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National Recovery Month: Getting a toe hold


If you visit the SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) website, you can find a lot of information about National Recovery Month which traditionally is observed during the month of September. One of the links will take you to stories from people who have struggled with addiction and worked their way toward a lifetime of recovery. Here are a few of the introductions you will find there:

Barbara Jean: “What I know is this. I had to find something beautiful in this life and hang on for all I was worth.”

Little J Jr.: “While in the act of my addiction, I told myself I was not hurting no one but myself – I was in denial.”

Nancy: “My first year in my recovery was like walking out of a black and white movie and into a Technicolor sphere of possibilities.”

Brandi: “I never thought I could be happy. I never thought I could be me. Today I am able to love me for me.”

Ellie: “I could not imagine life without alcohol. It was my everything – until it ripped me apart.”

Dante: “My experiences with mental illness opened my eyes to the possibility that any of us could be afflicted with mental health issues.”

“Many people don’t understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs. They may mistakenly think that those who use drugs lack moral principles or will power and that they could stop their drug use simply by choosing to,” advises NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse). “In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease and quitting usually takes more than good intentions or a strong will. Drugs change the brain in ways that make quitting hard.”

First things first: understanding what “disease” even means. Disease is “a disorder of structure or function in a human, animal or plant, especially one that produces specific signs or symptoms or that affects a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury.” Something in the body doesn’t work right and makes you ill, physically or mentally.

“Recovery Month celebrates the gains made by those in recovery, just as we celebrate health improvements made by those who are managing other health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma and heart disease,” SAMHSA reports. “The observance reinforces the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover.”

It’s easy to sit in an armchair and judge someone because he or she has made poor choices that started them on the road to addiction. But take another, more personal, look. What if it is someone you care about? What if it happens to you? What if an elderly parent who never intended to become hooked on the pain medication that makes life bearable becomes addicted? What if it is your child? Would you learn more about the problem and become proactive toward recovery – to find out how you can best help with recovery?

There is a lot to learn in order to understand addiction and to reach out helping hands to those who are addicted. The earlier drug use begins the more likely it will become an addiction because it changes the brain. Relapse is a word that is heard in the substance abuse business, but it doesn’t have to mean failure. It means that treatment needs adjusted to better fit that individual’s needs, to find out what works best for that person.

In this area, the ADAPT (Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team) Coalition has leadership teams all over the county. People like you are working together for the well being of everyone to educate, communicate and collaborate with the community to support and promote healthy lifestyles. For more information about ADAPT, contact Brenda Foor, ADAPT Coordinator, Family Recovery Center, 966 N. Market St., Lisbon or phone, 330-424-0531.

Family Recovery Center promotes the well being of individuals, families and communities with education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral health issues. For more information, contact Family Recovery Center at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail,

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