Addiction Education and Awareness: National Addictions Awareness Week

In these times of more lockdowns in a devastating pandemic, of election chicanery in the U.S., the concept may be somewhat muffled this year, but it will be there. Addiction education and awareness is at the forefront for this year’s National Addictions Awareness Week.

Addiction.

Whether we think about it or not, it isn’t going away anytime soon.

National Addictions Awareness Week is set aside to make sure we keep it in the forefront of our minds.  Aurora Recovery Centre and its loyal staff and alumni are hoping you do, too.

It is hard to talk about addiction without talking about recovery. In fact, I prefer to talk about the latter.

I am a man in long term recovery. For me, that means I haven’t found it necessary to ingest any mind- or mood-altering substances for over 3 decades. No booze, no recreational drugs. In my mind, I’m in recovery.

That doesn’t mean I’m sane. Especially on the golf course when things aren’t going in the direction I think they should be. But, I remain in recovery. Steadily, for over three decades, I have had this priority in my life, this awareness, that I have a medical condition that requires my attention. For me, that awareness is a daily priority and has been for more than half my life now.

Others I know are in recovery from food and eating disorders. Others are in recovery from pornography addiction. From working too much. From codependency. From gaming, from gambling. Their addictions, and their recovery, are not necessarily like mine. It is certainly their choice to determine what being in recovery means.

I don’t get to speak for anyone else in recovery. I only get to tell my story, how it works for me. My job is to be aware of the issues around addiction.

Hence National Addictions Awareness Week.

It took me a while to find the way. I first went to treatment while in the military. I was in trouble with alcohol and drugs and I was still a teenager. I came out of treatment unwilling to admit to my innermost self that substances were the problem. I believed I could overpower my issue by using more willpower.

That denial of the strength of addiction almost killed me. Even having been in treatment for addiction, I somehow remained unaware.

Again, the importance of addiction education and awareness.

Seven years later, I came to the point of begging for recovery again. This time my resume included suicide attempts. Jail cells. Divorce. Bankruptcy.  This time I was sincerely looking for help, wanting to change, not just get out of trouble.

And I really didn’t believe it would work.

I stayed. I fought my demons. I tried, not just thought about, doing things differently. My body kept showing up to meetings, to late-night coffee sessions, to workshops, to counsellors. My mind eventually followed. I got healthy.

I intend to stay healthy. I know what I need to do. There is a rhythm to recovery after a while. I walk to it; I don’t need to run. I haven’t had an honest desire to drink or drug in so long, I can’t remember. It’s been decades. That is what recovery has done to me, for me.

I know the world is hurting, struggling with the coronavirus, with the politics of the current times in which we live. As a veteran, as a journalist, I am reasonably well-read, reasonably well aware of what goes on around the world. War. Hatred. Greed abounds. But so do kindness. Compassion. Respect. I have learned that I can’t change the energy of the masses, I can only deal with me.

But, I need to be educated first.

CCSA’s National Addictions Awareness Week brings focus to addiction education and awareness in a more heightened way.

Thankfully, my life no longer revolves around addiction.

Like many millions of us who have found an answer that works, my life revolves around recovery, and recovery weaves a comfortable quilt around my life.

This week, let us become aware of the problem so we can focus on the solutions.