Septem­ber is Na­tional Re­cov­ery Month

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - High­land Rivers Health LPC

What do you think of when you hear the word re­cov­ery?

If you had pneu­mo­nia, re­cov­ery may mean be­ing able to go back to work, en­joy­ing the ac­tiv­i­ties you did be­fore you were sick, and no longer be­ing fa­tigued or in bed. If you broke a leg in an ac­ci­dent, re­cov­ery may mean your cast has been re­moved, phys­i­cal ther­apy has been com­pleted and you are able walk or run as you did be­fore. In these ex­am­ples, re­cov­ery means re­turn­ing to the state of health and daily func­tion­ing you had be­fore.

For in­di­vid­u­als with men­tal ill­ness or ad­dic­tive dis­ease, re­cov­ery is very sim­i­lar — but also very dif­fer­ent. It is sim­i­lar be­cause men­tal ill­ness and ad­dic­tion re­cov­ery means re­gain­ing health and daily func­tion­ing. But it is dif­fer­ent be­cause men­tal ill­ness and ad­dic­tion are of­ten chronic con­di­tions, mean­ing they must be man­aged through a com­bi­na­tion or ther­apy, med­i­ca­tion and other sup­ports.

But per­haps a more im­por­tant dis­tinc­tion is that men­tal ill­ness and ad­dic­tion re­cov­ery is fo­cused on mov­ing for­ward.

In­deed, for an in­di­vid­ual with men­tal ill­ness, life be­fore re­cov­ery may have meant feel­ing worth­less and de­pressed, or per­haps hear­ing voices, ex­pe­ri­enc­ing ex­treme para­noia, or want­ing to hurt one­self or oth­ers.

Like­wise, an in­di­vid­ual with ad­dic­tion may have spent the ma­jor­ity of his or her time seek­ing and be­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of drugs or al­co­hol — and has lost jobs, friends, fam­ily or a place to live.

Un­der­stand­ably, in­di­vid­u­als work­ing to re­cover from men­tal ill­ness or ad­dic­tion usu­ally don’t want to go back to how things were ‘be­fore.’

In­stead, they want to learn to man­age their ill­nesses in ways that allow them to be healthy and func­tion as in­de­pen­dently as pos­si­ble.

This is why you rarely hear in­di­vid­u­als with men­tal ill­ness or ad­dic­tion say they are ‘re­cov­ered,’ but rather are liv­ing in re­cov­ery.

The Sub­stance Abuse and Men­tal Health Ser­vices Ad­min­is­tra­tion de­fines re­cov­ery as a process of change through which in­di­vid­u­als im­prove their health and well­ness, live self-di­rected lives and strive to reach their full po­ten­tial. As part of this process, SAMHSA has iden­ti­fied four key as­pects of a life in re­cov­ery:

Health: over­com­ing or man­ag­ing one’s dis­ease(s) or symp­toms and mak­ing in­formed, healthy choices that sup­port phys­i­cal and emo­tional well-be­ing;

Home: hav­ing a sta­ble and safe place to live;

Pur­pose: en­gag­ing in mean­ing­ful daily ac­tiv­i­ties (such as a job, school, recre­ation, fam­ily), and hav­ing the in­de­pen­dence and re­sources to par­tic­i­pate;

Com­mu­nity: hav­ing re­la­tion­ships and so­cial net­works that pro­vide sup­port, friend­ship, love and hope

Fi­nally, SAMHSA says, hope — the belief that these chal­lenges and con­di­tions can be over­come — is the foun­da­tion of re­cov­ery.

What’s no­table about this def­i­ni­tion is, first, re­cov­ery is rec­og­nized as a process. Just as re­cov­er­ing from a se­ri­ous in­jury or phys­i­cal ill­ness may re­quire weeks or months — or in some cases, years — men­tal health and ad­dic­tion re­cov­ery takes time and re­quires many dif­fer­ent in­ter­ven­tions and sup­ports.

Sec­ond, be­ing able to live in re­cov­ery not only means treat­ing the men­tal or ad­dic­tive dis­ease, but also ad­dress­ing those as­pects of daily life that sup­port phys­i­cal health, sta­bil­ity, in­de­pen­dence and com­mu­nity en­gage­ment. Re­cov­ery is holis­tic and in­volves ev­ery as­pect of an in­di­vid­ual’s life.

What’s most im­por­tant to know about re­cov­ery is that it is al­ways pos­si­ble. Peo­ple can and do re­cover from men­tal ill­ness, ad­dic­tion or both, and live healthy, in­de­pen­dent and pro­duc­tive lives in re­cov­ery.

If you’re strug­gling with men­tal ill­ness or ad­dic­tion, don’t wait to get help. The sooner you be­gin treat­ment, the sooner you can find hope and re­cov­ery.

Me­lanie Dal­las is a li­censed pro­fes­sional coun­selor and CEO of High­land Rivers Health, which pro­vides treat­ment and re­cov­ery ser­vices for in­di­vid­u­als with men­tal ill­ness, sub­stance use dis­or­ders, and in­tel­lec­tual and de­vel­op­men­tal dis­abil­i­ties in a 12- county re­gion of North­west Ge­or­gia that in­cludes Bar­tow, Chero­kee, Floyd, Fan­nin, Gilmer, Gor­don, Har­al­son, Mur­ray, Pauld­ing, Pick­ens, Polk and Whit­field coun­ties.

Pro­duc­tion crews have al­ready been busy as bees at the old soda foun­tain and cof­fee shops at the cor­ner of West Av­enue and Main Street to film scenes for an up­com­ing sea­son of a tele­vi­sion show.

The crew com­ing to town to use Cedar­town as a back­drop for the third sea­son of Hap and Leonard will be tak­ing over a few city streets as well at the end of the month, ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion re­leased to lo­cal busi­nesses late last week.

Stu Ste­gall Pro­duc­tions plans to use down­town streets from Tues­day, Sept. 26 through Fri­day, Sept. 29 and are an­nounc­ing their plans to shut some ar­eas down early in hopes to avoid any po­ten­tial traf­fic prob­lems.

Sharif Salama, the as­sis­tant lo­ca­tion man­ager for the show, de­tailed the plans for how the pro­duc­tion company will shoot dur­ing the week.

Dur­ing day­time hours, cer­tain streets will face in­ter­mit­tent de­lays in traf­fic, with full clo­sures dur­ing the overnight hours.

Start­ing on Tues­day, Sept. 26, Main Street will face de­lays dur­ing the

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