September is National Recovery Month
Recovery is defined as a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential. Often underneath an addiction is the experience of childhood trauma in the form of abuse, neglect, loss, or lack of a stable home life. People use substances to cover up the pain that results from the memories. If you are experiencing an addiction to drugs or alcohol please reach out for help. Healing is absolutely possible and there are caring people ready to help you on that journey.
One of the most common catalysts for substance abuse is adverse childhood experiences. In fact, for every adverse childhood experience encountered, the risk of substance use increases. Experiencing some form of abuse, neglect, loss or lack of stability in childhood happens to many people. Misusing drugs or alcohol is simply a way to cope with the pain. If you are addicted to alcohol or drugs of any kind, you know that recovery is going to require change. You may fear both the physical and emotional withdrawal you'll experience from not having the substance. But, please know that there are healthy and effective tools for healing.
I want you to know that recovery is possible. There are choices and lifestyles that allow you to find meaning and purpose in the aftermath of difficult life experiences. If you find yourself addicted and struggling remember you are loveable, forgivable, and changeable. Please know that there are healthy and effective tools for healing. The first step is to find a safe person you trust and share your story and your need for help. There are many treatments and supports available in our area. Don't let anything keep you from getting help. Reach out for help. There are safe people who can point-you-toward restoration.
One of my favorite truths is “the opposite of addiction is connection.” If you are someone who struggles with substance use, connecting with a supportive community is a key to beginning and staying in recovery. The first step is reaching out and admitting that you need help to get better.
Once you admit that your addiction has gotten the best of you... you have taken the first step. Remember... recovery is within your grasp and there are people in your area who understand what you are going through and who are prepared to help. Take the first step and you'll find there are supportive people who will go the rest of the journey with you.
-Jerry Strausbaugh, EdD, LPCC-S, Executive Director, Appleseed Community Mental Health Center