Recovery Month 2010

29 03 2010

This September 2010 is the National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month!

The National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Association is currently putting together a website of “Voices of Recovery” including stories of real peoples’ recovery from addiction to give hope to those in need that it really is possible to overcome addiction. They will be putting together this compilation for 2010’s recovery month this coming September. I think this idea is awesome! One of the best support mechanisms is knowing that someone else before you has gone through a similar trial and overcome it.

Here is a brief overview of the Recovery Month program:

Recovery Month is an annual observance that takes place during the month of September.

The Recovery Month observance highlights the societal benefits of substance abuse treatment, lauds the contributions of treatment providers and promotes the message that recovery from substance abuse in all its forms is possible. The observance also encourages citizens to take action to help expand and improve the availability of effective substance abuse treatment for those in need. Each year a new theme, or emphasis, is selected for the observance.

Recovery Month provides a platform to celebrate people in recovery and those who serve them. Each September, thousands of treatment programs around the country celebrate their successes and share them with their neighbors, friends, and colleagues in an effort to educate the public about treatment, how it works, for whom, and why. Substance abuse treatment providers have made significant accomplishments, having transformed the lives of untold thousands of Americans. These successes often go unnoticed by the broader population; therefore, Recovery Month provides a vehicle to celebrate these successes.

Recovery Month also serves to educate the public on substance abuse as a national health crisis, that addiction is a treatable disease, and that recovery is possible. Recovery Month highlights the benefits of treatment for not only the affected individual, but for their family, friends, workplace, and society as a whole. Educating the public reduces the stigma associated with addiction and treatment. Accurate knowledge of the disease helps people to understand the importance of supporting treatment programs, those who work within the treatment field, and those in need of treatment.

The website has tons of stories of recovery already. It is so amazing! I love this way of unity and support to help everyone reach their goals of sobriety.





Alcoholism

29 03 2010

Although alcohol is not often though of as a “drug” because it is legal, it is one of the most widely abused drugs. Alcohol is involved in a great majority of the reason people end up in prison. It often plays a leading role in domestic violence, traffic accidents, accidents in general, and many other tragedies that happen every day.

It is possible to drink responsibly, but there is also a point where the drinking gets out of hand. The Mayo Clinic lists the following symptoms of alcoholism:

  • Drinking alone or in secret
  • Being unable to limit the amount of alcohol you drink
  • Not remembering conversations or commitments, sometimes referred to as “blacking out”
  • Making a ritual of having drinks before, with or after dinner and becoming annoyed when this ritual is disturbed or questioned
  • Losing interest in activities and hobbies that used to bring pleasure
  • Feeling a need or compulsion to drink
  • Irritability when your usual drinking time nears, especially if alcohol isn’t available
  • Keeping alcohol in unlikely places at home, at work or in the car
  • Gulping drinks, ordering doubles, becoming intoxicated intentionally to feel good or drinking to feel “normal”
  • Having legal problems or problems with relationships, employment or finances
  • Building a tolerance to alcohol so that you need an increasing number of drinks to feel alcohol’s effects
  • Experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms — such as nausea, sweating and shaking — if you don’t drink

They also list the following risk factors:

  • Age. People who begin drinking at an early age — by age 16 or earlier — are at a higher risk of alcohol dependence or abuse.
  • Genetics. Your genetic makeup may increase your risk of alcohol dependency.
  • Sex. Men are more likely to become dependent on or abuse alcohol than are women.
  • Family history. The risk of alcoholism is higher for people who had a parent or parents who abused alcohol.
  • Emotional disorders. Being severely depressed or having anxiety places you at a greater risk of abusing alcohol. Adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder also may be more likely to become dependent on alcohol.

As we work to help prevent substance abuse, we need to keep in mind that alcohol abuse is a very real problem. Not only is it hard for the abuser, but for the loved ones of those addicted to alcohol. Al-anon and Alateen are support groups for families and loved ones who need support throughout the struggle as well.





Drug Court

29 03 2010

I had the opportunity to learn about the drug court program last year in a Substance Abuse class I took. Although I do not know all the details about the court program, I do know that it is successful for many. It is an amazingly loving, supportive way for people to recover from their addictions and live a clean life. I attended a drug court graduation in Provo, Utah where I saw about nine people who had gone from the depths of addiction to clean and sober. These people had to change their entire lives, and they did so in an incredible support system. They had to find new friends, fix family ties, attain employment, and many other things on their journey to independence of drugs. There were several levels of completion that the students passed through on their way. The ceremony of those who had completed the program was very emotional and the families of all the graduates attended, along with many who had helped the graduates along the way. Even alumni of the program attended, and formed a group for support even after drug court. They stressed that it was important to stay active in their sobriety, and wanted to be a support to others. I was so glad for this incredible experience.





The 12 Step Program

25 03 2010

Not only is the Twelve Step approach used in Alcoholics Anonymous, but is also widely used to help addicts of multiple drugs reach “Sobriety, strength, and serenity. The twelve steps are as follows:

  • Step 1 – We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable
  • Step 2 – Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
  • Step 3 – Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God
  • Step 4 – Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
  • Step 5 – Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
  • Step 6 – Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
  • Step 7 – Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings
  • Step 8 – Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all
  • Step 9 – Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
  • Step 10 – Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it
  • Step 11 – Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out
  • Step 12 – Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs

It is actually now the most widely used approach for dealing with addictions.  Not only is there Alcoholics Anonymous, but Cocaine Anonymous, Crystal Meth Anonymous, Marijuana Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Pills Anonymous, and even support groups for friends and family members of drug abusers. This kind of support system is critical in recovery from addiction. It is AMAZING how many meetings are held everywhere, all day long.

I had the opportunity to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting last semester and it was an awesome experience. There was tons of love in the room and it was evident that everyone wanted their peers to succeed. I think this way of overcoming addiction is genius.





Just How Prevalent is This Problem?

24 03 2010

I found a profile of America’s drug abuse from the Drug Free Alliance which was pretty interesting. A huge aspect of fixing the problem is knowing where and specifically what it is. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration conducts a survey on drug use, and these are some results from 2008. Here are a few of the stats I found:

– 8% of the population age 12 and older were current (in the past month) illicit drug users

– Marijuana was the most commonly used illicit drug

– .7% of the population were current cocaine users

– .4% of the population were current hallucinogen users

– 2.5% of the population had used prescription drugs nonmedically in the past month

– Methamphetamine users decreased by over half between 2006 and 2008; there were 314,000 users in 2008 compared to 731,000 in 2006.

The website also offers the breakdown of drug use and abuse by state.





Drug Free Communities

24 03 2010

The Office of National Drug Control Policy, or ONDCP, created in 1997 the DFC (Drug Free Communities) program because “local problems need local solutions”. I greatly agree with this statement and think this is an awesome idea. The DFC provides the necessary funding for communities to fight problems within their local network.

Right now, they have a mentoring program, in which currently existing drug free communities can receive extra funding to help develop and foster communities not yet involved but interested in becoming drug free. The applications for the grants are due on April 23, 2010.





Parenting for Drug Prevention

22 03 2010

Compliments of Dr. Lindsay, I have an excellent list of ways parents can help their children avoid drugs.

1. Have a happy, stable marriage

2. Spend time with children; quantity vs. quality

3. Strong values, clear rules and guidelines

4. Check up on your kids, know where they are, wait up

5. Understand the difference between discipline and punishment

6. Put some holes in your kid’s life raft

7. Church, activity, seminary

8. FHE, scripture reading

9. Set example by not using alcohol, tobacco, or misusing medication

10. Limit television

11. Push academics, talent development

12. Know friends of your children, positive interaction

13. Family dinner

14. Allow freedom, praise responsible decisions

15. Common interests, hobbies

16. Sense of humor

17. Strong links to extended family

18. Talk about substance abuse

19. Drug abuse prevention starts on day one

20. Be there when they need you!

I loved his presentation of these strategies last semester. As I start planning for a family someday, I want to be sure I do all I can to help my children live happy, healthy lives… and I know that responsibility will be on my husband and me!

There are many ways to help your kids avoid drugs. Parents are the biggest influence in their teenagers’ lives!!! Make sure they know the rules.