 

If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction, please call our Access Center at (800) 545-9031.

Group Therapy: Stepping Away From Isolation

By Stepworks Connect

One of the greatest challenges facing patients suffering from addiction is the tendency to self-isolate. Many addicts become accustomed to being alone and distancing themselves from those that love and care about them. The habit of isolation and the fear of trusting and depending on others is a huge obstacle patients must overcome during their time in treatment. 

At Stepworks our therapists use group therapy as a way to reverse those deeply rooted habits of isolation. We asked Stepworks of London’s therapist Chris Mills about both the challenges and successes of group therapy. 

Our clients are coming from a place in their life where they have been isolated by the disease of addiction for so long. We have to work to help them see the benefit of being a part of our group. When we do, they realize they are loved and cared about.”

– Chris Mills, Stepworks Therapist

In group therapy at Stepworks, patients learn that building a community of support and accountability is vital to their success in recovery. So, how does Stepworks build this type of environment for our patients? We have a few tools in our recovery toolbox that we use. These tools allow group therapy to be an experience that will aid clients in achieving their recovery goals.

Group Therapy Tools and Tips: 


Provide Accountability: 

Even from the start of each group session there is a level of accountability for patients. They are expected to arrive on time, be prepared, and contribute to the activity or discussion for the day. This allows patients to form introductory time-management skills and understand that other people are relying on them to commit time and energy to the group. 

Create A Safe Place: 

It is clearly understood in our group therapy time that what is said in the group room stays in the group room. Our patients who may struggle with trust and vulnerability learn to depend on this time as a safe place to express their feelings and emotions. This safe place helps patients to develop a sense of camaraderie and belonging. 

Address Challenges: 

A very important element of group therapy sessions is the valuable statement, “Me too.” When patients hear that their peers are struggling with similar obstacles such as cravings, anger, resentment, or feelings of defeat, it helps them to see they are not alone in this journey. Feeling understood by their peers helps them to process their feelings and motivates them to overcome the challenges they are experiencing. 

Celebrate Success:

Seeing others succeed is one of the greatest motivators and positive impacts of group therapy. Watching the recovery journey of their fellow group members helps patients to believe, “If they can succeed, so can I.” The successful actions of a patient that are celebrated and often repeated and the long-lasting effects of positive feedback helps patients begin to understand the impact of the positive choices they make.

At Stepworks we work hard to welcome clients and show them that they don’t have to be alone anymore. Are you looking for a recovery community that can help you or your loved one? Call our Access Center to learn more about our program and the admission process at 1-800-545-9031. 

STUCK: Tips for Coping With COVID-19 Isolation

By Stepworks Connect

Are you feeling a little overwhelmed with your new normal these days? Are the cancelled events, long days at home, and the stress and panic of COVID-19 starting to weigh on your mind? 

We realize that the current situation of our world is likely impacting your mental health. We asked Stepworks CEO and founder Dr. Tom Ingram to share why taking care of your body and your brain is so vital during a time like this.

“It is important to practice good self-care as this crisis continues. No, I am not talking about sanitizers and quarantines. Humans are naturally social beings. Too much alone time and too much isolation takes a toll on our mental health. For those battling loneliness and depression already, the next few weeks are likely to worsen the problem.”

Tom Ingram, M.D.

We don’t want you to feel alone in the quest to protect your health and well-being. We asked Dr. Ingram to share 10 tips with us on how we can counteract isolation and strive to make a positive impact on our mental health during this stressful time.

1. Reach out to each other over the phone.

Not texting, Facebook, or email. Having a conversation with real live human beings can help you to feel connected to others in a way that messaging can’t. 

2. Exercise, exercise, exercise! 

Our bodies have wonderful “pick-me-up” chemicals called endorphins. Exercise has been proven to be an awesome tool in treating depression and anxiety.

3. Go outside. 

Social distancing does not prohibit going outside. The advantage of being in Kentucky is that we have lots of wide open spaces. Now is the time to take advantage of that. 

4. Go to the light!

It is important to expose yourself to as much light as possible. If it is sunny, go outside or sit in front of a window. Turn on all the lights in your house. Light is important in regulating our moods. Low sunlight is a cause of a type of depression (seasonal affective disorder).

5. Take long drives in the country. 

Gas is cheap. Get out of the house and get a change of scenery. 

6. Make use of Facebook’s built-in video conference capability or another similar technology. 

“We used it to talk to our grandkids while we were at sea near New Zealand. Try it out with your friends and family,” said Dr. Ingram.

7. Turn off the TV and listen to music.

Get away from the news and constant stream of information. Choose music that uplifts you (bonus points if you move your body while you listen to the music).

8. Step away from your computer and do something active.

Many of you may be working from home during this time. Be sure to set timers for yourself so you remember to move throughout the day.

9. Stick to a routine.

Do not treat this time as a chance to slack off on your routines and normal structure. Do not sleep, eat, drink or nap too much. A routine helps with consistency and gives a sense of normalcy in chaotic times. 

Last, but certainly not least,  

10. If you are feeling depressed, anxious, or lonely, do something about it. 

Own it. Ask for help. Reach out. If you are in recovery, reach out to your sponsor, or connect with us on our Recovering(me) app. We are here to help you. 

President Abraham Lincoln once said, “Happiness is a choice.” Now is the time to think positively. Research has shown that if you act happy your body will become happy. Practice smiling. Practice laughing. Practice being happy…And we want to help you do that.

For the next few weeks, Stepworks will be sharing Dr. Ingram’s tips and insights from our Stepworks therapy team on our social media platforms. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for reminders on how to maintain good mental health during this difficult time. 

treatment team

How “Treatment Team” Helps Patients Succeed

By Stepworks Connect

One key element to the culture at Stepworks is the fostering of a sense of belonging like being on a team. Some even call it a tribe of sorts—a group of people who work their hardest to see patients triumph over the disease of addiction. That’s why each week key staff gather around the table with patients individually and take time to focus on their personal goals and their unique path to recovery. We call this “treatment team.” But it may feel more like an incredible support team cheering on each of Stepworks’ patients.

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