To enable is to give (someone or something) the authority or means to do something, usually out of love or to be helpful. While an enabler means well with their actions in most cases, when it comes to substance abuse, being an enabler can prolong a loved one’s addiction and allow them to push recovery further away. Most enablers don’t realize their actions could be hurting someone they love who is struggling with addiction, rather, they may feel that their actions are out of love, concern and protection.
Blog: News & Views from the Field
Dr. John Renner, a Spectrum Health Systems' board member and associate chief of psychiatry for the VA Boston Healthcare System, sits down for a Q&A
Veterans returning home from combat are at an increased risk for substance abuse. Many turn to substance misuse (drinking, drugs, or smoking) as a way to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, about 1 in 10 returning soldiers seen in the Veteran’s Administration (VA) have a problem with alcohol or other drugs.
One rewarding aspect of the work we do at Spectrum Health Systems is being able to see the positive impact that treatment can have on an individual’s life. We recently received an anonymous letter from a former client who sought help for a heroin addiction through our Residential Program (RP) in Westborough, Massachusetts. This client fought through the tough times and challenged himself/herself to pursue their dream of becoming an attorney. We couldn’t be more pleased to hear of this incredible accomplishment, as it gives hope to so many struggling with addiction disorders by showing that treatment and recovery can open many doors, and dreams never thought possible, can be attained.
Over the past few weeks, our vice president of business development – Donna Pellegrino – has shone a light on a powerful tool on the road to recovery: fitness. Working out and pursuing fitness goals creates a new outlet for stress relief and allows individuals in recovery to put their sometimes dangerous free time to healthy use. Some studies have already begun to identify fitness as a reputable lifestyle change activity and relapse prevention strategy. This is because exercise and physical activity can actually help return dopamine levels to pre-abuse heights.
Those who have escaped personal experience with active addiction may associate the word relapse with weakness, failure or giving up. This could not be further from the truth.
Addiction can happen to anyone. A next door neighbor, best friend’s son, cousin, or even mom and dad. Addiction knows no boundaries; it sees no race, gender, geography or economic status. Becoming addicted doesn’t always start with wandering down a dark alley with someone offering drugs. It’s as easy as going to the hospital for knee surgery, and without ever intending to, developing a dependency for pain killers that’s so powerful, no matter how hard an individual tries, is nearly impossible to stop without help.
There are many misperceptions in our society about people experiencing an alcohol or drug problem. They're called addicts, even failures. They are weak, lazy and have no self-control. They are homeless. They are worthless. They can’t be trusted. Would you be able to admit to yourself or to others that you are experiencing a problem, knowing this is how you would be judged?
In response to the continuing opioid epidemic, Spectrum recently expanded its business development department to help address the growing need for addiction treatment throughout New England. Lauren Cappello and Pat Anderson join Spectrum as regional business development liaisons. Spectrum’s business development team is headed by Vice President of Business Development Donna Pellegrino.
Spectrum's innovative work with the 'ANGEL Program' was recognized in a publication released in honor of President Obama's proclamation of Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week, observed for the first time from September 19 – 24, by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) and the Office of Community Policing Services (COPS Office).