Third Wednesday of the month on FM 97.3 WZBG, we always get a conversation in with the folks at the McCall Behavioral Health Network. This time we’re going to be speaking with Joy Pandola. She’s chief clinical officer there. Good morning. Welcome to the show. Thanks, Dale. Nice to be with you. Glad to have you on the show. Glad to have you on the show.
And I guess you’ve been with McCall for a few years now, and your affiliation and association goes back years before that. Yes, yes. Maria and I co-chaired the Litchfield County Opiate Task Force when it was first started almost 10 years ago now. You know, it’s interesting. The topic we’re talking about today, about how someone who is having a problem with substance use disorder, about how they don’t have to get to so-called rock bottom before they can begin finding that way up. have to get to so-called rock bottom before they can begin finding that way up.
And it’s coincidental that that is our topic today because someone close to me has a relative in that situation. And I use that very term. And that was something that was kind of locked in. Oh, they haven’t hit rock bottom yet. But that’s a misnomer, isn’t it? It is. And you know, it’s very, very common to look at someone needing to hit that breaking point, right? look at someone needing to hit that breaking point, right, that rock bottom to go into treatment.
I think it’s a false narrative that’s been perpetuated a lot, particularly in the media. I mean, when you look at reality TV shows, when you look at movies, the way they depict somebody with addictions is typically that they lose virtually everything. They lose their health. They lose their relationships. They lose their finances. virtually everything. They lose their health, they lose their relationships, they lose their finances before they see the light, so to speak, and decide it’s time. Most people, in fact, enter treatment well before those circumstances happen, and there’s a lot of problematic things related to that whole myth. First of all, it has this, you know, sense of despair before you First of all, it has this, you know, sense of despair before you can enter treatment.
And that has to run its course, right? And that makes loved ones and family members feel really powerless over, you know, having the ability to impact, you know, this in any way and watch their loved ones suffer. That’s absolutely not the case, and I’ll talk a little bit later about what loved ones and family members actually have a tremendous impact on somebody’s decision to enter treatment. loved ones and family members actually have a tremendous impact on somebody’s decision to enter treatment. And you know the idea that you know it has to run its course, you know addictions are progressive. So you know you get more into those behavioral patterns. You have higher consequences.
There may be long-term chronic health conditions or you know impact on relationships. In fact addictions can be very well treated much earlier on In fact, addictions can be very well treated much earlier on and have really positive outcomes. And like I said, you know, the idea of loved ones feeling powerless, that is also, you know, kind of watching somebody suffer is just not necessary. And you know, people go into treatment, like I said, for a lot of reasons. It’s not even the primary reason people go into treatment, as a matter of fact, that they have to hit rock bottom. go into treatment, as a matter of fact, that they have to hit rock bottom.
I’ve had a lot of conversations with folks from McCollin. You keyed on a couple of important things. One is that communication, how key that is to helping that person find that way forward. And like you said, it doesn’t have to be at rock bottom before that actually occurs. And the other thing about addiction is different people get to that place where they’re ready to accept treatment and make those changes than others. where they’re ready to accept treatment and make those changes than others. This is a highly individualized disorder and the treatment is highly individualized as well. So all of these things are in play and there isn’t that, like you said, that reset point, that default point at rock bottom before we begin to find our way forward.
No, as a matter of fact, the number one reason why people go into treatment is they have one adverse reaction or experience with a substance. into treatment is they have one adverse reaction or experience with a substance. That could get, you know, that could be something from getting really sick after you know a night of partying to, you know, losing a job. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. It could be just one thing. That’s most of the time. The second most important reason people go into treatment is if they become parents. So it’s actually because they’ve reprioritized and want to make that So it’s actually because they’ve reprioritized and want to make that decision going forward. One thing that also I think is not common to consider is you don’t have to have all the answers.
You don’t even have to be sure that you want to make a change to go into treatment. There are many stages of changes. When you think of any big life change that you make, you don’t all of a sudden, yes, to make, you don’t all of a sudden, yes, I’m going to do it and I’m 100% committed to this decision and move forward. There’s a lot of back and forth, right? There’s a lot of pros and cons. That’s a perfect time to come to McCall and meet with a clinician who can identify, you know, what are your motivations? What goals do you actually have?
And the steps and skill building that you need to get there. So one of the top five reasons actually people going into treatment is, or into recovery, is treatment. So somebody told them to go. They didn’t necessarily make that decision on their own. And a mandate could come from anywhere. It could come from a significant other. It could come from the legal system. It could come from work. It could come from someone.
A lot of people don’t make the decision to change until they’re actually in treatment and start identifying really what the value is to that. until they’re actually in treatment and start identifying really what the value is to that. So that’s an important thing too. It’s scary to make that decision where you’ve relied on a coping strategy for so long. So I think loved ones and people who are struggling with substances, it’s important things to understand is that you could come in ready or not. that you could come in ready or not. And you don’t have to come in with, like you said, you don’t have to come in with a rock solid plan.
This is exactly the way forward and you’re gonna begin that now. That this is something that takes place gradually. Because like any good plan, you gotta plan your work and then work your plan. Right. For loved ones who have someone who is battling this, just some ways in which, again, taking away that defeatist attitude of, well, they’re not at rock bottom yet, there’s nothing I can do.
which again taking away that defeatist attitude of well they’re not at rock bottom yet there’s nothing I can do. When you know you’ve got someone who is in the throes of a substance use disorder ways in which they can help toward a positive outcome. And I get asked all the time by loved ones and family members what what they can do and what I tell them is please be open, open, honest, direct, and compassionate with that loved one about how their substance use is impacting them. That is the most powerful thing that you can do, is let them know that with loving kindness what the impact has and what your concern is. I read, and this is a perfect example of this, I read a remembrance for the actress Angela I read a remembrance for the actress Angela Lansbury.
She died last month. And there was a quote from the playwright Terrence McNally, how in 1980 his career completely changed when he was at a birthday party for Stephen Sondheim. And he had just spilled a drink on Lauren Bacall. And in the corner, Angela… A lot of name dropping here. Yeah, yeah. This was in the article. This was in the article. And Angela Ansberry was sitting in the corner and she kind of waved him over.
And he said, she said in the most loving, kind way this, Terrence, I don’t know you very well at all, but it really bothers me that every time I see you, you’re drunk. And he said the next day, he went to his first AA meeting and within a year, he was in treatment and had stopped drinking. his first AA meeting and within a year he was in treatment and had stopped drinking. And she was an acquaintance, but he revered her and had such a love for her and value for her that that was the difference.
So you never know. Never undervalue your impact. Absolutely. Joy Pendola is our guest this time, Chief Clinical Officer with the McCall Behavioral Health Network. with the McCall Behavioral Health Network. We are out of time, but if you had any final closing thoughts, I want to give you a chance to share those now. Like I said, you don’t have to be fully committed or ready to go into treatment. If a loved one is struggling, tell them how you feel and support them as best you can.
And it is never too soon, and it’s never too late. Excellent. Joy, thank you for being our guest. Thank you. Excellent. Joy, thank you for being our guest. Thank you. Once a month we have a visit with the folks from the McCall Behavioral Health Network here on FM 97.3 WZBG. Joy Pendola, our guest this time. At 8.31 it’s back to the newsroom.