September is National Recovery Month and a time to celebrate the successes of those in recovery and increase awareness and advocacy efforts. Many people are unaware of what it actually takes to recover from addiction and the processes involved. It is not a condition that is cured overnight, and relapse is a real risk. While addiction treatment is best left to professionals trained in addiction recovery, family, friends, and community members – can be involved in supporting advocacy efforts.
Education is Key
If you’re unsure where to start when it comes to being an advocate for recovery, start at the beginning by educating yourself about substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders treatment. This will allow you to better understand how to help an alcoholic, what alcohol recovery programs are all about, and the role that mental health plays.
By understanding the recovery process, you can help a loved one to get into the right kind of treatment to meet their needs and feel more comfortable supporting them along the way. You can learn together and find new resources and strategies to promote lasting sobriety.
Joining the Discussion
Another approach is to be more open to engaging in discussions about addiction and recovery. Whether you are personally affected or have experienced a loved one or friend going through the process, speak up. Talk about your experiences and how you were impacted. Share others’ stories with their permission. Provide accurate information to others who may be confused or misinformed. Explain the benefits your loved one experienced engaging in gender-specific outpatient programs versus co-ed programs.
Become an advocate and role model on speaking out openly about substance use and recovery. Talking about it can help break down stigmas and the fear that people feel in sharing their stories. Show compassion and understanding, letting others know that you support their efforts.
A Little (Political) Push
You may also want to get involved by writing to your legislators. Those in political offices need to hear from residents in their communities so they know that drug and alcohol recovery programs are a priority and make a difference. They have the power to vote on issues related to prevention, treatment, and recovery. Pay attention to policies that are making their way through the system, or issues you want to see more attention brought to, and start writing. Encourage others to do the same. When it comes to addiction recovery, Maine residents can show they have a strong voice.
Be a Shoulder to Lean On
Being an advocate can be as simple as being there for others. Take the time to listen if someone needs to talk, participate in substance-free activities, offer words of encouragement, or help them research holistic treatment centers or drug and alcohol recovery programs that meet their needs. You don’t have to have all the answers about how to help an alcoholic, but let them know that you’ll support them throughout their recovery as they get back on their feet and remember who they wanted to be. A little moral support can go a long way in letting someone know they’re not alone and encouraging them to keep pushing forward.
Everyone can raise awareness no matter their age or experience. It’s all about how you choose to get involved and spread the word. Maybe you want to volunteer with recovery organizations or holistic treatment centers. Look for opportunities to sign up as a speaker to share your experience. Perhaps you feel more confident organizing a letter writing campaign or arming yourself with current facts so you can educate others you interact with.
Every little bit makes a difference. If you want to get more involved, contact your local recovery center to find out how to show your support and become an advocate for recovery. Crossroads Maine is committed to helping individuals and families overcome the challenges of addiction and begin the road to recovery, so contact us today to learn more.
[cta]Are you interested in learning more about addiction recovery or how you can help others get the treatment they need? Contact Crossroads today for more information.[/cta]