The National Council of Alcohol and Drug Dependence founded Alcohol Awareness Month in 1987 in an effort to reduce the stigma widely associated with alcoholism by spreading information about alcohol, alcoholism, and recovery. Each year, numerous groups around the country work to break down barriers to treatment and recovery to make the option of seeking help more readily available to those who suffer from this disease.
For the American public, addiction is a taboo but extremely common topic. Children take drug education classes beginning in middle school, learning that drugs will 'fry their brain' and cause them to become a ‘burnout’ or a failure. People frequently joke that something is ‘like crack’ or that they are ‘shopaholics.’ Some of the most heated political debates center on issues like drug testing for welfare recipients or the legalization of marijuana.
Even though over 23 million Americans are in recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs, it seems that many who aren’t still do not know how to address addiction when they encounter it in their everyday lives.
The state of West Virginia has recently been noticed for a considerable increase in the amount of heroin overdoses. The state is facing a five fold increase since 2010. President Barak Obama is spearheading a solution to this problem to promote change and drug addiction prevention because the state is lacking in resources to publicly address this concern of rising rates. Although, the cause of these overdose rates are ambiguous, the signs point to the states poverty levels, unemployment rates, as well as individuals who families used drugs.
The 12 step program is a framework for confronting problems that involve addiction, alcoholism, and pressure. Sometimes referred to as spiritual methods, the Alcoholics Anonymous(AA) program was originally started due to a text that was published in 1939. The text, Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism, created the foundation that paved the way for the 12 step program of AA. Today this method is regarded as the most successful practice of abstinence.
Last month we discussed a new series of articles focusing on the tools to build recovery capital by addressing some of the common struggles, questions, and successes that can present challenges to our mind, body and soul, even while sober. Building recovery capital means just that, building up enough resources, tools, and community inside the rooms of recovery and during the recovery process to rely on when things are difficult - when life asks us who we are. This “recovery capital” will help guide us through the rough times, to grow and adapt to life’s challenges to eventually come out the other end with new meaning and purpose.
Walking into the rooms of recovery is often the first step to what could become a fundamental change in your life. A change that brings hope, a sense of peace and serenity, and even love. Starting this journey, however, is not just about making a decision to refrain daily from the use of drugs and alcohol. Of course not using drugs or alcohol is required to participate in the rooms of recovery, but the mindset of this change in yourself is something more. It is a decision to show up to do the work that is required to participate in having a meaningful life. Really, it is a conscious choice to invest in yourself by building recovery capital to become the person you were meant to be.