by Donna Ecklesdafer, MSN, RN
The thought of recovering from an addiction can be overwhelming or seem impossible. The recovery path can seem long, scary and lonely. It may feel there are a lot of road blocks to hinder the process and the fear of failure lurks around every corner. Despite all these negative feelings, there is hope.
You can recover from an addiction. This is a powerful truth. Help is available to you and your family. There are many resources that are offered to assist you through your recovery process.
You are not alone. As you begin to take your journey through recovery, a team of people can be with you at every step. Support is available to assist you on your road to recovery so you can experience success.
Many people have overcome addictions. They accomplished this feat and so can you. A number of these individuals are willing to assist others traveling through the recovery process as they did. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are two effective groups that give support and hold individuals accountable.
There are many other resources you can participate in to assist with your recovery. Intensive Outpatient Programming (IOP) involves meeting frequently and being involved in three or more weekly group sessions over three to eight weeks.
If an IOP is not available to you, individual counseling is an excellent resource. Relapse prevention groups, residential addiction services, transitional recovery housing and inpatient treatment are all available to help you. Family members or loved ones are also there to assist your through your recovery journey. Chaplains or clergy can meet with you and offer encouragement.
For family members and loved ones to be an effective help, they need to care for themselves. Basic needs must be met so they can give support. A good night sleep, proper nutrition, exercise and emotional support are necessary not only for the one going through recovery, but also for family members and loved ones.
Supporting a loved one going through recovery can be taxing. It is important to hold the individual accountable. Finding the balance between talking all the time about the addiction to completely ignoring it is needed. Counseling or talk therapy is a great way for family members and loved ones to care for their emotional needs. Attending support groups such as Al-anon or Nar-anon can be extremely beneficial for family and friends.
Education is power. Many books have been written about addiction, recovery and how to support loved ones. They can be purchased or checked out free at a local library. Websites for Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provide education and answer to many questions.
You are at a crossroad. Resources and support are available for you and your family. Take the step to begin your recovery journey.
Websites for recovery individual and family/friends:
www.aa.org – Alcoholics Anonymous
www.na.org – Narcotics Anonymous
www.samhsa.gov – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
www.pinerest.org - Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services
Websites for family/friends:
Al-Anon.org – Family members of alcoholics.
Nar-anon – Family members of addicts.
Adultchildren.org – Adult children of alcoholics and addicts.
Positive ways to help yourself:
- Admit you have an addiction
- Ask for help
- Actively participate in a 12 step program
- Make your recovery a priority
- Take care of yourself – physically, mentally, spiritually
- Plan for success
- Avoid situations that are high risk
- Be honest with yourself
- Practice saying no
- Be kind to yourself and others
- Hold yourself accountable
Donna Ecklesdafer, MSN, RN has worked at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services for 20 years. She is the Clinic Manager of the Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) Clinic.
This column first appeared in the Grand Rapids Press on August 26, 2012