New Group Meets to Discuss, Battle Addiction in Pittsfield
On March 4, 2018, a group of more than 100 people met to discuss the addiction crisis in the United States, to celebrate their recoveries, to remember those who had not been so lucky, and to discuss how to keep moving forward toward a brighter future free from drug abuse.
The group, which met for the first time at the Berkshire Plaza Hotel to officially launch their new organization, is called Hope Fiends United in Recovery. Their name is a play on the term hopeless dope fiend and instead swaps the concept to become dopeless hope fiends. They believe that it is important to see good in every situation and to believe that anyone can achieve recovery.
Different speakers, mostly former substance abusers and recovering addicts, discussed their lives and experiences as well as the difficulties and rewards of recovery. Many of the survivors now have families, good jobs, and are part of other organizations meant to help recovering addicts. The meeting also included a slideshow of the faces of those who had lost the battle against addiction.
One of the speakers stated that addiction doesn’t discriminate against people and can happen to anyone. No matter what, the speakers reminded one another that recovery is possible, although it does take great effort and time.
Does Treatment Cure Addiction?
Unfortunately, no. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction treatment is not a cure because addiction itself is a chronic disease like heart disease, diabetes, etc. This means people usually struggle with addiction and its effects for a long time, sometimes even their whole lives. However, it doesn’t mean they can’t stop using drugs and control their addictions safely.
Treatment allows people to learn how to cope with their substance use disorders as well as how to avoid relapse. Medications can be helpful because they can treat one’s withdrawal symptoms and even minimize cravings, deterring a return to drug abuse. In addition, therapy can help patients learn to
- Recognize and avoid the triggers that could lead to cravings or abuse
- Understand the reasons behind their substance abuse, including mental illness
- Cope with mental illnesses that could have led to or been worsened by addiction
- Practice effective life skills that will allow them to live safe, healthy lives without drug abuse
Though treatment does not cure addiction, it certainly lays the groundwork for a strong recovery that is difficult to achieve without professional help.
What Happens After Treatment?
After addiction treatment, it is important to avoid substance abuse and to live by the lessons learned in rehab. Many people need multiple treatment programs over the course of their lives in order to fully recover or to stay sober, and others may require aftercare programs like 12-step groups or groups like Hope Fiends. Everyone’s recovery is different, but that doesn’t mean that the work ends after treatment. Everyone who has gone through a substance use disorder and come out the other side must continually work hard to fight relapse and stay healthy.