RecoveryBlog

RecoveryBlog - A BLOG FOR RECOVERY ADVOCATES!

Our recovery advocacy blog is produced by individuals in recovery!  Here you will find commentary and personal discussions on different aspects of addiction recovery and advocacy. 

 

The concept of karma holds that one’s fate in this life or future lives is not a random roll of the dice, but a direct product of one’s thoughts and actions. Rooted in many of the great religions and a central motif within Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, karma is mistakenly confused in popular culture with the idea of good or bad luck. In contrast, karma suggests the presence of a universal principle of justice–that the decisions one makes or the actions one takes or fails to take have inevitable consequences. This principle can be found in many popular aphorisms.

“What is the best approach to the supervision of peer recovery support service specialists within the addictions field?” is a question that, at present, remains unanswered.

No, this is not a column written for publication by a financial journal. It is, however, intended to address another form of capital investment. It is about the importance of accrual of recovery capital in overcoming addiction to alcohol and other drugs. It is an investment that pays big dividends.

If recovery is more than the removal of alcohol and other drugs from an otherwise unchanged life, then the focus of recovery support interventions should shift from a strict RP focus (a process of problem subtraction) to an RM focus on achieving global health (a process of addition) and increasing one’s potential for a both personal fulfillment and social contribution (a process of multiplication).

The intergenerational transmission of addiction and related problems has been documented for more than two centuries. Put simply, the children of alcohol and other drug (AOD) dependent parents are at increased risk of developing such problems, even when raised in alternative environments. Risks are amplified when combined with other factors, e.g., adverse childhood experiences, early age of onset of drug use, co-occurring medical or psychiatric disorders, enmeshment in drug-saturated social environments, and limited problem-solving assets.

There is a great chasm of difference between revenge and justice. While these two words are often used interchangeably, it is extraordinarily important that we recognize how seeking revenge and pursuing justice are not one and the same when it comes to addressing the opioid overdose crisis in this nation.

Multiple factors can interact to increase vulnerability for the development of alcohol and other drug-related (AOD) problems in older adults. Those same factors can pose threats to older adults in long-term addiction recovery. In the former situation, older adults who did not experience such problems during their formative and maturing years develop AOD problems late in life. In the latter situation, individuals with years or decades of stable recovery experience a recurrence of such problems with potentially profound or fatal consequences. (The shame from losing long-held sobriety and elder status within a recovery community can be a significant obstacle to recovery re-stabilization.) We have observed four root causes of such vulnerabilities in both circumstances.

The just-published Recovery Research Institute (Massachusetts General Hospital) survey found that 9.1% of U.S. adults report they “use to have a problem with alcohol or drugs but no longer do.” This prevalence rate is comparable to earlier epidemiologic studies on rates of remission for alcohol and drug use disorders (See here for a review) and would translate to approximately 22.35 million U.S. adults who have resolved alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems. The rate of remission for substance use disorders in earlier surveys ranges from 5.3% to 15.3% of the adult population—an estimated 25 to 40 million U.S. adults (not including those in remission from nicotine dependence alone).

The numbers are eye-opening and heart-breaking: Each year in the United States, there are more than 50,000 drug-related deaths, 88,000 deaths from excessive alcohol use, and more than 480,000 tobacco-related deaths. (Yes, we still collect these data in separate categories since alcohol and tobacco have historically not been defined as “drugs.”) Collectively, that is more than 600,000 deaths per year and more than six million lives lost in the past decade as a direct consequence of prescription and illicit drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.

Crisis begets opportunity. Hurricanes blow things apart and people together. Wildfires drive people out, and yet together. Mass shootings scatter people, and then bring them together. Survivors gather in mutual and sustaining support. From history and now today, we hear the words— together we shall… Entities were built on foundations of ritual and fellowship. Those foundations remain for all to build on. A sense of ritual brings order, and fellowship brings understanding, love, and care for fellow beings. In times of crisis, communities and families come together. Together we bring help, hope, healing, love and resiliency. “ What we need to do is always lean into the future; when the world changes around you and when it changes against you—what used to be a tail wind is now a head wind —you have to lean into that and figure out what to do because complaining isn’t a strategy.” -Jeff Bezos