Parallel Recovery for Families
August 31st is International Overdose Awareness day. It is a day set aside to recognize and honor the lives lost to an accidental overdose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report their final numbers for 2022 at 109,680 lives lost to a drug overdose. This number does not take into account the nearly 100,000 more lives lost to alcohol related reasons in the same time frame.
Each August, I pause to remember, and name those who lost their battle that I was honored to know in some way. - either personally, or through their families.
National Recovery Month
Following overdose awareness month and International day of remembering, is September. A month of changes. Cooler evening, shorter days, retreating flowers, changing colors.
September is also National Recovery Month, dedicated to educating Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can empower those with a mental health and/or substance use disorder to live a healthy and rewarding life. National Recovery Month promotes and supports new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices and celebrates the nation’s strong and proud recovery community and wider inclusive communities who make recovery in all its forms possible.
September is why I show up each day speaking the message of Parallel Recovery for family and support systems. I know that when families engage in their own recovery journey, guided by evidence based support, tools and modalities, their loved ones have a 64% success rate in seeking reduced use or complete abstinence. Families who engage in this support for a year or longer see an 82% success rate in this same area. This is in comparison to a 17% success rate with traditional family support models that have been the standard of offered to families.
Potential Impact of Parallel Recovery
I cannot help but put those percentages into the alarming number above of lives lost to an overdose in 2022 and wonder if 70,195 lives could have been saved had their families been offered and they engaged in the hard work of Parallel Recovery.
Could the pendulum begin to shift if families committed to and engaged in their own program of recovery? Could next year’s numbers show a change and feeling of hope bigger than the fear and overwhelm felt today by many people struggling with substance use in their families?
I believe the answer is YES! Waiting around for someone else to change is tiring. Placing power on treatment professionals alone to help your person is a bet that my family did not have time to wait on.
September is National Recovery Month. What better time to say YES to engaging in the story of hope? What better way to model to your loved one that this is not a THEM problem with a THEM solution. This is OURS and WE will seek recovery together.
Recovery is for EVERYONE, every PERSON, every FAMILY, every COMMUNITY!