Start, Strengthen, Sustain!

July 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Research & Evaluation

Welcome to our live meeting.

What We Know

June 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Research & Evaluation

There are millions of Americans in long-term recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs, improving the lives of individuals, families and communities. Those in the faith community advocate for a recovery research agenda to provide policymakers, the media and citizens with more information on the pathways that these people have taken on their recovery journeys, as well as their numbers and experiences. Taxpayers have invested millions of dollars in understanding addiction. It is time to understand recovery – so that the 21 million Americans who still need help can experience long-term recovery from addiction.

Almost two-thirds of Americans have friends or family members who have struggled with addiction.
Source: “What Does America Think about Addiction Prevention and Treatment?” Harvard School of Public Health/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/ICR (2006)

Over 21 million Americans suffer from addiction or dependence on alcohol and drugs and have yet to experience recovery.
Source: “2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, US Department of Health and Human Services,” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Nearly two-thirds of Americans (66%) view addiction as a form of illness and something individuals cannot remedy alone.
Source: “What Does America Think about Addiction Prevention and Treatment?” Harvard School of Public Health/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/ICR (2006)

One in four people in recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction say they have been discriminated against when trying to obtain employment or insurance.
Source: “The Face of Recovery,” Peter D. Hart Research Associates (2001)

Addiction, left untreated, costs Americans more than 100,000 lives and $400 billion each year.
Source: “Updating Estimates of the Economic Costs of Alcohol Abuse in the United States: Estimates, Updated Methods, and Data,” H. Harwood (2000)

Every dollar spent on drug treatment in the community is estimated to return $18.52 in benefits to society in terms of reduced incarceration rates and associated crime costs to taxpayers.
Source: “Substance Abuse Treatment and Public Safety,” Justice Policy Institute (2008)

Attitudes Toward Alcoholism

June 3, 2009 by  
Filed under Research & Evaluation

In 1998, The Rush Recovery Institute commissioned Peter D. Hart Research Associates to conduct a first of its kind nationwide study on alcoholism. Members of the clergy, medical doctors, employers and people who have a current or recovering alcoholic in their immediate family were surveyed. The study quantifies the role of denial, stigma and shame, and lack of knowledge in preventing suffering alcoholics from seeking treatment.

The study reveals that:

  • 82% of doctors admit that MDs avoid addressing alcoholism in their patients, and only 39% of family members of alcoholics say the alcoholic’s doctor has raised the issue. However, 72% of those family members whose doctors have not intervened say that they would want the doctor to do so.
  • 50% of employers acknowledge that managers avoid addressing alcoholism in their employees.
  • 58% of clergy who counsel individuals and families make the same admission about their brethren.
  • Even an alcoholic’s immediate family members are likely to avoid the issue, with 50% revealing that they denied the problem to themselves for at least several years.

While the study details some substantial challenges facing the alcoholism recovery community, it also identifies many signs of hope. The groups that could take a greater role in responding to the problem have serious misgivings or hesitations that must be addressed, but they also show a willingness to take greater responsibility to help alcoholics find their way to recovery. As a result of the study, The Rush Recovery Institute has turned its focus on educating the clergy. They are the second group surveyed, behind doctors that alcoholics and their families turn to for help. The study showed the clergy to be the most receptive group to furthering education about the problem and assisting alcoholics and their families into recovery.

Spirituality and Healing Places

January 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Research & Evaluation

“The great fact is just this, and nothing less: That we have had deep and effective spiritual experiences which have revolutionized our whole attitude toward life, toward our fellow and toward God’s universe. The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous. He has commenced to accomplish those things for us which we could never do by ourselves.”
– Alcoholics Anonymous

cloudStudies confirm that spirituality can be a catalyst of recovery initiation, a protective shield in early recovery and an increasingly significant dimension of long-term recovery maintenance. As such, spirituality is a valid area to explore in the assessment and service planning processes. Clients’ understandings of spirituality exhibit significant shifts in how spirituality is defined and utilized over the course of recovery. Addiction counselors would be well advised to support each client’s unique, stage-dependent interpretation of spirituality (with or without belief in a higher power) and to approach spirituality within the larger framework of life meaning and purpose.

The role of spirituality in recovery initiation requires that we remain open to the power of sudden, transformative change. Many clients talk about a “turning point” in their lives in spiritual terms. Such experiences often occur in the context of near death experiences (from overdoses, suicide attempts, violent victimization), HIV/AIDS, addiction-related deaths of close friends and incarcerations. Addiction counselors can play an important role in enhancing the enduring influence of such experiences.

The evolving role of spirituality in long-term recovery dramatically underscores that recovery is much more than the removal of alcohol and other drugs from an otherwise unchanged life. Early recovery is marked by the stressors of disengaging from alcohol and other drugs and cleaning up the debris of one’s addiction. The successful resolution of these tasks is often followed by existential panic: “I’m sober. Now what do I do?” (Chapman, 1991; White, 1996). Moving through this crisis involves a transformational journey marked by major changes in character, values, identity, interpersonal relationships and lifestyle. Spirituality is a potential sense-making framework through which these transitions can be planned and retrospectively understood via story reconstruction. Addiction counselors can play an important role as a guide in this process and help each client construct a recovery-enhancing narrative of his or her life.