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Thursday, September 6, 2018

Recovery Month: Confronting the Stigma of Addiction

Every year at this time, all of us at The Haven observe National Recovery Month. Throughout September the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) invites people working a program and recovery service providers to have a hand in breaking down the stigma of addiction and spreading the message that treatment is effective and people recover.

It is a well-known fact that the overwhelming majority of people living with any form of mental illness never receive the care they require. Paralyzed by the fear of social repercussions, many languish in their addiction and co-occurring mental health conditions for far too long. As a result, some never have the opportunity to embrace the gifts of recovery; instead, they succumb to the physical consequences of their disease. It should go without saying that this reality must change, should change, and can change if we all work together to promote the benefits of reaching out for help.

Seeking addiction recovery takes remarkable courage. Those in the grips of mental illness are often victims of their terrible affliction for years—decades even. As a result, the chaos of addiction becomes the norm and turning one’s back on their condition and accepting assistance can seem like an impossible challenge. No one can predict what the future holds, but people with alcohol and substance use disorder convince themselves of the opposite; such individuals resign to thinking that recovery isn’t possible, even when all the evidence says otherwise. Those in recovery know this to be true, they are living testaments of the power of change and all the possibility that comes with it—proving that recovery in all its forms is possible.

Stigma Busting

Stigma thrives on ignorance; addiction thrives on shame. It’s a vicious cycle that has the power to kill, which is why it is paramount that as many people as possible let it be known that there is a different way. There is scientific evidence proving the efficacy of addiction treatment and working a program of recovery. While relapse is always a possibility, as with any life-threatening disease, remission doesn’t always last; however, just because some members slip and fall from time to time, doesn’t mean long-term recovery is impossible. Right now, a statistically significant number of people around the globe have found it possible to accrue decades of clean and sober time. And, such people can serve as an authoritative source of inspiration for the individual who is celebrating 24 hours of sobriety.

SAMHSA, which is a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), asks people to heed their call and promote the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental and substance use disorders. When we come together and talk about the disease, we take some of the power of stigma away; when those less informed develop a better understanding of mental illness, society as a whole is healthier. Those suffering are more likely to seek treatment if they don’t feel like they are at fault for their mental illness—when they don’t perceive themselves as a social pariah.

Spreading the Message of Recovery

This month, everyone touched by addiction and recovery – including men and women working in the field – can take to social media and spread positive messages. SAMHSA would like to get the word out: behavioral health is essential to overall health. Those who feel comfortable are even invited to share their personal story of recovery with the hope of empowering others to give recovery a shot. Depending on where you live, it's possible that a Recovery Month event is occurring in your area. If attending is not possible, the HHS is live streaming several of the more notable events throughout the month.

The Haven at Pismo celebrates people in recovery and appreciates the contributions of all the treatment and service providers committed to helping people make recovery possible. If you or a loved one are currently battling alcohol, substance use, or a co-occurring mental health disorder, please contact us at your earliest convenience. We offer clients medically supervised detox and addiction treatment on California’s Central Coast. The Haven is the perfect place to renew to your best today.