As a society, we stress and empathize the negativity associated with substance abuse. It goes without saying that almost if not all things dealing with addiction have pain and suffering for both the addict and those trying to help. We read and see throughout social media overdose, relapse and death daily. Pictures of beautiful young people before and after they fell prey to this dreadful disease show the physical damage. The stories and obituaries read of the mental and emotional stress to those who care.
Maybe we need to reach for the stories of recovery and the wonderful changes that occur as active addiction journeys toward active recovery. There are a multitude of stories of recovery and the happiness that evolved. The changes in lifestyle and quality of life are heartwarming and should give hope to those suffering. We need more spotlight on the benefits of recovery and maybe a bit less of the drawbacks and the grim future. Those suffering with substance abuse have little self-control in escaping without a great deal of support and help from those knowing the hard work that is required to cleanse one’s self. Our part as parents, spouses and friends is love and support. By support I’m not talking about enabling but rather encouragement, praise, and above all love even if at a distance. It is as important to those caring as it is to those addicted. Blaming yourself, anger and loss of hope have no value where addiction is involved.
There is more than enough information published today describing that substance disorders are a disease and as such need to be attacked in the same manner as any other deadly disease. Extensive research is taking place throughout the country to address this epidemic. It’s obvious that there is no single pill or treatment that will make this go away. As we find ourselves in a standby position, we can only reach out for help and support for ourselves and our addict. Joining support groups, whether the addict or those caring, will get help from lessons learned good and bad. It becomes a search for understanding of substance abuse. The more we learn, the better we are prepared to meet all the obstacles, end the chaos, and learn how to take back our lives.
Bumps in the road are frequent, especially in early recovery. If the one addicted has done the hard work involved by attending meetings, finding a sponsor, working the 12 steps, and associating with friends in active recovery, he or she has helpful tools to meet those bumps. Basically, for those of us caring, we can do the same. We need our own set of tools. We need to take baby steps in how we look and understand at addiction.
Both sides need to be prepared for a long and difficult journey. There are many recovery stories and we want to make every effort to be one of those stories.