On Friday I met two artists, a dad, a mother, a grandmother, and a young woman who loves working with people with disabilities. The one thing they all had in common was that they were proud to be in recovery from drug addiction. For some their recovery was new and they were just learning how to live in a world that was clear and clean but different than one they had known. One young woman said that she had "used" for so long, since she was a teenager, that she was learning how to have fun again.
Every one of these individuals was so grateful to be given another chance at life. They all felt regret for what they had put loved ones through, "My mother just didn't know how to help me," one young man said. Yet now that they were "clean" they felt a new joy at being able to live each day and a little fear that the addiction was still lurking in the shadows. The agency staff who accompanied them to our filming were like family or good friends they depended on.
A young woman who described herself as an artist kept watching the door as we spoke. I asked her who she was looking for and she said that her case worker promised to be there with her on this big day of her film debut. I asked her how she had come to be in recovery and she told me that members of her church had reached out to her and that eventually "like a seed planted in good soil" the seed of their intervention struck. She was looking forward to going camping that weekend.
All across the state similar scenes are being replicated as people discover they can reclaim their lives from the ravages of addiction. Our communities of Lima, Kenton, St. Mary's, and Wapakoneta are implementing a Recovery Oriented System of Care which is a shift away from a crisis-oriented, problem-focused, and professionally directed model to a proactive, solution-focused approach directed by the person in recovery.
This is the BIG NEWS: Addiction is a chronic illness. Recovery is a lifetime journey that builds on a person's strengths and resources, both internal and external.
Mental Health & Recovery Services Boards across the state under the guidance of the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities are putting this into practice and it is making a huge difference.
Here is even BIGGER NEWS: People are not only getting well and recovering but they are being hired in our system to help others on their own journey, their own pathway to recovery.
I have never been more excited or more hopeful in my 20 years of work in this field. Hundreds of people right here in our community are in recovery because of the help they are getting right here in our community.
Watch for our short film being produced by Modo Media and starring people in recovery from our own communities. Recovery IS beautiful.