Program DirectorNew England“Working at Phoenix House gives me the opportunity to help people with serious challenges to achieve long-term sobriety and to cope with the stresses associated with substance abuse and mental health issues.”
When Kristin Kretchman was working in home health care, she often saw substance abuse in the families of the people she cared for. Then she experienced the tragedy of addiction firsthand when a family member struggled with substance abuse; so when she saw a position open at Phoenix House, she was moved to give back to the field of addiction treatment.
Kristin, who is certified in addiction nursing, is now Program Director of the Detoxification and Extended Stay Program at Phoenix House in Exeter, Rhode Island. Before coming to Phoenix House, she worked at Maxim Healthcare Services, a home health care agency where she eventually took responsibility for the clinical operations of the agency as Director of Clinical Services. She then worked as a director at a senior living facility before seeing an opening at Phoenix House, where she now uses her nursing expertise to ease withdrawal symptoms and stabilize patients going through addiction withdrawals.
When she walked into the Phoenix House facility, “It was almost like walking into a home,” Kristin said. She loves to be there for clients during a pivotal moment of stabilization: “There’s such a small window of opportunity that you must seize as a nurse, as a clinical provider. If you seize and it works, if you give them an opportunity to regain their life back, then it’s that warm feeling you get inside when you get that phone call weeks or months later: ‘I’ve been sober two weeks because of you,’ or ‘I’ve been sober five years.’”
Phoenix House trains its medical staff to be able to gauge where a client is on the recovery journey and the services they need to help them succeed. This includes mental health services, medications like anti-psychotics and anti-depressants, and wraparound services that are available to clients undergoing outpatient treatment and aftercare. From the moment a client walks in the doors of Phoenix House for the detox program, Kristin and her nurses are asking, “What do you want to do for aftercare?” Kristin said they impress on clients that detox isn’t a fix for addiction: “You have to learn and want to be sober. You have to learn how to live sober.”
Since coming to Phoenix House in 2007, Kristin has helped hundreds of people who were at a low point in life. That’s her motivation for coming to work and continuing to give back to the treatment community: “To see them regain a sense of self, to see the client not be a victim to that substance—it’s so pivotal.”