‘Recovery can look a million different ways’

[Allina Newsroom, September 07, 2023] J Gold, MSW, LGSW, LADC is a licensed graduate social worker and a licensed alcohol and drug counselor who delivers care through Allina Health’s virtual addiction therapy. Gold’s goal is to make mental health and addiction services more accessible to everyone.



“A popular social work phrase is ‘meet the client where they’re at,’ and I really take that to heart,” said Gold whose pronouns are they/them/theirs.

As the collective public continues to recover from the social changes that came with the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an increased need for mental health and addiction services. In 2021, Minnesota had one of the highest binge-drinking rates in the nation, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that fentanyl-related overdose deaths tripled between 2016 and 2021.

Accessible care
“So often, problematic substance use is an unhealthy coping skill that people use when life is hard,” Gold said. “People deserve mental health care that is approachable and easy to access. If we don’t have to make people drive a half an hour each way to talk to a therapist, we shouldn’t.”

According to the state of Minnesota, 80% of the counties in the state have a shortage of mental health workers. One of the reasons Gold chose to practice at Allina Health is because of the virtual mental health care option, which gives a person anywhere in the state the ability to easily access care. Gold and their team also work from a harm reduction perspective, meaning there is no assumption that a patient has to be abstinent from substances to talk to them and begin treatment.

“You get to decide what your recovery looks like, and it is our responsibility as providers to respect that and to support that,” said Gold. “The entry point to care doesn’t have to be about you going to detox.”

Patient-centered care
Respecting who the person is, their lived experience and their need is at the core of Gold’s philosophy. “As a queer and trans provider, it’s important to me that patients feel like their identities are reflected in their providers,” said Gold. “There is inherent value in shared cultural understanding between the provider and the patient.”

No shame
Gold says there is no shame in the journey to recovery. “I tell my patients that my catch phrase is shame has never gotten anybody sober,” Gold said. “Recovery can look a million different ways. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Different people need different things, and we must be able to provide different things if we are going to care for so many different people.”

Learn more about J Gold
Learn more about the virtual clinic
Call 866-603-0016 to make an appointment

Posted on September 07, 2023 in Mercy Hospital Mercy HospitalAddiction

Share this article