In 2018 I was at my wits end.

My 19 year old granddaughter was living in active addiction to meth and opioids.

We watched as she wasted away and withdrew from her family. We did everything we could think of to help. Nothing worked. We lived every day knowing it could be the day we got that call…the one telling us it was her last day alive. During rare times of contact, we told her all she had to do is say she was done and wanted help, and we would make it happen.

Finally, that day came! She’d had enough and wanted treatment.

We spent hours calling treatment centers to see who accepted her private insurance, could treat her condition, and had a bed available. But just when we thought we’d found the solution, we learned there would be a THREE business day pre-authorization period BEFORE she could be admitted. 

Hours had gone by and my granddaughter was going through withdrawal. She was crawling out of her skin, suffering from paranoia and shaking uncontrollably. She couldn’t face three days of that without help, and so she left.

Our hearts broke. We’d lost our window of opportunity. Paperwork kept us from helping this person we love so much.  

Here’s what I’ve learned, loving someone who needs help in this broken system:

#1: There’s no truth to the popular belief that ‘if they want help they can just get it’.

#2: If someone wants help, and they don’t have people fighting for them, it’s nearly impossible to navigate the system.

#3: If someone is unable to get help during their window of willingness, you may NEVER get another chance.

Fortunately, there is more to the story. Last year, WRA led the charge on HB 2642, otherwise known as “No Wrong Door.”

Thanks to WRA’s courageous advocates, collaborations such as the Reimagine Recovery Summit, and events like Recovery Action Day we secured unanimous passage of this legislation to allow same-day access to detox and inpatient addiction treatment. The bill prohibits health carriers from imposing burdensome pre-authorization requirements for inpatient care, which delay treatment by weeks or months.

This critical piece of legislation was able to pass, thanks to the recognition that if we fail to provide people treatment when they’re ready for help, we may never have a second chance. And when we do provide people with access to quality care in their window of willingness, people recover. Thanks to HB 2642, our loved ones will face fewer barriers to the treatment they need.

I’m thrilled to report that there is more to our family’s story, as well.

My daughter and I made a pact. The next time she asked for help, we got in the car and drove her to the nearest treatment center we knew took her insurance and could treat her. We called on our way and told them we would be waiting in their lobby until they admitted her. We were not letting her go this time.

My granddaughter will turn 21 this year. She’s not only alive, she’s thriving! She has been in recovery for almost 2 years now, working two jobs and going to college.

I’m so proud of her. And I’m proud of being part of WRA, an organization that is elevating the voices of the recovery community, and making sure our experiences shape public policy.

Please join me in supporting WRA, so we can put Recovery First for all Washingtonians!

Paulette Chaussee

Go BIG and GiveBIG for Advocacy!

Thank you for being part of the Washington Recovery Alliance community! Thanks to your support, we’re making great progress through legislation like the No Wrong Door Act.

But we can’t rest.

New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that drug overdoses deaths in the U.S. are now at their highest level ever, soaring to more than 81,000 in the 12 month period between June 2019 and June 2020. It has never been more urgent to find solutions that center the recovery community.

You can help! This May, we invite you to join us in mobilizing our community around our vision of Recovery for All.

On May 4 and 5, Washington Recovery Alliance will be participating in GiveBIG for the very first time! Funds raised through these community giving days will:

  • Make sure those with lived experience are at the table when decisions are being made, through activities like WRA’s Recovery Advocacy Day in February.
  • Support WRA’s efforts to reduce stigma around seeking help, through efforts like Recovery Month in September.
  • Strengthen the recovery community through events like the upcoming Re-Imagine Recovery Summit in June.

Make a contribution towards WRA through GiveBIG today!

Every gift matters, and no gift is too small. Starting today, contributions made through May 5, 2021 will count towards our GiveBIG campaign.