You probably know someone living in recovery. Chances are equally high you are not aware that person is living in recovery. They may be living a life very similar to your own — raising a family, working on a career, engaging in hobbies and connecting with friends. Although there is no medical cure for addiction, it is manageable through the honest and painful process of recovery.
During Recovery Awareness month, we honour all those who have made the difficult decision to embrace recovery. They are engaged in the process of learning how to make changes in their thinking and behaviours, and learning to live a meaningful life without drugs and alcohol. Recovery is a choice that begins when someone recognizes their substance use has become unmanageable and admitting they need and want change. Reaching out for help begins the process of self-discovery, personal insights, taking responsibility and sharing these experiences with others. It’s a process of engaging in life and reconnecting with family and friends. Over time, these brave individuals become sources of hope and inspiration for those still struggling with addiction.
There are no simple answers when it comes to the disease of addiction. The reasons for it are varied, and the ways to treat it are equally diverse. For many, recovery is a long and challenging process. One thing that can be agreed on is that people struggling with addiction require time. Time to seek help, time to find supports, time to refine recovery plans to address their unique needs. Time to learn to live without drugs and alcohol, and address the underlying issues that led to addiction.
If you have someone in your life who is struggling with substance use, you are not alone. There are resources available in the community that can provide education and support for you. There are also many supports to help people using substances make positive changes in their lives and work in collaboration with them to make healthier, safer choices whether they are considering changing their substance use using harm reduction principals, or working toward complete abstinence and lifelong recovery. The first step toward recovery is believing it can be accomplished, and the proof it can be accomplished can be seen in all the people who will be celebrating their recovery this September.
Assistant director of addictions services at Mission Services of Hamilton