Out of the Frying Pan and into Addiction Recovery

Remember the frying pan, “This is your brain on drugs” public service announcements of the late 80s and 90s? Fried eggs and “Just say no” did nothing to prevent or intervene my growing drug and alcohol usage during the decades of crack cocaine, Ecstasy and meth. Today, we have colorful PET scans showing brain damage after drug use. While these images are more effective than frying pans at moving someone from a pre-contemplation (I don’t have a drug and alcohol problem) stage to a compilation (maybe I do have a substance use issue) stage, it falls well short of a recovery solution.

Addiction recovery is an applied process, not an academic exercise. Learning how to live a life in recovery takes time. There is not a 28 days “fix” of anything that can teach you how to live a life of recovery. The important thing to know is that recovery is a reality.

According to a survey done by The Partnership at DrugFree.org, there are 23 million adults (10% of US population) living in recovery. You may have heard of The Partnership for DrugFree.org, formerly known as the Partnership for a Drug Free America. They are the folks that brought you none other than the “This is your brain on drugs” PSA. Today, their awareness campaigns are much more solution oriented. It is through the recovery community, 23 million strong, that you enroll in your recovery apprenticeship. And in time, you help the next person struggling with drug and alcohol addiction learn to live a life in recovery as well.

This is why I dedicate so much of my bandwidth advocating for recovery residences, like BRC Recovery. Recovery residences are where peers learn to live in recovery. They are the sober, safe and peer supportive living environments where you find your recovery family and deepen your roots in a greater recovery community. Even when residents move on and spread their wings in a less supportive living environment, they retain the recovery supportive bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood within their growing family of recovery.

Jason Howell is in long-term recovery and has worked in the addiction recovery industry since 2008. An active advocate for recovery-oriented housing and systems of care on local, state and national levels, he is the founder of SoberHood, a peer led 501(c)(3) nonprofit recovery organization, TROHN (Texas Recovery-Oriented Housing Network), and is currently President of the National Alliance for Recovery Residences.