It’s hard to believe National Recovery Month 2016 is already coming to an end, but what a wonderful journey it’s been! Each week, we heard so many impactful stories from readers around the nation – people from all walks of life who have been touched by addiction in a myriad of different ways.
So what have we learned over these last four weeks?
Defining Recovery and the Value of Support
We found out that the term “recovery” means something different to each and every one of us. For some, recovery simply means greeting each day without being shackled to drugs or alcohol. For others, it means being a trustworthy friend and family member or mending fences broken by the weight of addiction.
We learned what it’s really like loving someone who struggles with addiction. With so much focus placed on the person who’s addicted, their friends and loved ones often feel lost in the shuffle. We found out how a solid support system can make or break someone’s recovery and how much it means to know someone loves you unconditionally. We also talked to families about the love they have for one another, learned that treatment center staff and counselors can feel like family, and discovered how the love of a pet can heal the broken human spirit.
Despite the number of unique stories we received, people in recovery had one common message for the friends and family members who supported them through their darkest times: Thank You for Never Giving Up!
Check out a few of those heartfelt messages in the video below:
Recovery Month: A Thank You to Those Who Never Gave Up from Recovery Brands on Vimeo.
Embracing Help and Staying Clean
We heard from people who recently completed rehab and got some powerful insight into the hard work that’s required to stay sober once home. Leaving the safety and structure of treatment is an exciting and scary time, but with the right support systems in place and the will to change your life for the better, it can be done!
Candace Plattor, addictions therapist and award-winning author, weighed in on the impact of addiction on families and the desperate need for additional resources:
I believe that it really does take a village. We are still at a place in our recovery communities where the bulk of the attention and available treatment goes to the addicts. I am never against addicts receiving help and support, but we still don’t have anywhere near enough resources available to assist and support the people who love them. These people desperately suffer and struggle right alongside the addicts.
For every one addict, there are generally about 10-20 people negatively affected by that person’s addiction. We need to offer a lot more help to the loved ones than we have offered up to this point.
If we want to stop addiction in its tracks, we need to be working with families as a whole, not just with those who are addicted.
Ready to Take Action?
National Recovery Month might be wrapping up, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait for next September before you take action. Thousands of lives can be saved by preventing fatal overdoses, and we can take steps to protect against the devastation that addiction inflicts on communities and individuals. Make no mistake, we can overcome the addiction epidemic, but only if we take action and work together to influence positive change.
If you’re ready to take action, the following ideas can help you get started:
- Support easy access to naloxone.
Naloxone is a medication that immediately blocks or reverses the effects of opioids, specifically the deadly effects of overdose. Take action by reaching out to your state and local lawmakers and elected officials. Encourage them to support legislation that makes naloxone available to first responders, families, and those who are dependent on opioids.
- Use social media to spread the word.
A great way to educate people on the dangers of drug abuse is through social media. Use accounts like Facebook or Twitter to keep your followers up to speed on drug-abuse prevention and breaking news stories related to addiction.
- Help your loved one find a treatment program.
If you suspect a loved one is struggling with addiction, don’t bury your head in the proverbial sand. Instead, have an honest conversation. Let him or her know you’re here to help and suggest seeking professional help. A wealth of information on helping an addicted loved one can be found here.
We’d love to hear more about what you learned during National Recovery Month 2016. Share your story with us on social media using #RBRecoveryMonth or leave a comment below!
Image Source iStock