As we come to the end of September, National Recovery Month, I would like to share a few thoughts on how the Family Care Network views and approaches the Recovery process. Historically, recovery Month was associated with substance use disorder (SUD) – addiction recovery. Over time though, “Recovery” has grown to encompass a much broader arena. Recovery is synonymous with healing, well beyond addiction. Our organization works with all kinds of individuals and families in “Recovery.” Recovering from trauma, addiction, physical health issues, and broken relationships.
Tag: National Recovery Month
Are we all addicted to something? Interesting question! Dr. Anne Wilson Schaef puts it this way, “Life in the U.S. is so stressful that it is impossible not to become addicted to something. We live in a society that not only encourages addiction, but almost demands it. Some addictions, such as workaholism, are actually applauded in our culture, while others, such as nicotine, TV, internet porn, gambling, and sex addiction, are simply tolerated.
September is National Recovery Month, and to honor those in our care who are on their own personal journey of recovery, we want to share the inspiring story of Bethany, one of our successful Transitional-Aged Youth. The following story is a reminder that recovery is not a destination to arrive at, but rather a journey to celebrate.
For those of you who are not in the behavioral health field, you may be surprised to learn that the term “Recovery” refers not just to addiction issues but also mental health issues. As someone who works in the field and also has a sister diagnosed as having Bipolar Disorder, understanding the concepts of the Recovery Model has been an encouragement to me. I can distinctly remember getting a phone call while I was in one of my grad school classes telling me that my sister had been hospitalized due to her mental illness. This wasn’t the first time she was hospitalized, and the weight of my fear and grief hung off of me like an oversized coat. I can remember standing outside during my break from class, staring at the grass, and realizing that for all her gifts, talents, hopes and dreams, my sister would always struggle with a profound mental illness.
My teen years were spent in the 1960's – you know hippies, long hair, rock-n-roll, changing norms, social unrest and drugs. I had the good fortune to be raised with a strong moral compass which helped me navigate the tumultuous times and come out unscathed. However, this wasn’t true for many of my friends and acquaintances. Too many had their lives destroyed by mind and body altering substances; their amazing potential and futures altered forever. Some died, while others died mentally but remained physically alive.
Oh sure, like many in my generation, I did some stupid things. But in reality, the “hippie years” were just a very small parenthesis along my time line. In fact, those years profoundly set into motion what I was to become and how I have spent the past five decades. I count myself fortunate, but also haunted by the devastation and destruction substance abuse causes. I don’t know of anyone who has not experienced the destructiveness of substance abuse in some way, either personally or in relation to a family member, relative or friend.
September is National Recovery Month sponsored by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration). I could think of no better way to honor this month than to write about my own Dad's recovery from alcoholism. One of my earliest memories is the sound of ice cubes clinking in a glass as I lay in bed and my Dad walked down the hallway past my room. He always had a glass in his hand. I was too young to understand that there was usually scotch or vodka in there, but I did know that his mood became darker and angrier the more he drank.
“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.”—Unknown
As we come to the end of September I want to draw attention to the fact that 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of September as National Recovery Month. People’s natural tendency is think about substance abuse, being that we all know somebody “in recovery” or that we wish were. But, this title actually encompasses a much bigger picture– it’s an acknowledgment that humans can heal…it is a testimony to the resiliency of the human spirit!