Did you know that September is a time of celebration in the Recovery Community?
Coming on the heels of August 31, known as International Overdose Awareness Day, which is a day we remember those who have lost their battle with addiction, National Recovery Month is a time of reflection, gratitude, and celebration.
Prevention, treatment, and recovery programs around the world take time to speak about the gains made by those in recovery. Success stories are shared to help increase awareness and advance a greater understanding of the disease of addiction.
Removing The Negative Stigma Around Recovery
For years, people who struggle with addiction, as well as people who live in recovery, have spent their lives silent about their journey to recovery. They have not felt like they can share their pain or their triumph because of the negative stigma attached to addiction recovery.
Those with addiction (also known as substance use disorder), have historically been viewed as lacking will power and moral principles. Thanks to the advancement in science and neurological studies, we have learned that substance use disorder is a complex disease that can be treated with evidence-based treatment like medication and cognitive behavioral therapy.
Part of the purpose for Recovery Month is to inform and educate so that no one has to struggle alone. The first step in ending the stigma and cycle of struggling with substance use disorder alone is to understand addiction.
It’s important to understand what happens to the brain when a substance is used for an extensive amount of time. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “addiction is a chronic, often relapsing, brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use despite harmful consequences for the individual and those around them.”
While the initial decision to drink the first alcoholic beverage or use the first drug is a person’s choice, over time changes occur in the brain that begin to challenge that person’s self-control and hamper their ability to resist intense impulses to drink or use drugs. This is how the cycle of addiction begins.
There is no single factor that will predict or explain whether a person will become addicted to alcohol or drugs.
The three main factors contributing to the onset of substance use disorder are:
Much like heart disease, diabetes, and other medical conditions, there are biological factors that play a role. A person can be biologically predisposed to develop an addiction. Biology, combined with environmental influences, account for half a person’s risk of developing addiction.
Genetic and environmental (also known as nurture and nature) factors impact critical developmental stages of our lives, which can make a person more susceptible to developing an addiction.
Additionally, when trauma is a factor at any developmental stage, the vulnerability for addiction increases. Keep in mind that the more risk factors a person is exposed to, the greater their chance is of developing a substance use disorder.
Celebrate Healing & Hope During Recovery Month
One of the best ways to celebrate Recovery Month is by doing our part to end the harmful stigma and isolation surrounding the disease of addiction.
You can begin by having conversations about substance use disorders and becoming informed about how to help those struggling get the help they need.
We should all listen to the stories of those who are walking the path of recovery. You can get involved in actively supporting those on their recovery journey by becoming a Recovery Mentor for the person struggling or for the family members walking alongside them.
Fellowship Missions Is Here To Help
At Fellowship Missions we have seen the devastating effects alcohol and drug use can have on people. We have also seen the healing that happens when a community comes around to support those who are struggling.
Through Fellowship Missions’ Addiction Recovery Hub, we are committed to help unite our community around the areas of prevention, treatment, and recovery programs and to offer support to those struggling with substance use disorder and their families.
If you would like to get involved, reach out to us through our website or call us at (574)268-9555 ext. 111 to get more information about how you can help!