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Success Stories

WPHP participants are the true experts on our program and have volunteered to share their experience with WPHP. Read on for stories from the health professionals, their employers and loved ones!

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“WPHP has made all the difference and given me my life back.”

– WPHP Physician Participant

Reflecting on My WPHP Experience

“Today is my last day under contract with WPHP and the experience has been as positive as possible. I was treated well. The staff was/is kind and responsive. I will be forever grateful. I would not equate it with a ride at Disney, but it did for me what I needed.

I had no idea how sick I was nor how much I distorted my family. Substance abuse is truly a household disease. With honesty and work, I was lucky enough to repair the relations most important to me. I will never take that for granted.”

– WPHP Physician Participant

To Hell and Back, Down, but not Out

“What happened to me was totally unimaginable, yet I’ve made a complete recovery and resumed my medical career. It’s made me stronger and wiser. I’m here to tell you my story. I had a full-time position in a group practice at a community hospital. I became constantly stressed and irritable, and I stopped sleeping. I had too much on my plate (on-call too many days, administrative duties, family obligations, financial obligations, etc.). It spiraled out of control and I became suicidal and attempted suicide. This was my ‘burn out.’

“Fortunately, I did not succeed. I was treated as an inpatient at several hospitals in different states. Eventually, I got better after ECT treatments. The ECT treatments gave me my life back. WPHP was involved throughout my treatment and recovery process. Now, I have resumed a medical career in a slightly different field, with much less stress and fewer administrative duties and no more call obligations. I’m much happier as a result, and everyday I count my blessings at a second chance at life. I’m living proof that there’s life after ‘burn-out.'”

– WPHP Physician Participant

Journey of Struggles but with a Light at the End of the Tunnel

“I was referred to the Washington Physician’s Health Program (WPHP) through my work due to health issues, which prevented me from performing at my best level. Initially, I did not have much knowledge around how the process works and was very nervous about the length of time this will take. Once I met the WPHP team during the first interview, things were clearer and everyone was very receptive and caring. The team was considerate and allowed me to participate in the treatment program of my choice. I realized that they all wanted the best for me and this is what provided reassurance for me to enter the process of treatment feeling more comfortable.

“During the time I was away for my treatment, the WPHP team worked with me and my treatment team throughout the course of it, making sure that I got the appropriate treatment. They were flexible and made the time to accommodate me in their schedule for the phone encounters during my treatment. It was a smooth transition from my initial meeting with WPHP to entering treatment and finishing treatment, followed by continued monthly to every three months face to face encounters. Since I was not residing close to the main WPHP office in Seattle, the team made it easier for me by giving me the option to do Skype interviews so that I did not have to travel a long distance. What I really appreciated about the interviews was the team’s wholesome approach to the client as a person rather than just a problem-focused approach. This made it easier for me to communicate and share my progress with them.

“I am grateful to have gone through the process of treatment with the assistance of and coordination from WPHP, and to have gained my health back. I am doing much better and look forward to what the future has to offer.

Thank you, WPHP.”

– WPHP Physician Participant

My Introduction to the Washington Physicians Health Program

“My introduction to the Washington Physicians Health Program took place in the Fall of 2018 after a strenuous year of health problems leading to open heart surgery. An examination revealed that a cognitive evaluation and monitoring were recommended.

“This whole process was quite a challenge to my ego. The testing process was completed, and I was allowed to practice with check-in sessions and monitoring by my colleagues. From the start, the professionals at WPHP were empathetic and reassuring I felt their support. They emphasized they were there for me and were available. My options were clarified, and they honored the highest standards of wanting me to succeed and ensuring that my care of patients would not be compromised.

“I can wholeheartedly recommend this organization and would be more than happy to talk to anyone who is under their care. We are blessed by this team!”

– WPHP Physician Participant

Expressing Gratitude

“Since 2009, I have had a problem with alcoholism. I tried to manage my recovery by myself, but was unsuccessful. Through the years, there were multiple attempts by WPHP to help me, but I remained resistant. Recently, through consultation with WPHP and following their recommendations, I have finally been able to achieve and maintain sobriety. I am extremely happy with my life now, and I credit WPHP with playing a critical role in helping me achieve it. I will have to say that throughout my relationship with them, I have always known that they had my best interests in mind, even though I resisted it.

“My first contact was in 2009. I did not agree with their recommendations, but did successfully complete the treatment program and maintained sobriety for over four years. Although I was not drinking, I did not pursue the recovery program they recommended. My first relapse was in 2013. I went to treatment. Some significant issues were uncovered that may have been contributing to my relapses. WPHP tried to guide me, and I continued to try to do it my way and was unsuccessful at maintaining my sobriety. I lost my license in 2015, and WPHP discontinued their formal relationship with me. However, they were willing to see me any time I initiated it. I struggled by myself, but it became clear that I would not be successful without their help. Since June of 2018 realizing my way was not working, I decided to make some of the changes they had recommended. WPHP has since met with me and helped me identify a rigorous program of recovery, and I feel it has saved my life. I have never been happier or more hopeful.

“Of course, I want nothing more than to be monitored by WPHP and on my way to getting my license back. It would also be very important to me if in some way I could help other physicians, if somehow by sharing my story it would help. Just saying thank you seems woefully inadequate, but thank you.”

– WPHP Physician Participant

A Reminder

“I am reminded daily of the blessings bestowed to us by WPHP. The old feelings of the group being a ‘monitor’ have been replaced by a feeling and knowledge that the advocacy is paramount. They are another tool in my recovery arsenal to help me stay clean.”

– WPHP Resident Physician

My Journey

“I have been a part of WPHP since 1992. It has been one of the best parts of my recovery. I have always felt supported, never punished, always on a path to recovery in chemical dependency, work, and family. After having two early relapses and two more treatment centers, I have had to learn to listen and accept guidance and turn over direction for my life. It works wonderfully!! WPHP has been a huge part of it. I would never hesitate to contact the staff if I had a need, and I recommend that anyone who needs help to contact WPHP for help.”

– WPHP Physician Participant

WPHP and Recovery have Helped Me ...

“The WPHP and recovery have helped me change my life in so many positive ways. I learned how to be myself and how to set appropriate boundaries, which will serve me will in my current and future career.”

– WPHP Participant

Ups and Downs

“My life was a mess when I was using and I didn’t really know it. I had no idea drugs and alcohol were the problem. When I first was referred to the WPHP, I had no idea who they were. I thought they might be related to law enforcement, so I was very reluctant, to be honest. Through the WPHP, I have learned a better way of life. I have learned how to deal with stressors and how to access the tools to help me when I need them. Life is so different today. It is good. Throughout all the ups and downs of life, I know I can deal with it and get through. I have so much gratitude and respect for the WPHP. Thank you!!!!”

– WPHP Physician Participant

Forever Grateful

“WPHP, as well as the program of AA, has not only let me practice medicine in a way that is more passionate and full of gratitude, but it has also restored relationships with my family. I will be forever grateful!”

– WPHP Physician Participant

What put Me at Risk

“What put me at greatest risk was not the stress of my job or my access to controlled substances. What put me at risk was a simple belief that the most wretched thing a person could be was incompetent. The rift between what my mind said things should be and the way they actually were was shameful to me. I said to myself, ‘You are lucky, you are successful, you should be happy.’ But I wasn’t, and so what did that say about me? Nothing good. I was no good and soon came to believe nothing was or ever would be and, somehow, I knew it was all my fault.

‘I came to a place where either my ego or I could survive but not both. I chose my ego and sought the end in what seemed the most painless way, a subtle slip into oblivion. Yet, some part of me must still have wanted to live, for I also created a chance that help would come, and it did. When I again had to choose between my ego or my life, inexplicably, I chose differently, and that one choice has changed everything.

“I then allowed myself to be guided by those who understood, by those who were once lost as I was. I had at last given up on the notion that I had the power to do everything all on my own. What they advised, though simple, was by no means easy. I would have to be honest about what I saw around me and within me, I would drag my shameful failings into the light, I would clean my house, I would accept my own humanity and be of maximal service to those around me.

“I was the problem in my life, I didn’t know what to do and I was ashamed by that beyond tolerating. The gift of course is that since I am the problem I am also the solution. I can change my actions and reactions, see my ego as the frightened part of myself which seeks to shelter and preserve me at the cost of my happiness and usefulness. I can see my fears as lies that I will not be adequate in the moments to come. I can rejoice that I no longer have to seek to control the universe and am free to grow in understanding and effectiveness.

“The only way out for me has been through: to face, process and evolve. The journey through is the only way I could possibly have gone from where I was to where I am. I have the WPHP to thank for showing me the way.

“The only path to real strength and healing has been the hard road of the examined lif,e and it has saved me, saved my family and saved my career. The work I continue to do in my program of recovery has made these things possible, but they are not my doing. I can only claim the work but not the fruits. They come from something else and they come in their own time and fashion if I have worked to create their possibility.”

– WPHP Physician Participant

WPHP in its Entirety Saved my Life...

“When I entered WPHP, my addiction had destroyed my health, my relationships, and my career. Signing up with WPHP initially was a last-ditch effort to try anything to stay sober. Not only did it help me maintain sobriety, it also  exceeded what I could have imagined by fostering a supportive environment where I learned to develop a lifestyle of recovery. Most importantly, WPHP gave me hope when I thought it was all lost. In groups, I was able to meet other physicians who began in similar situations to me and who were happily back at work, which gave me hope that recovery was possible. It was through numerous discussions with staff at WPHP that I discovered and started to see a potential future of my own. Through WPHP’s support and guidance, I have developed new friendships, healthy coping skills, and a structured pathway to safely return to medicine. WPHP is well organized, well connected, and remains true to its primary goal of helping rehabilitate impaired physicians so they can successfully and healthily return to the practice of medicine. During my time with WPHP, I found that if I was willing to put in the work to recover, WPHP was able to effectively and efficiently advocate on my behalf to help me achieve all of my goals. It has been a blessing and a true privilege to be part of WPHP and to have access to its wonderful resources.”

– WPHP Anesthesiologist Participant

Life-saving. Enriching in every conceivable way.
- WPHP Physician Participant

Stakeholder Stories

“I am chief personnel officer in a approximately 100 provider organization. I have contacted WPHP on a number of occasions regarding individual providers with personal challenges as well as to obtain general information on impairment from substances and physical/mental health concerns. My experience is that individual referrals are prompt, thorough and compassionate. It makes my life so much easier in determining the appropriate level of work for the individual. WPHP makes the decisions regarding monitoring and treatment then recommends work accommodations as needed. When I have a general question there is evidence based guidance with additional articles. I also appreciate the wellness program which focuses on prevention of issues that impair well-being. The healthcare professionals, their employers, and patients of Washington are fortunate to have such a wonderful state resource.”

-Chief Personnel Officer

Family Stories

Pause and Respond

“This year as I questioned all the things I could do with the weekend, I was thinking, ‘Well even if I just focus on the lovely cabin and delicious food, it’s worth the trip (I’m a homebody),’ I have been delighted with the changed attitude and willingness I’ve witnessed in others. I am grateful for how much this program has opened up my mind and my heart, though I could not imagine being any more emotional than I thought I was. Today, I believe I can choose not to react but to pause and respond in a way that feels right. With the awareness I’m gaining, I catch myself and try again. Thank you, WPHP, for your part in my journey.”

– WPHP Physician’s Significant Other

WPHP Saved My Life...

“WPHP saved my life and career, and I’m incredibly grateful to be a part of the program. My life is infinitely better and happier now. I owe everything to recovery and being part of the program.”

– WPHP Physician’s Significant Other