Helping Families with Addiction and Substance Use Disorders with Sarah Daniel with Recovery Centers of America

Philip Fish, CFP<sup>®</sup> and Estate Planning Specialist with Sandy Spring Trust

In this discussion Phil Fish, CFP® and Estate Planning Specialist and Sarah Daniel with Recovery Centers of America, tackle the difficult topic of addiction. They discuss a number of topics including different treatment options that are open to individuals along with the various ways family and loved ones can help and find support.

Guest Speaker: Sarah Daniel is a treatment advocate with Recovery Centers of America, an in-patient substance use treatment facility. She has been with the organization for three years and has been in recovery for over nine years. She dedicates her life to helping people that suffer from drug and alcohol addiction find meaningful long-term recovery.

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    Helping Families with Addiction and Substance Use Disorders


    - Hello everyone and welcome to Sandy Spring Bank's Real Life Matters Discussion series. My name is Phil Fish. I'm a certified financial planner and an estate planning specialist with Sandy Spring Trust. And I'll be your host as we interview local professionals in the areas of law, tax, finance and healthcare. Before I introduce our guest, Sarah Daniel, to you, there's a brief disclaimer that I need to read. So if you'll bear with me with one moment. Sandy Spring Trust does not endorse nor recommend the services of any person or entity not affiliated with Sandy Spring Bank. The opinions and statements expressed by Sarah Daniel and Recovery Centers of America, reflect their own views and do not necessarily represent the views of Sandy Spring Trust. This material is provided solely for educational purposes by Sandy Spring Trust, and is not intended to constitute tax, legal, accounting or healthcare advice, or recommendations for any investment strategy or transaction. You should always consult your own tax, legal, accounting, financial or healthcare advisors, regarding your specific situation and needs. Sandy Spring Trust and the Sandy Spring Bank logo are registered trademarks of Sandy Spring Bank, and all rights are reserved. Sarah, thank you so much for joining us today. Sarah works with Recovery Centers of America. And our topic today is a tricky one. It's helping families with addiction and substance use disorders. So for those of you watching today, we realize that this may be a very sensitive issue, whether it's you personally dealing with these challenges or a loved one that you're trying to assist. But Sarah, thank you so much for joining us today. Could we start with you just introducing yourself and then the company that you work for?

    - Yeah, absolutely. And thank you Phil for having me on today. This is a very important topic and it's hard for a lot of people and the more that we can have these discussions, the more that it opens people up to have the discussions with their families or to seek help. So I just really want to thank you for allowing this to be a topic, in all the different topics that you guys do. So I'm Sarah Daniel. I am a treatment advocate for Recovery Centers of America. I've been with Recovery Centers of America now for three years. We are an inpatient substance use treatment facility, helping people that suffer from drug and alcohol addiction. We're a 30 to 40 day inpatient detox and residential program. We have 10 facilities actually throughout the United States on the East Coast, mostly on the East Coast here. And we also provide outpatient services. So my role as a treatment advocate with Recovery Centers of America is really to help people get into treatment that need it, and to help guide families to assist their loved ones and open up those conversations, remove those barriers and give guidance and help on the individual that's suffering. And so just being an advocate for the patient, for whomever it is that I'm working with, whether it's a social worker from a hospital or a therapist. Whoever it is that's reached out that needs help placing that individual into treatment, then I work with them individually and then advocate for the patient.

    - Okay, wonderful. And you and I have been chatting, kind of getting ready for today's conversation, and it was an interesting story as far as how your facilities were kind of established because of the realization that an individual battling any type of addiction or substance use would, might go to a group for an hour or two a day and then they'd have to kind of fight those battles on their own, out in the general public, And that was so hard. So I think that the founder of your organization wanted to try and provide a place where somebody could get the support that they would need, to fight through that such difficult transition, to really battle these addictions. So can you talk a little bit about how your organization was established, and how you operate in that realm?

    - Yeah, absolutely. So Brian O'Neill, he's the founder of Recovery Centers of America, and really what happened is, he works in real estate. And so while he was putting up different buildings, a lot of the contractors, he identified in people that were working with him, had substance use issues. And the more that he saw this the more that he realized individuals need help. And so he actually started doing interventions with a buddy of his, and during that process, when they were trying to place people into treatment, they found that there wasn't affordable assessable treatment that was close to home. And so they would get somebody that, they got them to that point of willingness where they were ready to go to treatment and then they couldn't place them right then. They would have to fly to Florida or to California or fly somewhere. And then most facilities are Monday through Friday, nine to five. And then the insurance was a big factor. And so utilizing out of network benefits versus like having an in network facility. And so he saw all these barriers firsthand and trying to get these individuals into treatment. And instead of, I guess, demanding change in recovery facilities, he decided to create it. And so he founded RCA, Recovery Centers of America, and he founded it off of the barriers. We treat people that have private insurance and a big portion of that was to be able to utilize their in network benefits. Because, I mean, it can be anywhere up to $10,000 more for out of network. And we just identified, if you're rich you can afford to go anywhere. And there's kind of a misconception on people that have private insurance. Oh you've got insurance, like you're working, you can afford it, you can figure it out. Maybe they don't need as much motivation, like call your insurance card. You're good to go. And that's not the case. For any working American that has health insurance, you oftentimes have large deductibles and people don't have $5,000 in their bank account, in their out-of-pocket max, to pay for treatment. And so we saw that for the working class that was still a barrier. And so being founded on that, being able to be in network with most major insurances and providing financial assistance. So we have interest free payments because we also saw that that was a barrier, people needing to come up with that money all at one time, if they didn't have a deductible or a copay, needing to pay that off the bat. And so we're trying to remove all the barriers that we can so that people can get into treatment. So the assessability, huge. We're 24/7, so people can come into any of our facilities 24/7, 365 days a year. I am as well, I am 24/7. This is what we do. I've had people call at two o'clock in the morning at a 7-Eleven, at that moment of desperation and willingness, wanting to get into help. And we can bring them into treatment. So identifying the assessability and then getting to treatment. So transportation is huge as well. That's a huge barrier to people coming into treatment. And so we provide complimentary transportation as well within a three hour driving range from our facility. We can have our own drivers, that are NARCAN trained, pick individuals up and bring them into treatment. So that's like the basis. Affordability, assessability and quality treatment.

    - Yeah, I know. I was having a meal with my nephew, it was before COVID, and we were just chatting, it was my wife and I and his wife, he and his wife, and we were just talking and the issue of healthcare came up. We realized that we had the same healthcare kind of provider but our coverage was completely different. He worked for a big corporation, I work for Sandy Spring Bank. But he had a incredibly large deductible and it really took me back. I'm like, wait, you have to spend this amount of money before any coverage kicks in? He said yes. I'm like, and I realized, I've been at Sandy Spring Bank for 20 plus years and they do take really good care of their employees, but not every corporation is like that. So health insurance is, means a lot of different things to a lot of people, but a lot of healthcare plans issued by some corporations are kind of emergency crisis, but there's still a very large deductible. And so, the other thing is you mentioned, when you were talking about facilities being Monday through Friday, nine to five, and the thought of battling an addiction and then just being sent out into the world at five o'clock or for the entire weekend and say come back Monday and stay out of trouble. As you and I have spoken and as you know, I lost a brother about two years ago to alcoholism. And it is, it rips your soul out. There's no, he was my big brother. He was tall, handsome, smart, sophisticated, athletic, and we just lost him to alcoholism and depression and it just takes a part of your soul and rips it into pieces and drops it at your feet. And we tried everything and we just, as you know, the individual has to want to get help. You can't force it on somebody, there has to be some trigger. But if they do reach that point, that's just the initial start and there's such a battle ahead of them. And what I really liked when you and I were talking is the idea of it has to be 24/7, for them to really have a realistic shot at working through that really difficult process. So on behalf of the community, thank you for what you guys are doing. But as far as, why don't we break it down into two halves. We've got individuals who are battling whatever issue it might be. I think you said alcohol is obviously a very common one, but then drugs and it might be gambling or any other addiction. But I think alcohol is one of the primary ones that you see as?

    - So substance use. So we don't treat any other addiction outside of substance use. So we don't treat sex addiction or gambling addictions.

    - Okay.

    - So any substances. Alcohol, benzodiazepines, heroin, opiates, pain pills. Any type of substance that someone is addicted to, then we-

    - I know that pain pills has been a really big challenge for the community, as far as the addictions to. They start out with a positive, trying to work through a knee injury or a back injury. Very addictive substances. And I know it's really gotten a lot of people off track.

    - Absolutely. Fentanyl's been a huge one. I think that started the opiate crisis. But it really depends on where you're at. County by county, state by state, the primary substance, the primary drug will vary. You may have alcohol that's more primary in one county. You may have methamphetamines that's more primary in another county, or different types of pain medications. So it's interesting how that works too 'cause it really is dependent on where you're at, the demographic. So it varies in our facility on what substance we're seeing the most of.

    - And I guess you might see substances go through like periods of higher use and then a quiet time. You probably see kind of, not trends but increases and decreases and trouble in different types of areas. Is that what you see?

    - Yeah, and we talk about, trends are a big topic that we talk about all the time, and especially in the field, when I'm working with hospitals and when I'm working with other providers. What are you guys seeing? Because it does change. And it gives you an idea, especially through the pandemic we did see an increase in alcohol. And I know talking to one of the insurance companies that we work with, they saw an increase in anxiety medication and different medications. And so, yeah, it changes all the time.

    - So we've got two kind of groups that we're trying to help here. We've got the individuals who themselves are battling whatever substance use issue they might be facing. And then you have the family who are trying so hard. At Sandy Spring Trust, I've been there over 20 years, many times we will establish, clients will establish trusts to protect assets that they might leave for somebody who has either a current, or has battled substance use issues. And they are very concerned about leaving an inheritance, a lump sum of money to that individual, which could be incredibly dangerous for somebody with an addiction, to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in one lump sum. Could be deadly to them.

    - Absolutely.

    - So many times a trust is established and sometimes Sandy Spring Bank is hired, either to help the family member who's the trustee be a co-trustee or be a sole trustee, and work with a family member. So I guess you're dealing with two groups of clientele, in some regards. I guess you deal with the clients directly, but do you also provide support to the family members and loved ones who are around that individual.

    - Absolutely. So, and I guess I probably should address this first because like the number one barrier to treatment is willingness. People being willing to go into treatment. With that, we actually provide complimentary intervention services for the families. People can be motivated and sometimes it does just take that extra nudge, sometimes bringing a professional in to help remove those barriers and allow that individual to see and make that decision for themself that, that they need treatment. Family is huge. I mean the family dynamic, the disease of addiction, it affects everyone and it affects everyone in the family, as you know. It's very, very important, not only to be able to provide the family with intervention services as far as getting their loved ones into treatment, but support for them as well. We have, Seeds to Recovery is a monthly virtual support group that we have specifically for families that have loved ones that are suffering from addiction. And Trish Caldwell runs that program for us and they're there with other family members and they're learning what the disease of addiction looks like within the family and how it affects that dynamic and different barriers and co-dependencies, and how to set boundaries and remove that guilt that oftentimes is found in a lot of families. So that's one thing that I've noticed, and I think I've heard most when I'm talking to family members about interventions. It's a big scary word, so we go, so we're trying to address it now as a family support specialist, because intervention really is a big word. And what I've found when talking to families is oftentimes they're really worried that what happens if the intervention doesn't work. I'm home with my loved one and if we come and, if we come together and do this intervention and it doesn't work, what does my life look like after that? What does our relationship look like after that? And that's a very valid fear and question and barrier. And so typically, what I tell families, and one thing I love so much about our intervention services is, if you just try not to vision it as we're all just gonna get together and come in and like do this big massive intervention, which ultimately we're hoping to do, right, because we want your loved one to get into treatment. But let's not go into it looking at it like that. Just get on the phone and allow our interventionists to help put together a plan for you. And basically what that looks like is the steps that it takes to do an intervention and then putting a plan in place that if there's not an intervention that's done, or if there's an intervention that's done and that individual doesn't go into treatment, at least that family, they have a blueprint on what they're gonna do next. Like they have support and guidance and more understanding on how to have these conversations with my loved one. And so I think that's the biggest thing when I'm talking to families. is just this is the help that you're gonna get, like regardless of the outcome. You are going to know how to communicate with your loved one, have those conversations and put a plan in place for yourself and for your family, regardless of the outcome. Hopefully we'll be successful and move forward. And our interventionists are wonderful. They all come from a place of love. So they'll sit down with the family and they'll want them to go over what was life like before addiction in the family? What did that look like? What did that feel like? And go over all of the good times and all of the value and everything that, just all of the love and everything that started with the family, and then start going into where those disconnects are and how the addiction is affecting everyone in the family. And so they'll have them write letters and then they'll come together and sit down with the individual. And one of the cool things is that if that individual is ready to go to treatment once we do the intervention, then our interventionists will put them in their car and just take them straight into treatment.

    - Wow. Okay.

    - Yeah.

    - And again-

    - It's a really awesome service. And the fact that it's complimentary is, I mean I think interventions can run at anywhere from four to probably eight or $10,000 before, depending on who you go through. But it's so needed and families need help, willingness is the number one barrier to treatment, and people, sometimes they just need that extra love, that extra nudge. They just need everyone to come together and say like we love you, let's figure this out. It's gonna be okay, one day at a time, one step at a time. And then provide the resource.

    - Well also just having experience, one thing that, as we work through the discussion series and I have interviews with attorneys and tax specialists and care managers, I'm gonna be, as we build a library we'll be talking to professionals who do this on a recurring basis. And there's a level of experience and comfort and knowledge where you learn what works, you learn what doesn't work, and the thought of trying to put together an intervention on your own, and it's not something where you can Google it or go to YouTube. Because what we're discovering, through these conversations, is every family's unique. Every individual. If we're doing a financial plan or an estate plan or a tax plan, or dealing with an individual battling Alzheimer's or addiction, there are similarities, but there are also nuances with each family member and each family structure, where a professional could come in and say oh, we have a sister who is a strong personality or a younger brother, where there's a connection there. Maybe we can, they can use their years of experience to say, well if we move, queen to, move the queen or the rook to this position, we might have a better chance of success.

    - Absolutely.

    - And at the end of the day, if, and like you said, if the person sees that opening and says yes, then for you to be able to say let's go and your family can come with you and we can hold your hand and we'll be with you every step of the way. And that's why, if you have 10 people and you only help three, but you've helped those three, you might've saved three lives.

    - Oh absolutely.

    - And the calm that occurs, and I'm sure it must be very hard for you and your staff because I know there are individuals like, you didn't treat my brother, he was over in England, but I'm sure there are individuals where you cannot get them to make that step. And, but I guess that gives you passion to say, 'cause you do have those success stories that you can really pull from and state yes, but with John, he's doing well and actually I get regular updates from him and emails and calls, and he's doing well, and he's been sober for 10 years or 15 years. And those success stories, I imagine, must give you great strength to keep fighting the fight.

    - Absolutely. Well I'm in recovery myself. So I've been in recovery almost nine years now, and so-

    - Congratulations. Good for you.

    - Thank you. I get it. Like I know, I know all those feelings all too well. And for every person that we bring into treatment, like that's what I want for them. I want them to feel purpose and to know that they have purpose in their life and to find that self-love and to know that like no matter what happens in life, you don't have to use and life will get better. We can't promise like riches and gold and all these things. But one thing I realized, getting clean, is that you believe in yourself more and, you know, a lot of good things can come true when you start believing in yourself and fulfilling things that you haven't before. And so that's my hope for every single person that we bring into treatment. It took me a long time. I got clean in my late 20s, I was 28. Yeah, so I get that part too. It took a really long time. I started using when I was about 13. So it's not something that, you know, is, hey, like my first time, I did not go to treatment. But so that's the hope for me, like that's the passion is I can really connect with somebody in that moment. And there are the people that, they do succeed, and like it's a beautiful thing when you hear and you see somebody get their life on track. And even within the facility, you know what, 30 days, we're just shaving the surface. I mean we're honestly really still just stabilizing. But someone's physical appearance can change so drastically, being off of drugs for 30 days. So we see those types of transformations as well, just in their body and their health. And then there are, we've lost a lot of people, and that's the whole part of being 24/7 and the addiction. People are dying at night, they're dying on the weekend. You have that moment of willingness, and that moment of willingness only lasts so long and we need to be able to provide support and resources during that time. Because the likelihood, well for one, somebody could be sick. I mean they're literally going into withdrawal if you're not using. They're gonna continue to use so that they don't go into withdrawal, until Monday, to get that. And no one knows what that card holds. And so it's just, it's so important.

    - 'Cause you have medical staff on site constantly at your facilities, I believe, don't you?

    - Oh absolutely. Yes. Yeah. So we have, we have doctors, we have nurses. We're also co-occurring so we can help with the mental health issues that come along with substance use, trauma, depression, anxiety. We have a psychiatrist, we have a nurse, a psychiatric nurse practitioner. We definitely have medical professionals 24/7. We provide a medically monitored safety talks so that someone is as comfortable as possible through that detox process. And then, I mean obviously, also just to be able to assess people as they're going along, to ensure that we're giving them the proper level of care that they need.

    - And food, which is important, just-

    - Yes. Yes. And we have good food. So those are the other barriers that we have tried to remove. Although they may not seem that big, but being an addict myself, I know what it's like to have those reasons, those reasons why I can't stop. Those reasons why I can't stay, I can't get clean yet. I can't stay clean for a week. And we try to remove all those reasons. We have beautiful facilities, we have world-class care. You know, our facilities are beautiful and we believe that place matters. We believe that, we want individuals to feel, we don't want them to feel institutionalized and like they're in a hospital. I mean, even their pillows are comfortable, and I think it's like a thousand count on the sheets. I don't know. Don't quote me on the sheets, but the sheets are really nice.

    - Don't quote you on the sheets.

    - And the food, so we have catered food, farm to table, and it's really good. And so those are some of the small barriers, why people leave treatment. I don't like the food. I'm not comfortable. It's not comfortable here. And so if we can make it as comfortable as possible, you know, and if we can give them as good as food as possible, then those are, that's two more barriers that we're removing so the individual stays and engages in the clinical aspect of treatment.

    - It is so hard. I know my brother would, you know, towards the end, he would collapse, he'd go to the hospital, but he would check himself out. All attempts to get him help would fail. And it's, that's the frustration of the family around him. Just trying. And I think there is, there is a stigma, unfortunately, and, but, and I don't think individuals who haven't dealt with it directly, through directly or through close contact with the family, a lot of people just don't get it. They're like, well you should just stop. And they just go what, you should stop, you know, whatever the addiction. Stop gambling, stop eating, stop drinking, stop doing drugs. And somebody who says that really has no concept of how hard it is. And even when you, in my interactions with people who have recovered, you fight the fight every day. Every day you grab your little wooden sword and your cardboard shield and you go out there and you fight the good fight. But having that good support system, people that you can turn to if you're having a bad day, whether it's family or friends or therapists or counselors or various support systems. And I'm sure your facility does a lot of work in that transition period, 'cause I imagine after they leave your facility there is that kind of period of higher risk when they, when they head out of your nice facility into the big wide world with all of those temptations. Whether it's a liquor store every three feet, it's open at 8:00 a.m. in the morning, 'cause they seem to open very early.

    - Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, like I had stated, we're really, even at 30 days, shaving the surface. We are still stabilizing. I mean the real work comes when people leave treatment and they go back into their environment. So being able to learn while they're in treatment. Maybe don't use that same route that you use where you pass that liquor store. Or involving the family in their treatment. What family is involved in their recovery, what's their support system, and engaging them in their treatment while they're with us. That way, when they go back home, that there's, they have a better idea of how to live together and how to work together. But the aftercare, that's really the biggest part. And so we provide outpatient services as well. So we provide, so the natural step down, you can look at these in a couple, well this is the stage that you can look at it. You have like hospitalization, at a hospital, and then you have an inpatient substance use treatment facility like ours. And that's where we can do the medically monitored detox, 30-day residential. Someone that may have more acuity or medically complex, medical complexities, they would need to be on the hospital level. And then once they're done with our level then there's outpatient. But there's different levels of outpatient. So you have what's called PHP, it's partial hospitalization. That's typically where people are going to groups five days a week. And then you have a step down from that which is IOP, which is intensive outpatient treatment. And that's where they're going to groups three days a week. And then you have a general outpatient where they're going once a week. And so we provide, we call that like the full wraparound service. So we provide those services as well so that they can have that continued support. And if, for whatever reason, they can't utilize our program, then we partner with programs all over the state that's close to where they live, or maybe there's a different specialty that they need. And it's not just substance use. You know, the co-occurring part, the mental health side, is so important. I know that first step in getting clean and then, I mean most of the times there is something underlying and you can be clean and you can still have mental health issues. And if you don't address those and if you don't take care of those, for one, you're still living in suffering, and for two, your risk of relapse is greater. And so it really depends on the individual's needs. Somebody might need an individual grief counselor. They might need a trauma therapist in addition to the substance use outpatient. They may want to be on what's called MAT, medication assisted treatment. And so that's like Suboxone or methadone. And so we're putting all those, we're putting all those pieces together. You're leaving RCA, you're going back to this area. You need this level of care. PHP. You also need housing. And you have experienced significant traumas. You need a trauma therapist. And you would like to be on some type of MAT. So we're gonna find all those things that are realistic for you to get to in that area, and get you set up with those before you leave the facility.

    - Yeah, 'cause I know with Dave, my brother, it was a combination of alcoholism and depression. And so the depression fed the alcoholism, the alcoholism fed the depression. So you had a two-sided sword that just fed on one another.

    - Absolutely.

    - And so you can't just address one. You have to, if he were to have gotten better, both issues would have to have been addressed, because-

    - Absolutely.

    - And it's hard 'cause you miss them, 'cause, when you lose a loved one, if they're in their 80s or early 90s it is very difficult, but when you lose somebody before their time, when before that, you feel that they leave before they should have, it is hard. And many families face that, whether it's losing someone to cancer or to COVID, or to an addiction. And especially right now, with COVID and social distancing, I'm sure it's made it a lot more challenging because a lot of support systems have been, are more difficult to engage with. And just the connections that you feel, from a hug or from holding hands or being close to somebody. So for a lot of individuals, like you mentioned, this past year, where people have been more isolated, if you're battling an addiction or a mental health issue, it's just made it so much more difficult for many individuals.

    - Yeah, I mean we've seen a huge increase, I mean nationally, amongst mental health and substance use. Addiction is a disease of isolation and we view addiction as a disease, just like cancer. You go into remission but it's there. And you're right, like having that, especially right when you get out of treatment. I couldn't even imagine, I couldn't imagine getting clean right now. When I got clean it was like, I was probably at an NA group three times a day. I needed that accountability. I needed the rawness that you feel from other people, those emotions, just the energy that you get. And having somewhere to go. Like that was one of the, staying busy, because isolation, it just feeds it. It's a breeding ground. And so it's been a very trying time for people, especially just getting out of treatment. And that's why it's so important that they're connected, that they have a support system. We also have RCA alumni. So we have an alumni group. We have virtual groups and we've opened it up to anyone now, anyone that's in recovery, not just people that have gone through RCA. Do different games virtually and connect virtually. And so through this time, everyone's just had to be very creative on how to stay engaged and expression and allowing people to connect and feel connected in the virtual space. So it has been, and there's a lot of people that have relapsed, you know. That even had a significant amount of time clean. And so, but the support's there. And I think now, at least we've been in this pandemic for so long, it's somewhat normal and people are finding, they may not be able to go to a group of 30 people but still being able to get a sponsor and go get coffee or social distance and do your steps, like that's still possible.

    - Good. So for individuals who are out there who may be watching this, certainly if they're the individual battling the addiction, where do they reach out to? We're gonna provide your contact information and certainly you're one option. What other groups are out there that people can turn to if they need help?

    - You mean like another contact here?

    - Just the support groups within the region.

    - Yeah. So there's AA, Alcoholics Anonymous. There's NA, Narcotics Anonymous. There's Smart Recovery. Typically, and then there's Al-Anon and Nar-Anon for family members. And those are typically groups that we offer people and suggest once they leave treatment. If you, I guess the way I look at it is, if you're questioning if you have a problem you probably have a problem, right. And so I think the biggest thing from there is to assess how bad that problem is, before determining like what level of care is needed. And I mean we can definitely help assess individuals. And if that's just outpatient, maybe somebody doesn't need inpatient. But maybe somebody does need inpatient and they need detox. So that's always what I identified within myself is like, when I got to the point where I thought I had a problem, and you know, like within yourself typically, when something's wrong and when you're struggling and when it's unmanageable and when you can't stop it. When you're using against your own will. Just knowing that it's okay, that you're taking the right step and that this is the biggest step that anyone could take in their life. And it's just one step at a time. Take that step and make a phone call and at least talk to someone about what the best options are. There are so many different resources, depending on the criteria, depending on the situation and what somebody needs. We have a team of treatment advocates throughout the mid Atlantic, from Delaware, Maryland, DC, Northern Virginia. We have got a wide array of resources, whether it's therapy, whether it's other outpatient programs. Whether, maybe someone has an insurance we don't work with. We can connect them with a facility that they can work with. So we really are a wealth of knowledge and resources, not just for Recovery Centers of America but, in general, if somebody needs treatment, you can definitely reach out to me, like I said, I'm 24/7, and we can help assess you to determine what the next best step is for you, or give you and guide you into the direction for the resources that you need.

    - Wonderful. And I guess the same applies to family members. So if there's a family member or loved one watching our program today who has someone that they care about, you might become a resource to them as well, to let them know what options they might have if they're trying to help this individual. And I guess, a lot of times it's catching it early. I think back, I wonder if my brother Dave had gotten help earlier, before he crossed that line of just being unreachable. But again, he would've have to have wanted the help. But, you know, sometimes it's, you look back and you wonder if there's something the family could have done to try and open the door for him. But it's very hard. I know when right before my brother passed away, Sandy Spring Bank has a wonderful program, the employee assistance program, and the bank pays for it. And it's a toll-free number and you call and you're referred to somebody that you can talk to and it's completely confidential and there's no copay, there's no checks to be written, no credit cards to be given, you just go to a counselor or a therapist, no one at the bank knows that you go, and you get help. And it's, sometimes it's just somebody to talk to. For me it was dealing with the loss of my big brother and it was really affecting me, 'cause he was Dave. He was my big brother and he was going away. And so, when I see Dan Schrider our president, I've thanked him because the bank pays for that. They cut a very large check to cover that expense. And they've been promoting it a lot during the past year, saying to their employees hey, this is a difficult time for everyone. We're all stressed. It's a new world we've entered into. You have help out there. And so, whatever that first step might be, if it's reaching out to your employer's wellness program, or calling you or calling somebody.

    - Absolutely. Taking that, I mean taking action and reaching out for help. That's the number one thing. When you or the family member has that desire or says I need help or I need help with somebody. Like you said, taking that step and calling that resource. And I'm glad that you brought up the EAP 'cause even a lot of times people, they're kind of scared of the EAP or they don't understand it. And they're there to help. In all organizations. Most organizations have EAPs and they are there to help and they can be very, very helpful. And I'm so sorry for the loss of your brother and I-

    - Thank you.

    - Yeah.

    - He was, you would have liked Dave. He was, but I remember we had a bumpy grass tennis court at our beach house in England and we used to play tennis and I lost, actually both brothers, Jamie, I lost to a car accident when I was only 28. So, but, you know, I remember both of them. They would have a tennis racquet in one hand, a beer in another hand and a cigarette in their mouths and we'd be out there playing tennis and laughing. And so I do, and 13 days before he passed away his body just said, you know, no more scotch. I actually stopped drinking alcohol and started drinking non-alcoholic beers and it's been, that's what I've been doing ever since. And it's been my, many of my family members are, or were, or are alcoholics. So it's kind of a thing.

    - Yeah, it's genetic.

    - But I, there's actually a brewery out in California, Bravus, and I, they brew non-alcoholic beers. That's all they do. And so I get shipments in the FedEx truck, they deliver a case of non-alcoholic beer and IPAs and stouts and wheat beer, and I just, my beer fridge is full of beer. It just has 0.5% alcohol. So. But for me it's just been my kind of little stake in the ground, my memory of my brother. And it's given me strength as I move forward. And I don't think I'll ever go back to drinking alcohol. But everyone has to deal with the loss of a loved one differently. And so we're gonna wrap up our conversation, but as I said, on behalf of the community, to you and all of your staff, thank you for all of the help that you provide. Are there any last closing statements that you'd like to provide to the audience before we wrap up today?

    - You know if you, or someone you know, is struggling, just reach out, give me a call, and we will, we'll help in any way that we can. And Phil, I just wanna thank you again so much. Having awareness is so huge and hopefully someone watching this, it will at least make it a little bit more comfortable to bring up that conversation or, you never know, maybe two people will be watching this together and one of them may have a problem and it ignites that conversation. These are the, this is the part of awareness. So I just wanna thank you so much for,

    - You're welcome.

    - for touching on this topic and allowing us to come on. So I just wanna let people know you're not alone. We do recover. If you need help give me a call. If you're a friend, a family, doesn't matter, if you know somebody that needs help you can call me any time.

    - Okay. Well thank you Sarah for your time. And we'll continue talking as we continue our friendship and relationship. But it's been a pleasure chatting with you. So I'm just gonna make some few closing statements. So thank you again for joining us today and for you, the audience, thank you for joining us. And as Sarah and I have said, if you're fighting an issue out there and you need help, there's no shame in asking for help. There are people around you who care about you, who love you, and it is hard, but there is help out there. And if you're a family member or a loved one dealing with somebody who's fighting one of these challenges, again, know that there's support out there for you and there is help available. Thank you for joining Sandy Spring Bank's Real Life Matters Discussion Series. This is a community program. We're building a library of discussions in the areas of law, tax, finance and healthcare. It is open to the public. You don't have to bank with Sandy Spring Bank. But for those of you watching who do bank with us, thank you. We're a 153-year-old financial institution, founded in 1868, after the civil war, in central Montgomery County. And we have served the community for 153 years, standing by our clients' side through difficult times, including the past year, as we've been tackling the many issues that we face. So, and one thing I'm really proud of is when we opened our bank in 1868, we're one of the few banks in the region, actually the first bank in the state of Maryland, that would do business with everyone on equal terms. There were no restrictions, no different rules for different types of individuals. And that was in our bank charter. And we try to remain that focus of being a community bank. And it's why I'm very proud to be the host of this educational series that we're running. So if you bank with us, thank you. I do a seminar series also on the website where I talk about financial and estate planning issues. We do ask for your name and how you heard about the seminars, but for the discussion series we don't ask for any information if you come and join our discussions. So on behalf of Sandy Spring Bank, please be safe, stay safe and take care.

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