Making the First Call: A letter from the Intake Coordinator

 “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Lao Tzu lived over 2000 years ago, but his quote still rings true today for anyone facing a journey ahead.  The simple and profound wisdom of this saying prompted me to add it to my email signature the first week I became an Intake Coordinator. Many of us hold back from making that first step towards our dreams, goals, or recovery. The road seems so long ahead. It is hard to think of where and how to start and we may keep hesitating until we never make that first step at all. This is not a modern phenomenon; human beings have been dealing with the difficulty of that first step towards a long and hard journey for millennia and I hear it every day since I am the person waiting at that first step to greet you.

Initiating change can be one of the most difficult points in the recovery process. It takes an unbelievable amount of courage to pick up the phone and call into a treatment center to inquire about services. Maybe you have never been in treatment before and do not know what to expect. Maybe this call will be the first time you have ever spoken to anyone about your eating disorder. It can be very scary to pick up the phone to call if you don’t know what to expect. These fears and countless other justifications can bounce around in our minds preventing us from taking that necessary and life saving first step on our journey.

As the Intake Coordinator for our San Francisco and Sausalito Eating Disorder programs, I am the person you talk to when you brave that first step toward recovery.  My role is to support you during this initial stage in your journey and help you find what services truly meet your needs so you can keep moving forward. Moving forward could mean talking about your story and history for the first time, it could mean setting up an intake assessment so you can admit into one of our programs or it could just involve obtaining referrals to a more appropriate program or service outside of New Dawn.

If I could reach out to all of you who are delaying your first call to inquire about treatment, even if you feel that you are not ready for treatment now, I would ask you to call anyway. You do not have to be set on admitting into our program, you do not need to complete an intake assessment or even give us your complete name and history if you are not ready. Our first call will always be centered on exploring what would be best for you and we always seek to give out as much guidance, support and encouragement as humanly possible so you can keep going towards getting the help that you need. The most important thing is that you made that first step.

Sometimes, it is nice to call and talk to an Intake Coordinator and just have someone listen; we also consider that as a “first step” toward recovery. We want to help in any way we can, so if you or a loved one is waiting, I say begin today, call us and give us a chance to help and support you. You never know how we can help unless you give us a chance. You do not have to go through this process alone, I will be right there with you to help you from your first call to your admission into our program.

Hope to talk to you soon,

Jenny Shapiro, Intake Coordinator


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