Recovery is a beautiful thing

Recovery from addiction is often a scary and unimaginable future for addicted people. To contemplate living a life free of alcohol or drugs is as unimaginable as going to Mars. It seems like an unobtainable goal, though one that is often thought about, known to be the right thing to do, and that needs to happen to get their one and only life back on track. It just seems like an impossibility. Recovery may seem like something that other people might be able to do but seems out of the grasp of others. To not use a chemical that has become a friend to the addicted person and to abandon using as a part of their daily lives can be a terrifying prospect, even with all of the negative consequences that go along with their continued use of alcohol and drugs.

Many people contemplating recovery are afraid that their lives will become dull. Many are frightened of who they may become without the chemicals in their lives. They are so used to having the comfort of the drugs, which often take away feelings of anxiety, depression, and low self-worth that they experience when not using.

However, many people in recovery are testaments to how beautiful life can be without alcohol and drugs in their lives. They often report how much more free and happy they are without chemicals. They have fewer regrets and report a new found way of living each day to its fullest. They find a balance in their lives that they did not think possible and, through working a recovery program, they see the world in a different and more positive way than they thought was possible. Not that every day is a gleeful one — they still have those daily ups and downs of life. However, they have a sense of knowing how to handle those events and days in their lives that were so unimaginable before recovery, and are thankful for the ability to do it without drinking or using.

The unknowns of recovery are often the biggest obstacle to deciding to access treatment and recovery. What could a counselor or “one of those meetings” possibly to do to change my life and take away the cravings and obsession that I have lived with for so long? Many contemplating their alcohol and chemical use feel that, as stated earlier, it “may work for other people but not for me.” But that is exactly how many people who are living recovery say they felt as well. They found it could work for them. They just had to decide to give recovery a chance.

It needs to be easier for those who live with addiction to access treatment, and it needs to be less scary. Assistance needs to be offered in finding the right resources and more outreach programs need developed and implemented. We at the Washington County Behavioral Health Board are working to provide better treatment and recovery options available to those in Washington County. We have taken and are taking steps to reduce the obstacles to recovery.

Our staff, board, and community members will be celebrating recovery month in Muskingum Park on Saturday, Sept. 22, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. We urge all of you, especially if you are in recovery or simply contemplating recovery, to join us. We will have free resource guides available listing the services available in our county. If you cannot attend, email me at bphipps@wcbhb.org with your name and mailing address and we will mail you the resource guide. You may also call 211, a referral hotline, for more information about some of the services that are available.

Recovery is a beautiful thing. Treatment works. People do recover.

Brent Phipps is a Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor and Deputy Director of The Washington County Behavioral Health Board.

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