Families First Family: Meet Katie Butler

Published: December 12, 2017

At Families First, we provide a wide array of substance abuse treatment and support services—from education programs for individuals experiencing the first signs of a problem, to intensive outpatient programs for those experiencing significant substance abuse or dependence problems.

Per a paper published by the IUPUI Center for Health Policy, substance use is a significant public health problem in the United States. National statistics show that in 2015, over 139 million US residents ages 12 and older reported drinking alcohol in the past month and nearly half of them (67 million) engaged in binge drinking. 27 million Americans used some type of illicit drug, including nonmedical use of prescription drugs. Indiana counted 1,245 fatal drug overdoses in 2015, representing an age-adjusted mortality rate of 19.5 deaths per 100,000 Hoosiers, placing the state 17th in the nation for drug overdose fatalities.

With statistics like these, we value all the full and part-time staff members making our Chemical Dependency (CD) program possible. As the CD supervisor, Katie Butler manages a total of nine staff members; a combination of counselors and recovery coaches. Katie joined Families First eight years ago, her first position right out of graduate school at IUPUI! She started as a member of the Home-based team and then, wanting to experience another side of the agency, she transitioned to the Chemical Dependency team.

“if I wasn’t doing this I would have gone into book publishing,” shared Katie, “I majored in English at IU-Bloomington and I thought that the publishing world was the next step.”

Lucky for us she veered into social services!

No two days are the same for Katie. Walk-in assessments, after-care groups, out-patient courses, staff meetings and 1:1 check-ins are just some of the things that happen during the week. With such a busy role, self-care is very important. For Katie that means making time for hobbies she enjoys like reading, seeing live music, working out, and seeking the support of understanding family and friends.

Addiction is complicated and often misunderstood. In her role, Katie is often helping people unlearn myths about addiction and recovery. Namely that:

• Addiction is not discerning. It can affect anyone, of any age, of any socioeconomic status, of any race

• Recovery does not end. It will always be an ongoing process

• Forcing someone into treatment makes recovery that much more difficult. Start small and be supportive

Having been at Families First for eight years, Katie has probably racked up some impressive PTO. Where would she want to go if she could go anywhere in the word? Katie answered this question quickly.

“Ireland! I went there during college for study abroad and I would love to go back.”

Maybe one day self-care for Katie will be a plane ticket to Ireland, she deserves it!