Apr 12, 2021
We are we have been dealing with a crisis with with the disease of addiction. And again, I think that we can see that because we're talking about it more than we've ever talked about it. And that's because we're seeing so many people affected by it. But it is a it's a huge health crisis that we're living in right now. It's just gigantic. And I don't think, quite honestly, we've seen the worst of it at this point.
And my guest today has a ton to share. That is because this is Wendy Noe’s work. She is the executie director of the Dove Recovery House in Indianapolis, which is a recognized residential program for women with substance abuse disorders.
But Wendy doesn’t just talk with us as a professional who works with women dealing with substance addictions, she talks to us as a woman who has been directly impacted by addiction. She walked with her brother as he spiraled deeper into addiction. She helped check him into and watched him leave treatment programs and she has really, really good words to offer if you are just feeling at the end of your rope as you try to help someone you love who is grappling with their addiction.
As we dive in, a little bit more about Wendy. She is from central Indiana, lived here her whole life, although she has a love for Michigan, particularly South Haven.
I just love the area. I love the peace of it all. I love the little bitty towns up there. I love the winetasting. I just feel like, you know, to be able to drive two hours, two 1/2 hours north and it's just such a peaceful getaway for me. Quiet's I love the nature. You know, her house is just a perfect space for me to retreat and just calm down from life. I just love it up there.
Yeah, I love that. Well, in the Great Lakes are their own national treasure. I mean, they are these sweeping landscapes that really when people talk about the Third Coast, my my in-laws are from northern Minnesota. So when we encounter the Great Lakes, it's usually from the western side driving through Wisconsin and into Minnesota. But my sister has recently moved to Michigan and it's beautiful. We hadn't really done Michigan in the same way because we'd always been on the other side.
But it's charming. And you can drive in Michigan forever like we we did a day coming through that Upper Peninsula and then all the way down to Ann Arbor.
And I was like, it's been like, you know, eleven hours all in Michigan. I was stunned at how large it is.
It is. It's huge. And my husband and I always talk about retiring. And I mean, we're too young yet. But
He loves snow. He loves the winter. So he's always said he wants to move to Montana and snow and all cold things. And even though Michigan has a winter, I'm like, we could move to Michigan when we retire. You could have, you know, the cold and the snow. And yet I still get beach time in summertime.
Yes. So I don't know, maybe one day we'll find our way into Michigan as residents
Michigan, Montana, those states.
Not that to the north.
Well, it's it's a certain thing if you've grown up with snow and ice, like I grew up in the Midwest and it's you know, I similarly, I think about like it's like eight months of winter up in northern Minnesota. There's just a lot of winter. I mean, summers are great, but there's a lot of winter soon. So you have to have a hearty constitution.
Well, which is probably why whether it was, you know, people of Dutch descent, you know, colonizing Michigan or the Scandinavians in northern Minnesota have been like, oh, yes, it was like this in the old country. You weren't shocked to come and find these brutal winters.
That's true. That's all you know.
So you are married. You also have some teenagers in your home, is that right?
Yes, I have two daughters.
OK, are they getting ready to graduate? Lower high school that have have
I have a freshman and a senior. Oh yeah. Yeah. So they're both June babies, so I have one getting ready to turn fifteen and one getting ready to turn eighteen.
So my life is. It's weird right now my baby is leaving me for college, and she's, you know, she I we have been very fortunate to not have senioritis and she's not been an unenjoyable teen. She's just this really impressive, amazing young lady. And I really enjoy being around her. And she's a huge help.
You know, my 15 year old or soon to be 15 year old, my freshman. She's like, I'll do it later. I'll do it later. You know, I'm certainly going to have the teen angst, I think, with her. And she's enjoyable and incredible in her own way. And I just love I'm blessed to have two amazing daughters.
Yeah, well, in I'm a couple of years behind, my eldest is thirteen. But I've been saying to people, I mean, we are we're having a recalibrating of our relationship to suit her age.
And I think especially with your oldest, as they encounter these different life stages, we can be aware as parents of their need to skill up like, oh, they need additional skills and these are growth moments as they're entering. And but I I think there's a corollary that I experience in myself of being like, I've got a skill up as a parent for this new stage as well.
You know, it requires different aspects of my, you know, my training and engaging as I engage with this new stage. And it sounds like you're on the brink of doing some of that as you have a child leaving the home,
You know, so that is one hundred percent spot on
You talked about. Working throughout their growing up years and the different professional roles and capacities you've been in.
You are in a leadership role at the Dove House. Would you tell me a little bit about your role there and about the Dove house and their mission writ large?
I would love to. I'm the executive director at Dove Recovery House for Women. I supervise a staff of 16 and Dove Recovery House provides a residential treatment for women with substance use disorder. We're the largest in Indianapolis. And and really, our program model is is really the only type of its kind in the state of Indiana.
We house 40 women every night. And, you know, we we serve the most vulnerable women in our community, women that have experienced homelessness and near homelessness, sex trafficking, prostitution, trauma, women without the ability to pay, women without health insurance who really need treatment but can't always afford or usually can't afford to go to those other places.
We've been around since 2000 and we've been recognized by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction and the Governor's next level recovery office as the best practice model for the state of Indiana that they would like to replicate. So I'm I'm really proud of that and how hard we've worked for it.
And how many years have you been at the Dove house?
I've been here just over six years.
OK, yeah. I have so many questions to come out in the course of our conversation about good ways to encounter people who are dealing with addiction issues, ways in which we compound the problem by our responses. I have a number of questions
I would like to tie, also, a little bit, also to some of your own experience. I remember you telling me when you began on this learning curve at the Dove House, it helped you in kind of looking back at some of the experiences that you had with your brother within your personal life.
How how were those two like a, awarenesses coming together as you began at the Dove House?
It's really been a fascinating journey for me. And I've learned so much in my time here at Dove House. So a little background. I've always
I've spent my entire career in the nonprofit industry and working primarily in women's issues. And so I was ready for a new role, a new chapter and executive director position. And this one opened up here at Dove House. And I didn't really know a lot about addiction and substance use disorder, and I certainly hadn't ever heard of Dove House.
And but again, just passionate about women's issues and met the board of directors and was offered the job. And I really took it upon myself to educate and become knowledgeable about substance use disorder and the issues of the women that we treat face.
And it wasn't, you know, until I started working at Dove House and really educating and becoming educated by my women and by my staff about substance use disorder, that my eyes really opened up to the disease.
And I have a younger brother who had really kind of gone off the rails. He was in and out of jail. He had several arrests.
You know, it was the common theme that if we hadn't pain pills our house, make sure you hide them before he comes over knowing that he always had what he said was back pain, always had back problems and always needed some medicine.
And I had chronic ear issues. And so, you know, it wasn't unusual for me to have pain medicine in my house due to those those chronic ear issues, you know, and then so was the running theme in my family that lock these things up or he's going to ask for money here. He always wants money and never taking any ownership of the fact that he could never keep a job. You know, he was always good about getting a job, but never keeping a job.
He'd over sleep or it what was someone else's fault.
And so I saw some of those same things with the women that we were working with. And again, he was in and out of jail for for theft or possession of marijuana. And then he got arrested again. And I honestly can't recall what what what the charges were for. But it was then that I started getting clued in to some of the flags that were being raised.
So I remember having a conversation with my mom and I said I think he might have some addiction problems and sort of having some of those questions and conversations with not only him, but also with with my family members, with my my twin sister and my mom. So
Wendy, could I could I jump in and ask you a question?
Yeah. That so.
I imagine that there's there's this family unit dynamics as your brother is struggling along the way. You you mentioned kind of this this emerging awareness.
Is this addiction prior to that? What what were the family like, feelings and conversations? Were you feeling like he's just so irresponsible, he's totalizing the family's attention, why can't he get his act together? Like what were some of the things that were being absorbed within the the wider family structure?
It is such a good question. I so I'm very much a look. You want something, you work hard for it, you get it. And it irritated me. I had no patience for him.
I had no patience for the fact that he would not take ownership over his own behaviors. I was sick and tired of him hurting my family, our family. My mom was a single parent. My mom did not have a lot of income and yet she felt like she needed to take care of him.
He had always been the baby of the family. And she, you know, I couldn't understand why she would give him money or she would bail him out or she would help him.
And then my sister was the mediator. You know, she was always his caretaker. My mom had to work. And so she was always the one that would help him with his homework and make sure he was eating and that very nurturing older sister. And I was the hard ass one, you know, in a job, which I need to do.
I'm tired of taking care of you. So we had a very interesting family dynamic, you know, and my mom and my sister would get very frustrated with him, but they always seem to rescue him. Yeah, and I didn't. And so we had a very fractured relationship. We did not talk. We did not talk with each other. I didn't want anything to do with him. He made me mad. And so I really I really kind of cut him out of my life with him.
I didn't I didn't know him. I didn't understand him. And I certainly didn't respect him.
Yeah. Yeah. Thank you for for giving that background because it's a struggle. It's a struggle for so many people to think, is there a right way of encountering someone with these issues? And, you know, is it right? Is it wrong? Is it just what you do to survive, to get through and be able to live a life beyond that? So that's I appreciate you giving voice to some of those struggles.
Yeah, of course. I mean, I think, you know, he would be the first to recognize the challenging relationship that we had.
And yeah. And he was very good at keeping things away from us. You know, he presented what he wanted us to see. He was trying to get a job, but he couldn't get a job. There was no one hiring. And I didn't live in the same town as him. My mom did. So I think maybe she was more abreast of things, but and as a mom protecting us. But we had a very, very fractured relationship.
And he only let me see what I what he wanted me to see.
And so I remember him calling me from jail and needing my help. And I asked him, are you addicted? And he said, yes, I have a problem.
And I said, OK, let me help you, but here are my conditions. I will only help you or I will only do this if you go into treatment. And he's like, fine, OK.
And at this point, I think he was kind of looking at some homelessness and didn't have anywhere to live. And so I remember picking him up from a friend's house after he had been released from jail and he was living in a camper on their land.
So no running water, no electricity. So he was you know, it was pretty rough for him. I think he was willing to do whatever it took at that point to have a house.
So I remember taking him to the grocery store and hooking him up with everything that he needed and took him to a recovery house because I at this point, I'm working in recovery. I know it works. I know what it takes. I called people I knew and got them into a program and he lasted 30 days.
He met a girl on an online dating site. And he's a charmer. I mean, he has a heart of gold. He he always said he loves well, he loves while he didn't have the rest of it together, but he loves. Well, yeah. And and he left the. Program, and it went right back to to his and my relationship.
I was frustrated I couldn't keep it together. So, again, you know, fast forward wheels fell off. He they were doing good for a while. My sister, who is you know, she and I were talking this morning, she's she's like that that that old town neighborhood mom that knows everything and is in everyone's business and knew that things were falling apart.
And my sister, if she doesn't know you. She'll figure out who you are and start a relationship with you.
And she uses social media, Facebook as a way to communicate with people that I know of people and found out through a friend of of my brother's girlfriend that they were no running water.
They had kids in the house, no running water, no electricity. They were filling up water jugs at a local gas station. And and the house was trashed. And then that we found that they were both addicted and they got arrested. For theft, and which was some of my brother's charges before, and she was released because she had no priors, my brother went back to jail and I had her come to Dove House and tell me what had happened.
And I still feel bad about that because I have to imagine that, you know, here I hold this responsibility in this role of this this large organization. But yet I'm also her boyfriend, sister. And she needed my help and had to have community service and needed resources. And so she's sitting in my office and telling me everything. And it was then that I learned that my brother was addicted to heroin. He ended up getting out of jail.
I got him into another program. That program didn't work out for him, which I don't blame him. I blame the program.
And quite honestly, they failed my brother, but he gave it to me that
Could I have you pause just for a second?
Yeah. Sorry, I go on and on.
No, no, no. Well, I'm just struck. You said they failed my brother. From your experience with your brother and also within your area of competence, what makes for a more or less effective program more helpful?
Whatever whatever term applies best?
I think so, for for in this instance, this program allowed clients to have medication in their room. And my brother's drug of choice was with pain pills and graduated to heroin because pain pills became much more difficult to obtain. That program failed him because they had pain pills in the room and my brother used one of the pain pills. And so they looked at that as a discharge and that discharged him because they looked at that as a relapse and discharged him due to that relapse.
So I think that and there's a lot of programs out there Liesel that that discharge individuals when they have a relapse. And, you know, people have relapses all the time. When you look at diseases, you know, whether it's an asthma relapse or cancer comes back or diabetes flare up, you know, who knows? And, you know, you treat that. You treat that disease. Something's not working. Let's figure it out. But to just charge a person from a program because they relapse does not help them.
They're not going to be able to maintain sobriety. They're not going to be able to figure out what caused that relapse. And that's what Dove House does differently, is that we don't discharge due to a relapse. We we look at what happened, how can we help them? Because ultimately they're going to come back. They're going to need our help. And if we discharge them, then the chances of them dying or getting our services in the future are significant.
But in that instance with my brother, you know, they failed him in two ways. They they discharged him due to his relapse. But they set that relapse in front of his face by having a medication that could was easily abused. Yeah. Newly into recovery. He could not he couldn't resist it.
Well, and that that movement a little bit, what you were saying of giving it another chance that the language of disease as it relates to addiction, I feel like has been a movement among practitioners and social services in science, in the medical field to talk about addiction more as a disease than as a matter of willpower. Why why is it important to make that move in the language and our conceptualizing of what addiction is?
Addiction always been looked at as a character flaw, and it's personal choice that you're making. You're choosing to use drugs. You're choosing to use alcohol. And and the reality is, is that at first choice you are you know, you may choose to drink alcohol or you may choose to to do something to put something in your body that perhaps you should be putting in there. But then something changes. And there is evidence that supports that when you use drugs or alcohol, there is a chemical.
A chemical imbalance that occurs in a person's brain and for some I can have one my brother cannot. And so it's a very interesting study and research that's come out that shows that this is a disease, that it is an imbalance in a person's brain.
The other part of this is that if you look at what the root cause of addiction is, something came before that. And what I say is trauma is the gateway drug. Those individuals experience some form of traumatic experience and they're using those external influences like drugs or alcohol to self medicate.
So, for example, my clients here at Dove House, and this really is across the board for women in and of itself, the average age for drug use is 13. And evidence shows that the age you start using drugs and alcohol on a regular basis is the age your brain stops maturing. So the average age of drug use for my clientele is 13. That means they're stunted. Their brain is stunted at the age of 13 or 14. Ninety five percent of my clients and again, this is this is evidence in general.
So while I see it in my client population, if you look at nationwide evidence and research for women. Ninety five percent of them experienced some form of trauma with 90 percent of them experiencing childhood sexual abuse. And again, this is across the board.
So if and then if you remove this notion that's a character flaw, you're bringing the disease and the the judgment out of the closet. People are using in secret, in secrecy. They're not reaching out for help because it's so stigmatizing.
So if we can remove the stigma from it, people are more likely to reach out for help at an earlier age and early onset of point because they know they're not going to be judge.
You don't judge people if they have cancer. We don't judge people if they have diabetes or asthma, we look at them as getting help. And so you're right that the narrative or this conversation around substance use disorder and addiction has really started to shift.
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Yeah, and you were in the midst of the flow of your story. You were talking about helping your brother in and out of these different treatment centers, which I imagine in the midst of being a parent of two children, a partner, a professional, is taking a lot of your emotional and social bandwidth at the time.
What what sort of a strain was that like for you trying to navigate these moving pieces on your brother's behalf?
The hardest thing for me was the two roles that I was playing. And, you know, I educate people and I see the women that come through the doors of Dove House and I love on them. And I educate people in substance use disorder. And I see these women as the women that they are, these incredible human beings that experienced severe things in their lives. And we are giving them the opportunity to become their best versions, the women they're designed and meant to be. And I've always felt that that my life's purpose is to provide a voice for women who have yet to find theirs.
And then I'm I'm dealing with my brother who hurt my family and hurt my mom is an active addiction and I'm judging him for it and I'm mad at him for it. And it was really hard for me to shift and think, why is it OK for me to treat him that way when I don't treat these women that way? And I'm telling other people not to treat people with substance use disorder, with negativity and with isolation.
And yet here I am doing it. And so I really had to train myself and evolve as a human being and as his sister, that my brother suffers from the disease of addiction. And this is not a choice he is making and I need to help him.
Yeah, well. And I imagine. It's always it's always hard when we feel personally triggered or like this isn't just an abstract question, like your choices are affecting me, they're affecting people I love.
And it can be hard sometimes to do those pivots in real time. Like when you're in the midst of a conversation, what kinds of things were important for you to be doing, like prior to interactions with him afterwards? Like what supports were you getting that what allowed you to evolve in the way that you're describing?
I asked a lot of questions and I leaned on team members who had family experience with addiction. I ask questions of women that came through our programs.
I really wanted to know and I I wanted to be vulnerable. I wanted to share why my own issues, my own insecurities, why I was acting the way that I was, and really helping to gain more of a personal understanding, getting inside the mind of someone that suffers from this disease. That really helped me to ask those questions to to not only know it from a literature standpoint, but to know it from a personal standpoint, to know it from a very intimate perspective.
How does it make you feel when when a when a family member disowns you or when a family member says these things to you? How did that make you feel? And so it really it it it opened my eyes in a way that they hadn't been opened and. It allowed me to help my brother in a way that I never had been able to help him patient with him, I was more understanding. I was compassionate. I ask the right questions and I listened.
And it honestly helps our relationship when I could tell him from a factual educational standpoint, like you are making this decision right now and this is an impulse decision and and having a very forward conversation with him, you know, instead of saying to him, you are leaving this program and moving in with your girlfriend, why do you think that's a bad idea? This is why I think it's a bad idea. And pushing him away, if I said it to him that way, instead of saying you're making an impulse decision, why do you think that is?
And what has happened to you in the past when you've made an impulse decision? And can you slow down? And instead of leaving today, can you think through while you're angry right now because you're in this program and somebody made you mad and so you're just going to go move in with your girlfriend? Can you slow down and think through this? If I make this decision based on emotion and impulse, how is that going to benefit me tomorrow? Right.
So really helping him understand and slow down and make have those conversations, because that's how we do here at Dove House.
What I hear in some of those questions and tell me if I'm characterizing this correctly, inviting him into more of his own reflective process beyond just like judging or offering advice on what could seem to you, like really bad decisions.
Like, let me just tell you what I think, instead of kind of pressing deeper and inviting him into his own deeper reflection, is that a good characterization of some of the things you were doing and asking the right questions?
100 percent. Because if you if you make all the questions, make all the decisions, and when things go wrong, guess whose fault it is? Your fault. It's my fault. Yeah. Really helping him slow down. And what we say here at Dove House, play that tape all the way through. He has to learn and lean on his own understanding. And if I know that today I make a decision to eat unhealthy and I'm trying to lose weight, well, guess what?
If I eat unhealthy, I'm going to gain weight. If someone tells me, Wendy, don't eat that, one, it's condescending because I'm a grown adult. I don't need you to tell me what to do. But if I do it, it's because then I'm not owning that decision. Someone own that decision for me. And so it really, you know, he he's a grown man. And the women that we serve, they're grown women. I am not their parent.
I can help them lead them to a place of understanding and help them think for themselves. And that's what we do, is teaching them, helping their brain to mature. It's it's very similar to raising my daughters. You're going to make decisions when I'm not around. What you have to do is think about the consequences with those decisions, whether they're positive or negative. How do you want to live your life? Are you going to go to a party and drink alcohol?
Would you do that in front of me? And if you make a choice to do so, how will that benefit you? I will help you in the long run. Ultimately, you're going to have to make those decisions. So it's really providing them with the tools that they need to make healthy lifestyle choices for them.
Right. Something that I hear sometimes from support people who are walking with people with addiction is that sense of social taboo, of personal failing. It affects both the addicted individual, but also their support systems. Because what I've heard from some support people, as they said, you know, it's it's something I don't feel like I can ask for help with or talk because I'm also judge, you know, what did I do wrong that my child or my partner is dealing with substance abuse, that there's this extension of the shame narrative that goes even to the support people who are seeking help.
Did you find that to be true within your own story, or is that something that you also hear for support people?
I guess it's not it wasn't really part of my story because, you know, I. I think. I don't know, I think I've been very careful about who I invite into my world, and I think because I had people around me that understood substance use disorder that I was in a place unlike what a lot of other people experience. I had I had a built in support system through my job. Right. They got it. They knew it.
They didn't judge me. If anything, maybe it allowed me some street cred because, you know, they call you ignore me because you've never experienced a recovery yourself. And yet when I tell share with my clients that, like, this is the walk I've walked and this is the world in which I live and my get it, you know, it allows some different level of credibility.
But I do think and it's the same with people that that suffer from the disease, is that fear of judgment? It's the same with those family members is again, we've looked at this as a personal failure. And so people don't talk about it because. Yeah, how how will people look at me? They're shocked or they're surprised and they don't share their story. I mean, I have people that are donors that don't share that or that are volunteers that have a personal history with addiction or a family member, and yet they won't share that knowledge publicly.
But they feel a calling to help, hmm. And so I think as we continue to break down the walls and stigma around substance use disorder, we can we can really shape the outcomes of how we help those individuals suffer from it.
Yeah, I'm struck that you have sat in the room with many people who are walking their stories. You mentioned some earlier in the podcast. You know, their parents disowned them. The what are as this is
One aim of this podcast is to help people be able to avoid some of the minefields that are response patterns. What would you say are some of the worst things, like whatever you do, just avoid saying this kind of stuff to someone who is in the midst of an addiction struggle?
You know, it's a fine line because you don't want it, you don't want to enable bad behaviors. You know, I think.
I think I think the worst thing we can do is isolate a person from love and isolate them. So if you use again, I will never speak to you again or you are not welcome in my home. I mean, you certainly have to put boundaries up and put boundaries in place. I think when we attack their character, it's the worst thing we can do because, again, it's it's it's a disease. They're not making this personal choice. I mean, we always say that this the addiction is a monster in your brain.
And if you open the door to that monster, he's going to be in that door all the way open. And it's really hard to get him out of the room once you've invited him in. So I think that, too, to dis. To disconnect a person from their family, they won't reach out for help when they need it because they've been booted from it before, so they're not going to go back.
I mean, if you are kicked when you're down, are you going to reach your hand back out to that same person who you know you're not because you don't want to be reinjured.
I think that would be probably my greatest advice now with the understanding that we we can't give them money, you know, we can't give them the financial support or inviting them into our home. We certainly have to lay boundaries and put things in place, but. I think we still need to be present and available.
Yeah, but the flip side of that question, what are some of the best or most helpful general principles in helping someone who is struggling with addiction?
Well, obviously, I think the person that needs I think a person struggling with addiction needs to understand and be educated about the resources that are out there. We can't do it on our own. And I think they need treatment. And I'm not a big fan of just, you know, detoxing and then they can come home that such that such treatment is getting the the chemicals out of their body. But it's a treatment. They need long term.
They need long term treatment. But the big thing is that it has to be that individual's choice. So I can I can force you into treatment. But if you don't go there willingly, you're not going to stay. So we really have to say I'll help you with this, but ultimately has to be your choice. I'm willing to to to call I'm willing to pay for two weeks. But this is all this is all I'm willing to do.
It has to be up to you. And that's what I learned even with my brother. He I told him that he had to go to the first treatment program and then he left. But then he I kept the door open to him and he came back and said, OK, Wendy, I'm ready to try this again. Can you help me? And that time it stuck. And today he's three years sober from heroin. But it was a it was a personal choice.
I don't absolve him from bad behaviors. I don't enable bad behaviors. When I feel like that side of him is creeping up. I don't, I don't entertain it. I don't entertain oh, woe is me behaviors. And he knows that about me. But he made choices and we can have conversations. But ultimately it was his choice to get sober and to do the hard work.
Yeah. Was that, was that movement into treatment or the decision to go. We talked about some of the family unit dynamics. Did that get messy or were you did you feel fairly aligned with your mom and your sister?
Very much aligned. My mom trusted me to make the I mean, I think at that point she really said, you do what you need to do. I trust you to help save his life. And she really backed off when I told her, don't give him money. Don't do this. If you want to buy a pack of cigarettes, then buy him a pack of cigarettes. But but stop doing this. She did. And that helped a lot because she trusted me and really walked alongside me and my sister as well.
I mean, my sister and I are exceptionally close and, you know, is even educating her on on how to help him. And I think the fact that he was a united front, he couldn't play my mom. He couldn't weasel his way into things. You know, it helped him because he knew he couldn't he he he couldn't do the things that he'd done in the past.
Right. Speaking of best practices and ways to be helpful, what were some of the ways that your support system was most helpful to you as you were going through the ups and downs of your brother being in treatment?
For me, you know, the people that I didn't work with that didn't understand addiction, never passed judgment, and they always were just there for me to listen because, you know, you have to put on a certain front around your family when you're figuring this out.
But, you know, I could let my guard down with my people and knew that I was loved and listened and understood and maybe they didn't have the advice and that was OK because I wasn't looking for advice. I just needed to vent and have a support system that when I needed it, they held me up.
Yeah. For people listening right now, some people might be thinking, I don't know anyone who is dealing with addiction issues, I'm sure that I don't that my life doesn't touch anyone who's been affected. I think oftentimes were unaware of the scope of the problem.
Do you have any, like, numbers or ways of conveying? I also imagine that covid potentially has kicked up a number of addiction issues as people are dealing with a lot more depression. They're stuck at home. They're looking to numb or dull all kinds of pains. What does it look like in Indiana or nationwide as to numbers of people who are dealing with addiction issues?
Addiction is a huge issue. It's a lot more prevalent than people would realize. And I think the chances are that everyone would know someone that is dealing with a disease of substance use disorder. I can't tell you what the number is at the moment because, again, that's a self reported number. We think it's much more prevalent than even what the data would say.
What we do know that in the world of covid right now, that overdoses are up by 80 some percent compared to this time last year and overdose deaths are up by 40 percent compared to this time last year.
So we are we have been dealing with a crisis with with the disease of addiction. And again, I think that we can see that because we're talking about it more than we've ever talked about it. And that's because we're seeing so many people affected by it. But it is a it's a huge health crisis that we're living in right now. It's just gigantic. And I don't think, quite honestly, we've seen the worst of it at this point.
Tell me more about that.
I think that we are we're seeing the overdose rates and we're seeing the death rate or the overdose and the death rates skyrocketing. But right now, people are getting stimulus checks, they're getting unemployment, and so they're financially managing. I think that when the money runs out, we're going to see a lot more homelessness. We're going to see a lot more need than we've ever seen. I know our numbers are going up just in terms of of requests.
Right now, we have 88 women on our waitlist level, which is the most I can remember we ever having.
Wow, yeah, those are huge numbers if people are listening and they think I want to learn more about the Dove House, perhaps I know someone who should go or I want to support the work you guys are doing. Where is the best place for them to go to get more information?
The best place to go would be our website doverecoveryhouse.org . We have great information about where our who we are, what we do here, some really great videos and testimonials from clients that have been served through our program. We're also on all social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn. We even have a YouTube page and our videos are up there. I do every other week or so. I do just a two minute kind of log called once Wednesdays with Wendy and just highlighting kind of what's been happening at our house.
So if you go to our Web Web page, you'll find all the links for our social media channels.
You can find links to the Dove House and their available resources in the show notes or on the web posting. That way you can learn more and support the good work that Wendy and her team are doing in Indianapolis.
Here are three key takeaways from my conversation with Wendy…
Find out more about the Dove Recovery House at https://doverecoveryhouse.org