News About Addiction, Recovery and Advocacy

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By, Merlyn Karst. Now in long-term recovery, I know the importance of being a vocal and visible voice. I believe in the power of my story but I also know that my story powers me.

If we want to see a tipping point in the way the general public supports recovery, we must listen to the science – and what science has to tell us is this: Sharing our stories is what moves people to be empathetic, generous and of service to the cause. So get out there and be an oxytocin-inducing agent in the world; get out there and be a catalyst for change; get out there and tell your recovery story.

My name is Camille, and I am the sister of someone in recovery. It is easy for family members affected by a loved one’s addiction to focus on the person using, forgetting their own stories. For years, I quietly silenced myself and pushed my own thoughts and experiences away. However, I have come to realize that family members of people in long-term recovery are also important. Our stories, too, should be shared, for we know intimately that recovery is possible and that it allows families to heal.

When we are open about our recovery status, family members of a loved one struggling with substance misuse know somebody they can reach out to for guidance and support.

Storytelling is powerful, and it has enormous benefits in store for you and those around you. Today we're going to talk about how storytelling can impact your life.

In times of crisis, it is a natural human reaction to seek a scapegoat at which to direct our emotions and to grasp for quick fixes for finding some sort of resolution. While directing our emotional response to the opioid crisis at drug dealers can bring relief and a sense of resolution, there are a number of problems with this approach.

In some segments of the recovery community, the idea of “attraction rather than promotion” has been transmitted down through generations and generations of people in or seeking recovery. While the original premise of this idea still holds tremendous value, a great disservice has been done by mixing up the original intention of “attraction rather than promotion” with a catastrophically distorted perception of what is meant by the saying.

It is noted that children who live in families in which there is a history of alcohol or drug abuse feel isolated and don't often have the coping skills to deal with their feelings of confusion, anger and a sense of loss.

As director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) under President Obama, Michael Botticelli put a human face on recovery while successfully advocating strategies to combat a crippling opioid epidemic. Yet a significantly lower-profile action taken in the waning days of his tenure could prove to define his legacy, with a potentially monumental impact on how society views substance use disorders and the people who live with them.

For many of us involved in addiction recovery advocacy work, somewhere along the way we learned that our stories have power, that our voices have power. As we have taken our advocacy efforts into the realm of social media, we have witnessed the sheer magnitude of reach contained in a single voice. With words, pictures and videos rapidly traveling across towns, cities, state lines and oceans separating continents, we see the extraordinary power contained in our voices. However, as the familiar saying goes, “with power comes great responsibility,” and we must always remember that every time we use our voices, we have the power to either help or harm.