Letter: Help those in recovery

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September is National Recovery Month; every year millions of Americans deal with a substance abuse disorder. It’s important that we offer support to these members of our community.

When we offer support instead of judgment, when we encourage people to seek help, we send the message that recovery is possible. Substance abuse disorders affect people of all ethnicities, ages, genders, geographic regions and socioeconomic levels. When we tell stories that suggest someone “failed” or “blew it” or was “weak,” we perpetuate the myth that these disorders are moral failings. They are not; they are chronic health conditions that need treatment and can be effectively managed.

People who recover from substance abuse disorders go on to lead stable, whole, meaningful lives. People who embrace recovery form stronger relationships with their neighbors, family members and peers. They are healthier, both physically and mentally. They give to their communities as stable employees and generous citizens. As a community we should celebrate those individuals that are in recovery from substance use disorders.

As CEO of Lifeline Connections, a substance use and mental health treatment center, I know that, together, we can help our neighbors, friends and family members who struggle with these disorders find the hope, help and healing they need.