Addiction can hit at any time.
My earliest memory is from age two.
My sister and I were using a combine harvester as a jungle gym when I missed the bar and landed hard on my feet. No one noticed anything wrong at first.
I was young enough that suddenly wanting to be carried around more didn’t seem odd. It wasn’t until days later when my parents took me to the doctor that a debilitating fracture was discovered.
Addiction often follows a similar course: the person with an addiction may not know what’s wrong or be able to express that something is amiss. Then, people around that individual do not always recognize signs of trouble.
This reality, unfortunately, means that too few people get the help they need for their addictions.
Addiction and its treatment represent a serious challenge.
Drug overdoses killed more than 70,000 Americans in 2017. Among those deaths, 68% involved a prescription or illicit opioid drug.
Other data shows nearly 12 million people are misusing opioids each year.
This epidemic continues to spread and hits close to home – no matter where you live.
For the health and wellbeing of families and individuals of all ages, we have to break the cycle of addiction in which so many are caught.
Here are three important steps toward recovery:
1) Don’t Wait
The time to get help with addiction is now.
Once a person takes the initial steps toward recovery efforts, it may take years for certain behaviors to feel entirely “normal” again.
No matter how long addiction has existed, recognize the problem at hand. Then, get started on the solution.
In my daily work with drug courts, I’ve seen many people from all walks of life succeed.
Even surviving decades-long addictions.
2) See the Doctor
We don’t think twice about having healthcare professionals fix our broken legs.
We should just as easily ask them to help treat addiction as well. In Tennessee, a practice known as SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment) can connect you to a clearly designed recovery plan.
Ask your doctor if they participate, and inquire about other addiction treatment services available.
3) Trust the Process When Facing Addiction
You may have heard that “it often gets worse before it gets better” when fighting addiction.
However, temporary discomfort from withdrawal surely pales in comparison to lasting sobriety.
Recovery has many pathways, and they all involve – trusting a sponsor, a counselor, a psychiatrist, even a higher power.
Whatever method you choose, believe in this wise decision you’ve made.
We all know someone who’s been affected by addiction. At the same time, we also know those who have beat addiction as well.
The time is now to take that first brave step into treatment.
Let’s get started!
About the author
Michael Reynolds is Program Manager for eRecovery, a technology-enhanced service in collaboration with the 12th Judicial District Drug Court that provides treatment for adults with mental illness and addiction who are in the criminal justice system.