The hardest thing anyone touched by addiction will ever do is break the cycle and recover. Which is why it is so vital that one’s recovery is never discounted or taken for granted. While nobody is ever cured of this most serious mental illness, with the aid of a recovery program and a spiritual connection, people can, and do, recover.
Addiction is a major concern, perhaps one of the greatest challenges of our times. Millions of Americans struggle with one substance or another every day of the week. Some 142 individuals die from a drug overdose every day, and even more overdoses are reversed thanks to naloxone. However, more times than not, overdose victims are unable to access the resources they require and go right back out into the fray.
There are several reasons people struggle to find recovery. In many cases individuals are just not ready to take certain Steps. While others live in areas where addiction recovery services are lacking. Although, perhaps the greatest deterrent to addicts and alcoholics getting treatment is the stigma of addiction and the belief that recovery is not possible.
Addiction Stigma and Dreaming the Impossible
When it comes to the former, the effort to end the stigma of addiction continues among mental health and addiction experts. Nobody can deny that we have come a long way with shattering the myths of addiction, the beliefs that perpetuate falsehoods about the disease. The idea that using drugs and alcohol is a choice; therefore, one can choose to stop the behavior. A line of thinking that does not consider dependence and the symptoms of withdrawal that one experiences when trying to abstain (unaided).
What’s more, choosing to stop using harmful mind-altering substances is the easy part—relatively. The hard part is not picking them up again, which underscores the importance of addiction treatment services. Those who make the choice to turn their life around have an exponentially greater chance of succeeding, if they go to detox and treatment. Then followed by a continued program of spiritual maintenance. And, more people would be willing to seek help if they were not ostracized by society—as counter intuitive as that seems. Rather than identify oneself as an addict or alcoholic, many afflicted individuals choose to stay in the dark, eschewing treatment.
On the other side of the anti-recovery coin is the mindset that recovery is a pipe dream. And if it is possible, some people think that they will have to adopt religious ideologies in order to achieve it. An excuse to be sure, but worth touching upon as well. It is true, there is a spiritual aspect to long-term recovery, but not in the way most people still “out there” think. Programs of recovery have no mandates about who or what you believe in. There is no requirement about going to church or accepting lines of belief that go against how you view the world. All the program asks is that you make a conscious effort to open your heart and mind to something greater than yourself. After all, what does one in the grips of addiction have to lose?
Those who make the courageous step to seek recovery despite the bias or aversion to bearded men in the sky, find out early on that the program is a far cry from organized religion. What it is, however, is a group of people whose lives had become unmanageable, because they were unable to live life on life’s terms. To cope with the realization that most things are out of one’s control, turning to drugs and alcohol was a logical step. No, members of the fellowship have not drunk the proverbial Kool-Aid, rather they have decided to give something different a chance—with the hope of Living. After all, their way wasn’t working.
By choosing to believe there is something greater than yourself, it becomes much easier to cope with the hard stuff in life. The very occurrences that often lead to relapse. Being accountable to a “higher power” takes the burden of thinking you need to control all things Life off one’s shoulders. Trust and believe, it is a great relief to bask in the sunlight of spirit.
National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month
Every September, both people in recovery and those working in the field (many of whom are in recovery themselves) observe National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. Usually shortened to just Recovery Month. The theme this year is: Join the Voices for Recovery: Strengthen Families and Communities. Which aims to emphasize the “value of family and community support throughout recovery and invites individuals in recovery and their family members to share their personal stories and successes in order to encourage others.”
Throughout the month events are held all over the country to disseminate the facts about both addiction and recovery, i.e. addiction is a mental health disorder and recovery is possible. Sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA):
Now in its 27th year, Recovery Month highlights the achievements of individuals who have reclaimed their lives in long-term recovery and honors the treatment and recovery service providers who make recovery possible. Recovery Month also promotes the message that recovery in all of its forms is possible and encourages citizens to take action to help expand and improve the availability of effective prevention, treatment, and recovery services for those in need.
At Hope by The Sea we are committed to helping shatter the pernicious stigma of addiction and all mental health disorders. We know that those who seek help for addiction, who are willing to take certain steps, can and do recover. We see it every day. The more We talk about addiction and the miracles of recovery, the more likely those still suffering will be able to seek assistance. If you or a loved one is battling an alcohol or substance use disorder, please contact us today. Addiction recovery is not only possible, it’s necessary.