An addiction to substances is a chronic illness. Let’s be clear about that. It is not a moral failing. It is not just a matter of will power and “saying no.” It is does not involve being “sent away” to rehab or residential where a miracle cure will be performed.
Recovery from addiction is hard work. It is a lifelong pursuit that often entails failure, sometimes lots of failures. And it is liberating and life giving and full of joy. We say: Recovery is Beautiful. It’s a second chance at happiness.
Let’s blame addiction on brain chemistry and the brain’s pleasure center with its master hormone called dopamine. A powerful surge of dopamine not only contributes to the pleasure we experience but is also linked to remembering the pleasure and learning to want more of it. Recovery entails relearning pleasure and how to have fun; finding new rewards that are healthier and for many, rewards that are legal. The purpose of recovery from an addiction is not just living in deprivation, lacking all joy and pleasure. No! Recovery is a matter of rediscovering a new life and a new way of living that feels “clean.”
Ask anyone who has quit smoking (me for instance), stopped drinking, or experienced withdrawal from pain pills or heroin! The change to a different way of life doesn’t happen overnight. It happens in slow, progressive steps, with lots of support, including someone who picks you up, dusts you off and helps you get back on the road again. We are so fortunate because it can all happen right here, close to home.
It is always a shock to learn that a loved one suffers with an addiction or to wake up to discover not only chronic pain but also an addiction to pain pills. Most people don’t set out to become addicted, for many it creeps up on them.
We ask ourselves: What now? Where can I get help? How long does it take? Will I ever get better? What do I do? Many of us feel so embarrassed about the situation or fearful of what others will think that we don’t seek help. We try to hide it. Others are afraid of the legal ramifications.
Signs of drug abuse:
Here are some common signs of drug abuse:
• You’re neglecting responsibilities.
• You’re using drugs under dangerous conditions or taking risks while high.
• Your drug use is getting you into legal trouble.
• Your drug use is causing problems in your relationships.
Signs of addiction
Here are some common signs of drug addiction:
• You’ve built up a drug tolerance.
• You take drugs to avoid or relieve withdrawal symptoms.
• You’ve lost control over your drug use.
• Your life revolves around drug use.
• You’ve abandoned activities you used to enjoy.
• You continue to use drugs, despite knowing it’s hurting you.
Right here in Allen, Auglaize, and Hardin Counties help is available for anyone suffering with an addiction, even an addiction to opiate based pain pill or heroin. Medications, intensive therapy, recovery coaching, housing, and even detox is available even for those without insurance. There are four easy ways for anyone to find out more:
1. Go to www.wecarepeople.org where you can find resources including agencies who provided substance abuse and opiate abuse recovery programs.
2. Call the HOPELine – 1-800-567-4673 and talk to a mental health and addiction professional.
3. Text 741741 to connect with a mental health and addiction professional.
4. Go to Coleman Professional Services, 799 S Main Street in Lima 7 days a week to the walk-in access center or the crisis center to get an immediate screening and talk to someone about your addiction.
Resources abound right here to get you on the road to recovery. Already over 400 people have sought and found recovery from an opiate addiction and hundreds more from substance abuse and other addictions like gambling right here, close to home. You can too!
Don’t wait any longer.
Michael Schoenhofer is the executive director of the Mental Health & Recovery Services Board of Allen, Auglaize, and Hardin Counties