‘I’m here to help the community’: Former Singing Trees counselor starts online drug recovery service | Lost Coast Outpost
It’s no secret that Humboldt County has long faced a drug epidemic, and that finding addiction treatment isn’t always easy, with local recovery centers often overwhelmed to capacity. Now a local substance abuse counselor is doing her part to make treatment more accessible to those with substance use disorder (SUD).
Marilyn Walpole, who has been a certified substance abuse counselor for 10 years, recently launched an online counseling service called Red Phoenix Recovery, which aims to provide an affordable and user-friendly way for people in our community to receive counseling for drug and alcohol addiction. .
“I use different therapies like motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy, and techniques that teach people how to do things differently, rather than just saying, ‘Go to a meeting, and this will fix it,'” Walpole said. Outpost In an interview Thursday.
Walpole has worked at several different recovery centers and programs in Humboldt, including Humboldt Alcohol Recovery Treatment (HART), which provides programs for people arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and Aegis Treatment Center, which provides medication-assisted treatment ( Such as methadone) and counseling services. Most recently, Walpole worked at the Singing Trees Recovery Center in South Humboldt, which is currently closed, after a series of legal issues involving the new owner.
Although Walpole did not want to comment too much on the current situation at Singing Trees, she said that the facility appears to be closed and that she is “holding out hope that something will change,” and that the facility will be able to reopen soon. Of course, with Singing Trees not currently in operation, Walpole is concerned about the lack of recovery options available in our area, especially in South Humboldt.
The limited availability of treatment centers in our area is one of the reasons Walpole decided to branch out on their own and start Red Phoenix Recovery. Most local centers, like Waterfront Recovery in Eureka, are almost always booked, with a long list of people waiting for a bed. Of course there are many options for free group programs throughout the province, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), but this approach does not always suit everyone, especially someone who may not feel completely comfortable in the community of a group setting.
“I think AA and NA are great programs. They’re very helpful,” Walpole said. “But for people who are new to recovery, it can be really scary, and there’s a lot of anxiety.”
Individual counseling can be easier for many people due to privacy, and the availability of an online service also has the benefit of a person being able to conduct sessions in their home, or somewhere they feel comfortable. Another obstacle for many people seeking recovery in our area is the lack of reliable transportation, and this can result in many people not attending in-person meetings or counseling appointments, Walpole said. Using a virtual platform eliminates the patient’s need for a car.
There are some challenges that come with virtual counseling as well, and it can be difficult to accurately gauge someone’s condition without seeing them in person, Walpole said. In the future, Walpole plans to expand its business into office space so that it can see people in person as well and be able to offer a hybrid platform tailored to people’s specific needs. But renting office space can be expensive, so she’s not rushing anything. Not having to pay rent also allows Walpole to keep its prices low because it has relatively no overhead costs.
For now, Walpole is able to take appointments by phone or via Zoom, whatever the client prefers, and works on a sliding scale, allowing patients to pay what they can. Treatment centers and counseling services can be expensive, which is often a barrier for those struggling with addiction. Walpole also accepts insurance, and is working on being able to accept the partnership (the insurance provider for people on Medi-Cal), a process that could take about six months.
“I think for me it’s more about giving back to the community and being of service,” Walpole said. “It’s not that money isn’t useful. But I don’t want to make it such a liability that people can’t afford it. That kind of doesn’t help anyone.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction and might want to talk to Walpole, you can find her phone number and email on the Red Phoenix Recovery website. After communicating with you, she will work with you to find out what treatment and payment plan is right for you. Walpole can also provide referrals, if you’re looking for help finding a treatment center. Walpole’s work hours are flexible, and she said she keeps her phone on at all times, so she can be contacted at any time of the day or night.
“I’m here to help the community,” she said.