Captain of Noah’s Ark Found Drunk – now that I have your attention, I wanted you to know that October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month.
The best way to prevent substance abuse is to talk about it and acknowledge that it is a problem for every community. People die every day of alcoholism, opioid addiction, and other substance use disorders.
While the numbers are staggering (about 140 US citizens die every day from opioid overdose and 240 from alcoholism) these are not numbers to me. I lost my brother Jeff to an accidental opioid overdose in 2010 and my best friend Jerry to alcoholism in 2012. Jeff’s and Jerry’s passing led to my mission, passion, and purpose of preventing substance abuse and treating those suffering from substance use disorders.
Drinking alcohol is not bad, it is part of our culture, although for some drinking alcohol is fatal. Alcohol is not bad, but alcoholism is devastating. It's not how often one drinks; it’s not how much one drinks, it’s what happens when one drinks that determines if they are a heavy drinker or perhaps an alcoholic – in other words, if their drinking is not a problem, it’s not a problem.
Problem drinking is as old as the story of Noah’s Ark. Noah drank and there were serious negative consequences. He got drunk and cursed his grandson to be a slave. Let's prevent substance abuse, let’s talk about it.
Addiction is an illness, not a moral or ethical problem or a lack of will power. There should be no guilt or shame associated with having the disease of alcoholism or addiction. Just as a diabetic is not responsible for having the disease of diabetes, an alcoholic is not responsible for having the disease of addiction, however, the diabetic and the alcoholic are responsible for their treatment.
In addition to thinking addiction is a choice, another reason we do not readily talk about substance abuse is denial. Denial, being a symptom of alcoholism, shields prevention efforts. Education and awareness can lower this shield of denial. If you have read this far you likely know of someone that may have a problem with drugs or alcohol and the good news is that professional help is readily available.
I have had the privilege of helping alcoholics, addicts, and their families since 1998. Below are some steps you or your loved ones can use to help prevent substance abuse in your home.
- Community: Isolation is a symptom of alcoholism and addiction. Having a healthy support group such as regular attendance at SMART recovery, Refuge Recovery, Celebrate Recovery, JACS, or 12 Step Meetings and having close sober friends are effective prevention and treatment methods.
- The Basics: Those in active addiction often have neglected the basics of good health such as sleep, exercise and eating. Sleep: A good night's rest is easier with a nighttime routine that may include meditation, herbal tea, essential oil, a night mask, a weighted blanket, and a high-quality mattress. Exercise: Medically appropriate exercise such as weight training, yoga, water aerobics and enjoyable physical recreational activates like hiking. Eating: Healthy and nutritious meals - if we eat food as medicine then we are less likely to eat medicine as food.
- Comprehensive Prevention: the most effective addiction and alcoholism treatment (and therefore prevention) is comprehensive and includes medical, clinical, holistic, and spiritual modalities. An individual that may have an addiction problem should be very honest with their physician. Individual and/or group therapy with a licensed professional counselor is recommended. Holistic care may include art therapy, equine therapy, music therapy, a favorite hobby, or meditation.
Addiction and alcoholism took my brother Jeff and my best friend Jerry but there is hope, I have dozens of friends who have overcome their alcoholism and addictions and they are now living healthy, joyous, and abundant lives. In honor of Jeff and Jerry I have dedicated my life to preventing and treating alcoholism and addictions. I hope that you are successful in preventing substance abuse and if I can help you it would be an honor.
Reach the Writer of this article: Mitch Prager is the founder of Soberman’s Estate and he can be reached at Mitch@SobermansEstate.com or (480) 595-2222.