I've never been very anonymous when it comes to the whole "anonymity" part of my alcoholism. It's been 15 years since I have had a drink and I understand that while some may need to remain anonymous in their recovery, a huge part of keeping sobriety is being willing to give it away to others who are still stuck in addiction. I am a firm believer that addiction is a multi level issue and that the substance is only part of the overall problem. Self medication to treat an underlying issue is what addiction is all about, and once that "easier path" is found with self medication it's progressive and can lead to the end and to blame the addict is like yelling at a child for spilling milk.
In Muskegon. We don't have an inpatient care center for those who suffer from addiction, even though we are number 1 in the state for the problem. We also don't have a lot of doctors that are able, or willing for that matter to treat people who are addicted medically for a number of reasons. One, because of the specialized training it takes to use medications like Suboxone and quite sadly, some shy away from treating addiction because of the stigma of the whole thing. On a very personal level....even though I was "just an alcoholic", I wouldn't be alive today had I not had an inpatient detox when my days were done. I could have never quit without the inability to go get more. I needed to be isolated for a few days, monitored for a heart attack because of the volume I drank and had I not had all that, I wouldn't have made it through the first night. I would have drank myself to death, end of the story. Alcohol is hard to break, and opiates are even harder, and that is today's issue.
There is hope though. The Salvation Army of Muskegon introduced their Turning Point program here a while ago. It's a multi level approach to treating those addicted to opiates, prescription or otherwise that does include a doctor who can treat with Suboxone, inpatient care as needed at the beginning in Grand Rapids and then, comprehensive outpatient recovery and monitoring after the initial detox to help those suffering from their addiction make the turn to a life beyond their greatest imagination free of the chains they found themselves in. The program based in Grand Rapids had so many people from Muskegon going there, they decided to get it going here and they currently have 40 people in recovery and working toward a new life, post addiction.
This all takes some funding of course. There will be an event on board the LST 393 on September 25th to help raise some money to go toward the treatment and recovery of these folks. Ryke's will cater, there will be personal stories of those who have "been there" when it comes to addiction and you'll get to understand a little better the work that's going on and how the needs are being met. This is a great opportunity to help out and take a step in the right direction to end this slavery for someone.
I met with Captain Chris Karlin of the Salvation Army and Robin Henshaw also of the Salvation Army to learn a little more about the program and the event. I should add, that I don't pull many punches when it comes to addiction, recovery, resources and instances I have been a part of. Take a listen.
Folks, I am no saint. Never claimed to be and don't think that I am better than anyone for a second. My addiction began when I was 12 and progressed until I was 33. I know first hand how utterly devastating addiction is not only to the person suffering it, but to everyone around them. You can't buy your way out of it, you can't hope it goes away, you can't shun those who are wrapped up in the never ending insanity of trying to reach that higher high because they can't find their way out. There is NO reason I am alive today other than to be able to try and grab a soul or two when I can and pull them out of their addiction and on top of that, there is NOTHING that hurts more than when you try to make that happen and fail. We need better treatment options. We need better understanding of the root cause of addictions and we need to be willing to end the shame and stigma surrounding those who suffer. If the Salvation Army is willing to help people take that first step, we'll be right here helping them spread that word. To learn more about the Salvation Army of Muskegon, learn more at http://www.samuskegon.org/ .