Recovery fails, but not because of the addicts. But don’t call people with Substance or Alcohol Use Disorders addicts. After twenty years of seeing millions of families devastated by the ravages of addiction and experiencing real transformation and recovery in my own family, I know what works and what doesn’t. What we’re doing as families, communities and a nation isn’t working. Here are six reasons recovery fails, and none of them have anything to do with the sufferers.

  1. State and Federal bills to provide public information that aren’t funded. Families don’t receive the information they need to understand the brain disease of addiction and the ways it impacts the whole family.
  2. The Parity Act of 2009 requires coverage of treatment for addiction and mental illness but hasn’t been implemented by insurance companies. Families don’t get the coverage they need, which means most people don’t get treated.
  3. Hundreds of millions of dollars spent on research to determine evidence-based treatment is useless when there’s no funding to provide treatment or insurance companies to pay for it. Who will benefit by this research and how will it be implemented.
  4. Family members who desperately search the internet for treatment in state of crisis with no idea what they are looking at or what kind of treatment they will receive. Family members don’t know all the treatment options available and don’t have reviews to see what kind of care they can expect.
  5. Focusing on punishment and fixing persons with substance or alcohol use disorder instead of addressing the environment that caused it. The world doesn’t support and welcome people in recovery who don’t drink the way they support victims of physical diseases.
  6. Prevention programs in schools don’t exist. Kids don’t know what drugs do to their brains. They aren’t armed with the facts.

When Recovery Fails Can We Change

Recovery isn’t working because we won’t change. We really won’t change. We won’t fund education. We won’t fund public information. We won’t fund insurance. We won’t fund treatment. We won’t do our homework as parents.

If we truly want to stop the addiction epidemic, we have to make a few changes, in ourselves.

  1. Change the environment at home among parents so that toddlers, children and teens don’t grow up watching their parents drink and use drugs. Kids copy what they see.
  2. Change the environment at home to be truly welcoming of loved ones in recovery who can’t drink, smoke pot, do drugs. Would you stop drinking to save your child?
  3. Change the environment at school so that kids want to be healthy instead of cool.
  4. Change the environment at college so that drinking and drugging is not tolerated.
  5. Accept the fact that substance addiction changes brain function and behavior.
  6. The damage is not instantly reversed when using stops.
  7. Your loved one may take a decade to transform into the best that he or she can be.

Are we willing to change our habits, beliefs and lifestyle. Can we work together to create a different environment to save our children and teens?

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Leslie Glass

Leslie Glass became a recovery advocate and co-founder of Reach Out Recovery in 2011, encouraged by her daughter Lindsey who had struggled with substances as a teen and young adult. Learning how to manage the family disease of addiction with no roadmap to follow inspired the mother and daughter to create Reach Out Recovery's website to help others experiencing the same life-threatening problems. Together they produced the the 2016 ASAM Media Award winning documentary, The Secret World of Recovery, and the teen prevention documentary, The Silent Majority, distributed by American Public Television. In her career, Leslie has worked in advertising, publishing, and magazines as a writer of both fiction and non fiction. She is the author of 9 bestselling crime novels, featuring NYPD Dt.Sgt. April Woo. Leslie has has served as a Public Member of the Middle States Commission of Higher Education and as a Trustee of the New York City Police Foundation. For from 1990 to 2017, Leslie was the Trustee of the Leslie Glass Foundation. Leslie is a proud member of Rotary International.

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