Anonymous Recovery and Moving Forward

Throughout history in the United States, there has been a trend in treatment and recovery circles to place a high priority on privacy and anonymity when it comes to addressing one’s struggle with alcohol and drugs. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous have long promoted anonymity among their fellowships. There is also the social stigma and public condemnation that sometimes come with having a substance problem. So, there is a certain practicality and even necessity one might say to keeping these issues out of sight despite the fact that a large number of families are impacted by alcohol & drug problems. It is an exceedingly common problem in America and has been for a very long time.

What often does not get promoted publicly are the multitude of people who do eventually get clean and sober and stay that way. Through treatment, 12 Step Programs, and spiritual-based programs many individuals find a new, productive, sober life. This goes on mostly under the radar. Consequently, what we often see and hear in the news media are drunk driving arrests and a variety of horrific tragedies. While this serves an important function to warn people of the dangers of substance abuse, it also skews public perception with the emphasis falling on addiction and its consequences. The story too often ends right there.

There is a movement in the United States encouraging people in recovery to help change the public dialogue and public focus to that of recovery. Addiction, as an illness, is treatable. Treatment works. Recovery happens. Lives change. People learn to live substance free, to manage their addictive disease, embrace recovery and reclaim their lives. This too happens on a daily basis. But it occurs as a gradual process that grows with time. Recovery is typically not a dramatic headline or shocking film footage like a large scale methamphetamine bust on the nightly news or a drunk person crashing their car into a restaurant.

Recovery is that beautiful and meaningful change which occurs on the inside of a person day after day over time. No explosions or TV drama. But important nonetheless, and real – as real as addiction. Recovery from addiction is a reality that we must celebrate, talk about, and spotlight. While it’s not about stroking egos or pats on the back, we need to get the message out to all people that addiction to alcohol or drugs does not have to be a death sentence or the end of the road. If a person truly desires a new path, then recovery … and life … are possible. It happens every day all around us. It’s happening right now all over the country. People are making the commitment to live sober, and they are making that their new reality … one day at a time.

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