Written by: Rachel Eifert MS, LPC, CSAC, CS-IT
In honor of National Recovery Month, I want to take a moment to give a shout out to everyone out there who has ever struggled with an addiction themselves or have a friend or family member who has and who are now living a life of recovery. Recovery isn’t just not using; it is a lifelong journey and involves making many changes, sometimes each and every day. It isn’t easy but trust me, it is worth it.
Recently I had the honor of being there to cheer on a woman who graduated from a local drug recovery court program. I witnessed the growth of a woman whose life was once engulfed with IV street drug use, chaos, legal issues and family isolation and witnessed her overcome obstacles and come out a shining star. When talking to her it became very obvious to me, she was done, she had enough, she hit her “rock bottom”. She was ready to get her life back, and frankly she was willing to do whatever it would take to make that happen. She gave up old friends, engaged in community support groups, built a healthy support system and literally changed EVERYTHING and slowly everything started to come together, piece by piece. She got a job, got her own apartment, got the trust of her loving family back, built a solid support system of friends who had her back and supported her efforts to maintain her recovery and discovered love for herself in the process.
Not all stories end like hers, unfortunately addiction can be fatal. I feel like more often than not someone has a tragic story to share of how drug addiction took the life of someone they love. Drug overdoses have drastically increased over the past two decades. In 2017, more than 70,000 people lost their life to a drug overdose making it a leading cause of injury-related death in the United States (CDC, 2019). This statistic motivates me to be the change I want to see in the world, help encourage and motivate someone to start their journey to recovery and do what I can do to help them through the process of change.
Most families believe that going to “rehab” or an inpatient hospitalization is all their loved one needs to do in order to get well and recover from their illness. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The real changes happen once the person comes home from treatment and starts to put into place changes that will support their wellbeing for a lifetime and keep them from going back to what made their life unmanageable to begin with. These changes can be supported by family members, friends, coworkers, significant others and the community as a whole. You don’t have to do it alone, if you need help set up an appointment with a trained therapist or call the SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service). This is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information (www.SAMSHA.gov August 5th, 2019).