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Sophie Solmini: “Heal at Home is a resource, and you should use it”

Tell people how you feel. It is if not the most important thing to me, communicating your emotion with the people around you. Do not assume that your partner, loved ones or colleague feel the same way as you do. Everyone experiences fear or uncertainty in a different way and there is no good or […]

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Tell people how you feel. It is if not the most important thing to me, communicating your emotion with the people around you. Do not assume that your partner, loved ones or colleague feel the same way as you do. Everyone experiences fear or uncertainty in a different way and there is no good or bad way there is only a way.


As a part of my series about the the things we can do to develop serenity and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sophie Solmini.

Sophie is an Internationally Certified Alcohol and Drug Counsellor (ICADC) by training who strives to support people with substance abuse issues and unhealthy coping behaviors. Sophie helps them redefine their relationships with food, alcohol and drugs. Sophie is passionate about providing timely access to the highest quality of evidence-based care to patients. Sophie developed [email protected] as an online counseling program with certified addiction counselors to help people control their drinking with actionable weekly items and online counseling in a judgement-free manner.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

I am the child of two alcoholic parents. My dad died at the age of 42 and my mom died at the age of 67. I remember my dad coming back home drunk and throwing the dishes on the floor. I was only three years old. My mom also was having some “episodes” but we were saying that she was just too stressed, she had an alcohol induced cancer and died with a bottle of beer beside her. I know what alcohol does to a family and how it creates chaos and despair. I didn’t think about this as a career path. This career path chose me.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

I was ashamed of my family and thought we were the only ones like this. I was under the impression that I had the worst parents. But I quickly realized that wasn’t true, and that I wasn’t the only one going through this. They were just suffering and hurting, and that is what I learned throughout my work as an addiction counselor.

What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?

Don’t take things too personally and don’t try too hard to save people. I think it is important to recognize our own boundaries and learn to practice self care. We see and hear so many traumatic experiences that it is sometimes hard to disconnect, but it’s vital. In order to thrive you must be emotionally stable and work through your own issues.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

One book in particular had an impact on me: “The Happiness Trap” and it talks about acceptance.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious just from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have only heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to develop serenity during such uncertain times? Can you please share a story or example for each.

I think the number one step is to stay present. It is not necessary to think about the future because this is something that we can not control.

Avoid browsing on the internet and disconnect a bit from social media. That is the number one mistake that people do is to “hoard” information. That creates stress and can be overwhelming.

Tell people how you feel. It is if not the most important thing to me, communicating your emotion with the people around you. Do not assume that your partner, loved ones or colleague feel the same way as you do. Everyone experiences fear or uncertainty in a different way and there is no good or bad way there is only a way.

Get support.

Balance your diet, develop a new routine, and try to get as much exercise as possible

Of course, for people who are struggling with these tough feelings and may be turning to alcohol to relax/disconnect/soothe, we are working with these folks through Heal at Home.

Especially during COVID, individuals may not have access to the support they need such as going to a support meeting, going to the gym, gathering with friends, etc. Heal at Home offers:

  • Case management, in addition to therapy
  • This is 1:1 support and a great resource to track progress
  • We discuss and identify activities that can be helpful to mental health, such as routines, exercise, etc
  • We also discuss and problem solve through issues specifically pertaining to COVID that exacerbate these challenging feelings, such as
  • Being “stuck” at home with no outlet for support
  • Not having the opportunity to go to the local bar with friends to unwind and socialize
  • How to handle being in the same space as your partner and/or kids
  • How to communicate needs
  • How to talk about drinking habits
  • How to find drinking triggers at home

From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

  • It’s successful when everyone is involved — alcohol use/addiction is a family disease — Make sure everyone is aware
  • As a case manager, Heal at Home offers a family session — Sophie acts as a facilitator between the client and their family:
  • Explain what will happen and what the expectations are
  • Ensure everyone is on the same page
  • Make it OK to drink — there is no secrecy
  • It has to be open — no secrecy –
  • For families who want to be involved:
  • Read books to educate themselves about the disease of addiction — lots of material that Sophie recommends
  • Ask the person if they need help — make sure there is open communication about this
  • The family is not a caregiver/trained to help — they can only support
  • But the family has to work on their own struggles to accept it
  • When there is no progress — it’s easy to go back to blame, shame, frustration, etc patterns
  • In order to avoid this — educate and seek support
  • The family should talk to someone as well — church, therapy, friends and family, — it’s important to open it up to remove the stigma and shame that surrounds the situation

What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?

Heal at Home is a resource, and you should use it.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

It’s going to be bad, before it gets better

You are going to be stressed and struggle but you will get through it.

Forward motion is important.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

My movement would be to remove the stigma and shame around alcohol use and addiction. Making these conversations more mainstream and building more community resources is critical.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

https://www.instagram.com/healathome/

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

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