Sunday, November 1, 2015


Promises unfulfilled
Maybe tomorrow
The silence will be stilled

Summers long ago
Leave behind the drama
And bury them below

Hours, days, then years
Troubles surmounting
Realizing your worst fears

(Written August 2014)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Next Steps: Sober Living

Halfway Houses and Sober Living Houses are terms that are easily confused.  A Halfway House is generally a highly structured living facility that is often funded by the government.  Sober Living Houses are less structured and generally more expensive because they are funded by the residents of the house.  Some accept insurance but will usually be considered out-of-network.  Most sober living houses have fees/rent that range from $175 per week up to $30,000 per month for a more luxurious setting.  These houses are also usually a single gender facility.

From what I have personally experienced, rehab facilities and sober living houses are big business and it is important to ask the right questions to make sure that you are choosing the best place to continue on the road of recovery.  A sober living house can be crucial to a recovering addict post-rehab.  Sending the recovering addict immediately back into the world to figure things out can be overwhelming and could cause the person to go back to old familiar habits.  It is also essential to research the sober living facility to make sure that it is a good fit.  Making a wrong choice can be costly as many require deposits. 

The internet is full of slick websites and advertisements that are very appealing.  Even Pinterest has boards that have "pins" which link to halfway house and sober living facilities ( One site that I felt had some good information is  As much research that I have done, I have found that there isn’t a checklist of questions to ask when looking for a sober living house.  I have put together the following questions that I feel are important to ask when first looking at a house:

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Deductibles, Maximum out of Pockets, Insurance…Oh My!

Insurance is confusing and trying to find services for addiction that accepts insurance is complicated.  Oh sure, it’s accepted but typically is considered out-of-network which is more costly.  I educate my employees every year at open enrollment on how group insurance works and then I explain once again when they actually have to use it for something large and the bills start coming in.

With group insurance, there are “buckets” to fill.  The first bucket is the deductible bucket.  Typically expenses such as staying in the hospital, out-patient or in-patient surgeries, x-rays, MRI's and CAT scans start filling up this bucket.  Once this bucket is filled you are done paying for these things for the year.

The second bucket is your co-pay bucket.  Any doctor co-pays, prescription drug co-pays, urgent care co-pays fill this bucket.  Once the co-pay bucket is filled you are also done paying for these things for the year.

"Maximum out of Pocket" is the most you can be charged for during the year.  Most group plans go by the calendar year (January through December) but not all.  The Maximum out of Pocket is the deductible bucket plus the co-pay bucket added together.

Now, if you stay “in network”, your deductibles and co-pays are considerably less.  If you are “out of network” a lot of the time the deductibles are doubled.  Also, “in network” and “out of network” buckets are separate.  They do not combine.  So, if a facility accepts insurance, make sure you understand if they are filing the insurance in-network or out-of-network.  This has nothing to do with in-state or out-of-state.

Sometimes, calling your insurance company is a helpful first step as they can provide the names and contact information of facilities that are in the network.  Insurance is a complicated world and I believe it will continue to befuddle people for years to come.