Saturday, May 27th, 2017

People with disorders can lead a rewarding life

Posted: Friday, September 16, 2016

By Kelly Sickafoose

People with a mental and/or substance use disorder can live a healthy and rewarding life. The 2016 Recovery Month theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Our Families, Our Stories, Our Recovery!” highlights the importance of families, communities and individuals sharing stories of recovery to encourage others to make a personal connection with the recovery movement.

The prevalence of mental and/or substance use disorders is high. In 2014, about 21.5 million Americans ages 12 and older (8.1%) were classified with a substance use disorder in the past year. Of those, 2.6 million had problems with both alcohol and drugs, 4.5 million had problems with drugs but not alcohol, and 14.4 million had problems with alcohol only. Approximately 7.9 million Americans have both a mental and substance use disorder.

For many people, recovery: Emerges from hope, which is fostered by friends, families, mentors, providers, colleagues, and others who have experienced recovery themselves; occurs via many pathways, which may include professional clinical treatment, use of medications, support from families and in schools, services through homeless programs, faith-based approaches, peer support, and other approaches; is holistic - meaning that recovery encompasses a person’s whole life, including mind, body, spirit and community; is supported by relationships with peers and allies, and on social networks; is supported by addressing trauma, including physical or sexual abuse, neglect, domestic violence, war, disaster, or profound loss. It includes positive youth development theories and concepts; involves individual, family, and community strengths and responsibilities; and is fostered by respect.

These principles of recovery can help people establish a blueprint for their own journey. However, it’s important for people living with these conditions to become aware that they are not alone in their efforts. The right support system can help ensure that those in need are addressing the four key aspects of recovery:  Health: The person learns to overcome or manage his or her condition(s) or symptom(s) - and make informed, healthy choices that support physical and emotional well-being. Home: Having a stable and safe place to live. Purpose: A person in recovery participates in meaningful daily activities, such as a job, school, volunteer opportunities, family caretaking, or creative endeavors, and has the independence, income, and resources to participate in society. Community: Relationships and social networks should provide support, friendship, love and hope.

Those in recovery have this to say: “I’m a nicer person, more patient, less judgmental, more thoughtful, approachable and relaxed.”

“I appreciate life more now. I embrace life; I’m a better person to be around.”

“People in AA meetings loved me back to life.”

“I can look myself in the mirror again, even when times get tough, my worst day sober is much better than my best day drunk.”

“I don’t have everything I want, who does? But I have contentment and everything I need.”

“Today I feel alive.”

Behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover.

For more information, please visit us on Facebook at Local Anti-Drug Coalition Efforts - LACE.