Family and community vital to helping addicts recover, month dedicated to raise awareness

Written by: 
Emmalee Smith

September marked National Recovery Month, which was designed to raise awareness among family, friends, and community to help those who are in dark times, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA).

The SAMSHA website reports the month’s theme was called “Join the Voices for Recovery: Strengthen Families and Communities” in order to turn the focus to those surrounding addicts and educating them on how to help. Specifically, the site recommends families and communities welcome addicts and not reject them or detach themselves from them.

According to HelpGuide, an online guide to mental and emotional health, the word “addiction” comes from the Latin word meaning “enslaved by” or “bound to.” There are many kinds of addictions the site lists, including alcohol, tobacco, other drugs including prescription drugs, sex, video gaming, gambling, shopping, food, work, and being online.

A man named Eric shared his story of addiction on SAMHSA’s website. He said he chose his way of recovery by actually helping others with the same problems he suffers through. SAMHSA quotes Eric who said, “I strongly support peer-to-peer recovery. I go to a HOPE center every day after work and volunteer there.

“I always play music and try to get people involved with that because there's a lot of people that sing, play guitar, drums, draw, paint, and coloring. When they get involved with music or art and get their creativity flowing, they seem to be able to get outside themselves for a little while.”

Elder Wall, an Office of Honor senior missionary, said he worked in medical camps and addiction facilities for 37 years. He said he saw clients react well and start to recover using methods such as motivational interviewing, which can help one find motivation, positive decisions, and goals.

Wall added that Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) involves helping people to develop useful skills to better regulate their emotions and become aware of other useful skills they have or can use.

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, there are many characteristics that are noticeably part of people with addictions. Its online report says, “They are unable to continually stop, develop an impairment of judgement and behavioral control, cravings, less able to recognize problems in behavior and relationships and poor emotional responses.”

Rizal Takin, a freshman TESOL education major from Malaysia, said, “I think video gaming is the most common addiction on campus that I’ve seen. Some people will play every day and stay up at night from 10 p.m. all the way until early in the morning.”

Takin said he is surprised to see how they choose to play video games instead of studying or going out with friends. “As a student, this addiction can affect their education and social life.”

In his talk titled “O That Cunning Plan of the Evil One,” Elder Russell M. Ballard shared a story of a woman who was recently in a psychiatric unit due to her reliance on prescription painkillers. Elder Ballard said she had hurt her back in a car accident two years prior and was given medication from her doctor to relieve the “almost unbearable pain.” Because she thought she needed something more, she forged prescriptions and finally resorted to buying heroin.

Ballard continued, “Her obsession with drugs caused her marriage to fail. She told me that besides helping to dull her pain, the drugs also provided a short-term but heightened sense of euphoria and well-being. But each dosage of drugs lasted only a few hours, and with each use the duration of relief seemed to lessen. She began to take more and more of the drugs and got caught up in the vicious cycle of addiction.” 

Date Published: 
Saturday, October 7, 2017
Last Edited: 
Saturday, October 7, 2017