Recording of Radio Show

 

Alright already.  I finally got it together and posted this stuff correctly.  I did have to cut it into two roughly equal parts as the original mp3 was over 50.  I apologize profusely for any confusion and consternation I may have caused earlier.

First 1/2 of interview

2nd 1/2 of interview

And, if you are interested, or simply a glutton for punishment, you can hear me again on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 from 2-3:00 PM by clicking on the link below.

Listen to KABF, 88.3, LIVE

Marketing Trips

Over the past several months, I have been making weekly marketing trips to drug and alcohol treatment centers, drug testing facilities, truck stops and trucking companies in the area.  So far, I have not been “shown the door” by anyone.  There have been a few places where the positive mood and attitude was infectious and almost intoxicating; maybe they were piping in extra oxygen.

What I have found has been that people here are really quite friendly, even when I am temporarily disrupting their day to day activities.

I really appreciate each of the folks that have taken the time to teach me more about their business, especially some of the logistics companies.  I was in shock and awe at some of the technology being used and impressed with the professionalism and friendliness of most everyone that I have met.

New Credential

I just got another credential today, an MAC, or Master Addiction Counselor, from the National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals.

Look (listen) for me on Wednesday, March 30 from 2-3:00 on KABF 88.3.

Click to go to the KABF website where you can listen live. 

IMG_0127

This photo is actually from our spring break trip to Florida.  Sanibel at Sunset.

I will be on the radio again in March.

I just spoke with John Sarna, with 88.3 KABF’s show “It Could Be You” and set a date for another on-air interview, March 30, 2016 from 2-3:00 PM.  The format is part presentation, part discussion and part call-in.  If you type in:  http://www.kabf.org and click on the “Listen Live” link, you can hear it anywhere in the world.

I came up with a short list of topics that I would like to touch on, including the role of substance use in crime, symptoms of sobriety, and meeting challenges.  There are a few others; but, I think we will find plenty to talk about.

So far, my practice has been going well.  I have visited with a number of referral sources and treatment centers and been well received.  I have yet to be kicked out of anyone’s office and nobody has tried to eat me.

I will post a link to that show when I get it posted.  I have asked for a recording of the one I did earlier this month and will post it as soon as I am able.

DOT SAP Evaluations

One of the areas of my business where I have seen some growth is providing DOT/SAP evaluations.  Quite simply it works like this:

  1.  A person in a safety-sensitive position has a positive drug screen.
  2. They are removed from that position by their employer, fired or suspended.
  3. They are then referred to a person known as a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) for an evaluation.
  4. The evaluation includes an assessment, several screening instruments, developing a treatment plan and referral to a service provider.  At a minimum, a person that violates a substance abuse rule must complete an educational program, usually 9-12 hours in length.
  5. After the client has completed the required program, they are re-evaluated to determine the need, if any, for further services.  At this point a final evaluation is made and a specific recommendation for a testing schedule is made to the employer.

Anyhow, I really like doing these evaluations.  It is kind of like getting a survey done on a boat or a pre-purchase  inspection done on a house in that the person making the assessment is not the person, or agency, providing the service or making the repair.

Tags:  SAP, DOT, Evaluation, Assessment, Huntsville, Madison, Substance Abuse, Counseling, FMCSA, Rule Violation

Reviewing the Situation

A month into my own business and I am just beginning to be profitable.  I have paid the rent for February and have already had paying customers this month.  The mixture of excitement and terror about making my own way is nearly an addiction of it’s own.

Most of the business I have had so far has come from my online presence and advertising.  When I started laying the groundwork for this venture in November and December, I got myself this website, a facebook account and gmail.  I already had a linked-in page; but, had not done much with it.

I figured out that whenever I post so much as a photograph, I need to tag it with something related to my business using a number of key words such as counselor, substance abuse, North Little Rock.  There is some sort of algorithm that is used to figure out which posts get put on top.  Some of it has to do with the number of views; but, some of it is promoted by meeting certain criteria.

One thing that I need to do is make a youtube video that promotes my business.  I have been told that I have a face for radio, so I may use my daughter’s stuffed animals as prospective clients seeking services.

Anyway, that’s about all for now.  I have to get back to actual work so that I can keep this thing going.

 

 

 

Hours, Contact Information, Etc.

I am generally available most weekdays from 9 to 5.  If you need another time or day, just contact me and we will figure something out.

I try to never answer the phone when I am doing something important such as driving, talking with a client, or eating dinner.  If you get my voicemail, leave a message and I will do my best to get back to you as soon as i can.

Texting or email in o.k. for setting or changing appointments; but, i will not be discussing clinical issues via text or email.

All that said, it is easiest to reach me by calling:  (256) 885-5193

My email address is: christopherhgerhart@gmail.com

The 4 L’s

There is a brief diagnostic tool that I use with many clients that are questioning if they have a problem with their use of substances.  The short answer for me has almost always been if it causes a problem when you do it, or when you don’t, then it’s a problem.  This model goes a bit deeper and can also help to shape a treatment plan and even establish some concrete goals to address early on, and later, in the therapeutic process.

Anyway, it is “The Four L’s” Liver, Lover, Livelihood and Legal.  These are four main areas that are usually affected by an individual’s use of a substance, combination of substances, behavior(s), etc.   When there are impacts in these areas related to a specific behavior, then that behavior is often the problem*.  That is not to say that there are not difficulties in these areas due to other factors such as the human condition, the economy, weather, acts of God…..

Liver, or any physical complication, is sometimes one of the easiest to diagnose.  When a man in his early 30’s who drinks heavily and frequently is diagnosed with cirrhosis, this is an obvious one.  There are more, and less, subtle symptoms to consider.  An assault, on either side of it, is frequently painful and damaging.  From personal excessive drinking experience, in the last several circumstances where I was part of an a## whipping, I provided at least 80% of the a## that got whipped.   This may also show up in more extreme cases as malnutrition, obesity and other health issues.  An intoxicated person is far more likely to be involved in a car crash, an assault, a domestic battery or any other form of violence than someone who is sober.  Think about the crazy, stupid things that people will eat just before going to sleep it off and it is no wonder that there are significant health problems.

This brings us to lover, or any interpersonal relationship, that has been negatively impacted by substance use.  Like the medical area, this may be overt such as divorce, loss of child custody, or lack of positive, pro-social connections.  Or, it may be more covert and even aggravating.  The client may not drink unless his wife nags him about his drinking, so he provokes her to nag him so that he can drink.  When a client tells me “Everybody drinks (smokes, gets high, etc.)” that tells me that his worldview is limited to those people that do what he does, effectively normalizing his level, frequency and intensity of drug or alcohol use.  If the only place where a person has fun with other people is at a bar, then not drinking is going to be a really hard sell.

Livelihood, or employment, the means of making a living are so important in our culture that in many cases it is one of the last bastions to fall to addiction.  There is so much ego and identity tied up in one’s profession that it is often held on to as a means of denial.  Just try asking someone in line at the grocery store, church, or gym “What do you do?”  Chances are that they will respond with their profession.  Most of us spend more than 25% of our week actually doing our jobs and countless hours commuting, preparing and recuperating.  Having a career is also a way of providing funding for substance abuse, while a mechanism for denial of the problems caused, or aggravated by, the use of a substance.  Losing a job is fairly easy to quantify; however, being passed over for a promotion, not being able to work in certain professions and poor performance are sometimes overlooked.  I had a client that could not pass a simple urine drug screen that would have given him a promotion along with a 75% increase in his salary, because he was unable, or unwilling, to stop smoking cannabis.  Drug problem?  You better believe it.

Legal problems are one of the areas where substance abuse problems become abundantly apparent.  Judges, as do police, probation and parole officers, have a way of bringing to someone’s attention the error of their ways.    A single, lifetime, DWI arrest could be a mistake; several probably are not.  Drug possession is almost always illegal, as is distributing medications without a prescription.  These are criminal charges; but, also consider the civil matters that are at stake with a substance use disorder.  Would the client be going through a divorce, child custody issue, dispute with a neighbor if they were not intoxicated?  This is not to imply that these circumstances are not always the result of drinking or drug use; however, if drinking or drug use is the cause, or impairs the amicable resolution of these issues, then the using is at least part, if not the only part, of the problem.

Finally, these issues intertwine and overlap, overshadowing one another.  For instance, if a person gets a DWI arrest, there is an obvious legal issue.  There will be a significant financial issue for fines, fees and lawyering.  Even a first DWI can run into the thousands of dollars.  Their job may be in peril, especially if they missed days from work due to jail or court.   Their status as an employee that represents their company may be compromised.  Some professions, such as truck drivers, physicians and pilots, have specific penalties for substance-related infractions.   The impact a night in jail has for someone’s status as a parent is incalculable.  As mature, responsible adults, we are rightfully expected to be someone who can be trusted, respected and accountable.   Not showing up for supper, a child’s ball game or other social commitment because of an arrest is inexcusable and injurious to a relationship.  Finally, jail is a bad place to be physically.  The client may find himself sleeping on the floor, either there or at home, neither of which is all that attractive or pleasant.

*Note:  I seldom like to use the word “problem.”  I prefer to use the terms situation, challenge or circumstance because I can turn one of them into a problem just by sprinkling a little dope or liquor on top of it.  Similarly, by staying sober, they can become accomplishments, trials and points of growth.