By Trishna Buch
The image regarding dangerous substances, that is sent out
to young people, is that abusing these substances is the ‘cool’
thing to do. You see it all the time, with movies and television
shows, where the characters who are deemed as “popular”
and “cool” are the ones who are always seen with a beer or
a cigarette. It’s seen in these shows and movies when these
so-called “popular” characters, are seen throwing parties,
where drugs are easily available and passed around from
student to student (within the realm of the show or movie). It
is seen in these forms of media when the characters who refuse
to participate in taking these substances are deemed as
the “loser” or the “un-cool” character. But, despite what these
movies and shows try to send out, there is nothing “cool” or
“glamorous” about substance abuse.
Substance abuse is dangerous. When people get addicted
to these substances, it is very difficult to break that cycle. And
being addicted to these substances—whether they be drugs,
alcohol or cigarettes—does not only harm the addicted person,
but also their loved ones and those people in their vicinity.
When abusing substances, people tend to do things and
say things they would never consider doing if they were of
sound mind. Substance abuse brings pain, it brings sadness
and it needs to be dealt with.
Fortunately there are many websites and organizations out
there to help people deal with substance abuse. On one hand
it’s unfortunate that these websites need to exist, but fortunate
that they do. Each of these websites provide helpful tips
and resources for people and families dealing with substance
abuse. Each of these organizations have been created to
address the problem of substance abuse in our country, but
each organization has a different factor or method of dealing
with the issue. From counseling to education to ending devastation
caused by substance abuse; all of these organizations
are of significant importance to bringing an end to this
Smart Recovery (smartrecovery.org), is one organization
that focuses directly on helping the person who is addicted
to a particular substance. Through a four-point program, addicts
are able to free themselves from being bound by these
addictive behaviors. The organization teaches these recovering
individuals how to live fulfilling lives, provides meetings
with open-ended discussions and advocates for appropriate
medicinal use. Smart Recovery also provides information to
families and friends of people affected by substance abuse;
as to several other organizations.
As I mentioned before in the article, loved ones of a person
abusing substances are also negatively affected by the
addiction. Fortunately, organizations such as The Refuge
Center of Houston (www.therefugecenterhouston.com),
Shatterproof (www.shatterproof.org), The Addict’s Mom (addictsmom.
com/), Al-Anon (//al-anon.org/) and Adult Children
of Alcoholics (www.adultchildren.org/) are all equipped with
professional, counselling sessions and meeting designed
to help people deal with their loved ones substance abuse.
For example, The Refuge Center of Houston provides different
sessions—from pastoral counseling to family coaching
and indivdaul coaching—to both the individual affected
by the substances and their families. The Addict’s Mom is
an organization for mothers who have addicted children and
holds events—such as the “Lights of Hope” to raise awareness
to addiction, as well as to honor those people who are
recovering. Al-Anon prides itself on bringing people together
and showing individuals that they are not alone in dealing
with this issue. Al-Anon has a series of meetings, which can
take place both online and face-to-face, that are tailored to
the experiences of the individuals dealing with someone who
has a substance abuse problem. During these meetings,
people can share their experiences and offer suggestions
and comfort to other members. Al-Anon also has meetings
specifically for teenagers dealing with people who abuse
substances, called Alateen Meetings. And the Adult Children
of Alcoholics also holds meetings that brings together children
of addicts, codependents and alcholics—who may have
been exposed to abuse or neglect—learn to deal with their
past. These meetings can take place online, in person or over
the phone—and include following a twelve step program to
help people come to terms with their past and the affect their
parent’s addiction has had on them.
There are also organizations like The National Center on
Addiction and Substance Abuse (www.centeronaddiction.
org) which aims to educate the public about addiction, the different
substances out there and how to help people affected
by these substances. There is also A New Path (www.anewpath.
org/) which consists of citizens, recovering individuals,
community leaders and healthcare professionals who
all work together to educate people on addiction disease.
There is also Moms United (www.momsunited.net) which
aims to stop the mass incarceration of substance addicted
individuals, and calls for drug policy reform. And there is the
National Association For Children Of Addiction (nacoa.org/)
which consist of courses and training to help children who
are/were affected by a parent’s addiction to dangerous substances.
The organization also seeks to provide education,
raise awareness and advocate for programs and services.
Finally, there is the organization Celebrate Recovery (www.
celebraterecovery.com/) which is a program that uses the
principles of the Bible to bring its participants to a place of
hope and healing.
If anyone you know is suffering from substance abuse, or if
you or anyone you know has a family member suffering from
substance abuse, please do visit these websites, and direct
that person you to know to visit the website as well. I only
provided a brief touch on the services offered by each organization.
More detailed information is on the website itself, so I
urge you all to take a look if you deem it necessary.
By Trishna Buch