The Betty Ford Institute defines it saying, “There is an unknown but very large number of individuals who have experienced and successfully resolved dependence on alcohol or other drugs. These individuals refer to their new sober and productive lifestyle as ‘recovery’. Although widely used, the lack of a standard definition for this term has hindered public understanding and research on the topic that might foster more and better recovery-oriented interventions.”
Although recovery is attainable, the fact is that most people cannot just walk away, without help, from addiction, which is also known as Substance Use Disorder (SUD). They need assistance to change addictive behavior and resolve root causes. SUD is a disease, and there are ways to get better. People can get the help they need with treatment, through the support of health care professionals and positive relationships. A person with SUD can regain a healthy, productive life.
NorthLakes Community Clinic offers Recovery Services starting with outpatient assessments and counseling. Recovery from substance use disorders is a process of change and is ongoing. SUD can be an addiction to any drug, such as alcohol, tobacco, pain pills or other medications, or street drugs. NorthLakes emphasizes 5 components of recovery, they include: Health, Purpose/Support, Medication Treatment, Education or Knowledge, and Community.
Health: Overcoming and refraining from the use of alcohol, drugs, and non-prescribed medications if there is an addiction problem, and for everyone to make healthy choices that support you physically and emotionally.
Purpose and/or Support: An individual has meaningful resources to involve themselves in society, or job or school. They need support. Support from peers, family, friends and mental health professionals. Multiple sources of support are beneficial. Examples include individual counseling and support groups. Being able to interact with others who understand their experiences is important in recovery.
Medication Assisted Treatment: Not everyone is a fit for having medication as part of their treatment. Medication Assisted Treatment combines the use of medication along with counseling and other support to treat substance use disorders. Taking medication for addiction is like taking medication to control heart disease or diabetes. Used properly, the medication does not create a new addiction. It helps people manage their addiction so that the benefits of recovery can be maintained.
Education or knowledge: It is important to learn as much as possible about illnesses, medications, best treatment, and available resources by talking with health care providers and/or support groups. It is also important to learn about ourselves so we can better control over our illnesses.
Community: We all need relationships and networks that provide support, friendship, love and hope.
Even if a person is not sure if their drinking habits or medication/drug use are not healthy, the mere suspicion that things may not be going well is a good reason to consider getting an SUD Assessment. But certainly if use of drugs/medication or alcohol has gone from being fun or functional management of physical pain to a craving or necessity, that should raise a red flag. Unfortunately, addiction has been stigmatized, and often people feel embarrassment about seeking help. However, there is absolutely no reason to feel any shame. SUD is a disease, just like diabetes or heart disease.
There are a few basic steps to getting into a recovery program.
- Individuals can call one of NorthLakes’ clinic locations that offers substance use disorder counseling (Ashland, Iron River, Hayward) to get scheduled for an SUD Assessment with our of substance use counselors. Patients may also contact other area facilities that provide substance use services: Memorial Medical Center, Bad River Health and Wellness Center, Red Cliff Community Health Center, and Lac Courte Oreilles Community Health Center.
- Based on the person’s assessment the counselor will work with the individual to determine what the best level of care and treatment options will be to meet and support the person’s needs and steps to recovery.
- Treatment options may include individual counseling, group counseling, intensive outpatient program, day treatment, and/or medication assisted treatment (MAT). Some people may need a higher level of care that is not offered in the area such as residential or inpatient detox, in which case the counselor will help refer them to appropriate treatment.
- Counselors may refer a person to meet with our Board Certified Addiction Doctor for a MAT consultation. Together they will determine if medication is appropriate and if it should be added to support the person’s treatment. It is important to know that medication will not be appropriate for every person receiving treatment, but a consult visit will help determine if MAT is appropriate to assist in treatment and recovery.