12 step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), have been helping people recover from addiction for over 80 years. These programs are based on the idea that addiction is a disease that requires a spiritual solution. While 12 step programs may not be for everyone, they have helped countless individuals find lasting recovery from addiction. Keep reading to learn more about their key values.
Perhaps the biggest myth about drug and alcohol addiction , also called substance use disorder, is that those who are suffering simply lack willpower or moral principles. However, substance use disorder is a complex disease that can profoundly affect an individual’s life. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), substance use disorder is a “chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use,” despite the harmful consequences to the individual who is addicted and to those around them. If you are concerned that you, or someone you know, may be struggling with addiction, there are several signs and symptoms that you can look out for.
On Sunday mornings, Parkdale’s patients wake up early, strap on their boots, and head to the Reins of Life horse farm to volunteer. Why? What do they do there? What are the benefits of volunteer work in early recovery?
"The opposite of addiction is connection." - Johann Hari
When in recovery, those who suffer from substance use disorder are more likely to succeed with long-term recovery when they are surrounded by a strong community of positive, supportive individuals. These personal relationships might include trained clinicians, peers, family members and relatives. Unfortunately, family members and close friends are also deeply affected by their loved one’s addiction. They may struggle with guilt, shame, anger, blame, and co-dependence.
The connection between substance use disorders (SUD) and co-occurring mental health disorders is well documented. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Multiple national population surveys have found that about half of those who experience a mental illness during their lives will also experience a substance use disorder and vice versa.”Our experience here at Parkdale Center finds co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders to be even more frequent.
Service work is an important part of recovery - from our 12th step of carrying the AA message to our fellows, preparing the meeting coffee at your in-person AA or NA meeting, volunteering to read a passage at an online meeting to doing work for organizations in our communities. With so many ways to help, where do we begin?