Keith West Finds Renewed Optimism through MAT Program

Marcus Berry, left, Keith West, center, and Monarch Medical Director Dr. Robert McHale, right

Monarch person supported Keith West, center, is shown here with a few of the Monarch staff through the CCBHC who are supporting his recovery. He is grateful for the care he receives from Addiction Peer Coordinator Marcus Berry, left, and Medical Director Dr. Robert McHale.

Keith West has a new outlook on life. He wakes up optimistic at what each new day holds.

A dependence on a controlled substance in combination with family health problems, the isolation of the pandemic and loss of employment made a positive outlook virtually impossible. He tried many times to pursue recovery.

Choices made while abusing drugs have cost him things he holds precious: custody of his young daughter, driving a car where he wants to go, his health.

Through determination, motivation and hard work to pursue recovery, Keith is traveling a new path. After a visit to his home during a welfare check for his child, the North Carolina Department of Social Services suggested that he call Monarch for help.

Monarch Support Team Helping with Recovery

Keith did reach out and today he is under the care of Monarch’s Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) in Albemarle and regularly sees Dr. Robert McHale, M.D., M.Sc., DFAPA, ABPM, FASAM, medical director for the CCBHC and Long-Term Services and Supports; Marcus Berry, addiction peer coordinator; Brittany Cowan, licensed clinical addition specialist; and Debbie Miller, RN, nurse case manager. He participates in Monarch’s Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), which is the use of medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies to treat opioid use.

“I am thankful every day I can wake up and wake up with a positive attitude and enjoy life. Before when I would wake up, I dreaded the day. Now, I wake up and my whole mentality about life has changed based on all the classes and work that I have done. I love life. I look forward to life,” he says of his renewed outlook.

Obstacles Are Part of Recovery

However, Keith knows that obstacles can be part of recovery and he plans on overcoming what may be in his way. That can include resolving the aftermath of decisions made while impaired. Two debilitating car accidents have left him using a cane at the age of 41. He has a surgery coming up that will help heal his leg that was severely injured in one of the accidents.

He can no longer run with his 4-year-old daughter on the playground during their visits but he can watch her. He is grateful for that and many other blessings in his life.

Marcus was paired with Keith as a peer support specialist (PSS), a mental health professional with lived experience and who has gone through similar situations. In simple terms, the PSS can offer hope and reinforce the coping skills needed for recovery through sharing their own personal struggles.

Keith connected with Marcus after completing Monarch’s Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient Program (SAIOP), a three-month program of intense classes to help someone seeking recovery from a substance use disorder (SUD). SAIOP helped him continue his recovery after completing inpatient substance abuse treatment through another community agency. Both programs have helped Keith with his sobriety as well as renew his optimistic attitude.

Marcus knows how sharing his personal experience, as he does with Keith, can help someone in recovery. “Once you build a rapport, they open up and all you have to do is listen and share some of your own story. I tell them about my past experience. I was homeless, incarcerated and where I am at now. I tell them one day at a time that is all it is,” he affirms.

A Brighter Future Unfolds

Dr. McHale says part of a person’s recovery includes coping with life’s adversity in a healthy way. “You have gained perspective and look at the bigger picture on what you want to accomplish,” he tells Keith. “From my point of view, I care about the solutions. I want to know how we solve it because some people dwell on the past. Accept who you are, what you are and where you are. This is the breakthrough you needed as a person.” Keith nods in agreement as he listens intently.

Keith has a strong desire to give back and offer others hope as has been done for him. Marcus urges him to think about being a peer support specialist and he agrees to consider it.

He is already paying it forward. Keith ran into a friend who asked him how he has pursued recovery. He enthusiastically told him about Monarch’s recovery program and how the staff is helping him take control of his life. That person listened to what Keith had to say and is now receiving substance use disorder treatment from Monarch. “I have hope for the future. I take this experience and try to give to other people,” he shares.

For information about the CCBHC’s SAIOP or MAT services, please visit here or call (866) 272-7826.

Posted on: Tuesday June 28, 2022