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Opinion: Celebrate sobriety during National Recovery Month

From The Herald-Dispatch of Huntington:

By Tammi Lewis

Valley Health Systems

September is Recovery Month, when we celebrate those who have stopped using drugs and alcohol, gotten sober and achieved the gift of recovery.

There is no cure for addiction. Recovery from substance use disorders is a process that takes time; it is not an event that miraculously happens. It takes a lot of work, work that can only begin once the abuse of drugs and alcohol stops.

Yet with all the focus on the current epidemic, little attention is given in the news to the over 23 million Americans living in recovery of substance use disorders or addiction, which includes both drugs and alcohol.

Recovery is a complex process that encompasses all aspects of a person physically, mentally/emotionally, socially and spiritually. It involves a redefinition of self that allows a person to recognize the need for change and transformation, which leads to healing from the shame and guilt of the addiction as well as other unresolved issues that have kept the addiction alive.

With the support of peers, this transformation – although not easy – is empowering.

Recovery gives the addict/alcoholic the gift of their choices back that the addiction took away. The gift of choice permits a person in recovery to become active, productive members of the community and reclaim their lives.

There are many pathways to recovery. With substance use treatment, one size does not fit all. However, no matter the road taken, the work has to be done if recovery is to be sustained.

Recovery can and does happen; you never know, the person next to you may be a friend of Bill. If you or someone you know needs assistance getting on the path of recovery, call 1-844-help4WV.

— Tammi Lewis is a licensed professional and advanced alcohol and drug counselor for Valley Health Systems in Hurricane. She has worked in the field of addiction and mental health in the Charleston area for 26 years.

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