In everything you do in life, education is key. Just think about it:
Children are sent to school at such young ages to begin their education. Then, after graduation, there is an emphasis on college or trade schools – again, to become educated in something. Then, when the money starts rolling in, investments are made – but only after they are thoroughly researched so that educated decisions are made with the money.
Buying a car, adopting a dog, raising kids, job advancement – no matter what is done throughout life, there will always be a need to learn.
Thus, when it comes to addiction, education and learning are even more important.
Substance Abuse Education Is Important
Education is powerful. It allows you to grow and move through life at an easier pace because you have a bit of an understanding of the world around you. You can climb the corporate ladder, become an entrepreneur, create and design some magnificent works of art, or repair an automobile. But, none of this would be possible without some sort of education.
Education makes it so that you can have opinions and recognize choices. It allows you to understand the way things work in order tofind solutions or a more efficient way to do things. In the great big world that we live in, education helps us feel more comfortable in the little piece that we occupy.
Loss, Not Absence, of Control
In almost every scenario, an addict feels out of control. There is a constant nagging need, urge, and craving for a drug or substance that cannot be quenched for more than a short period of time. Perhaps a passing moment or two of clarity, then the cravings kick back in and the process starts all over again.
For an addict, getting a fix is about the only way to calm the thoughts and feelings that have taken over control of the body. It is exhausting, it is scary, and it is suffering.
Understanding the Disease of Addiction
By combining powerful education with treatment, addicts can begin to understand the answers to all their questions – and even understand their behavior. They may want a drug or substance, but they may not necessarily understand why it was powerful enough to take over their life. Education can help paint a picture of the entire addiction and recovery process.
Addiction education in recovery can include a wide array of information from all stages of the problem. These may include:
- Understanding the mind and body and how it works, by learning where addiction stems from in the brain and how it controls the entire body.
- Understanding withdrawal symptoms – the result of the body’s addictive cravings.
- Learning the stages of healing throughout the body once the client becomes sober.
- Learning how triggers work and how coping skills can manage them. This goes beyond simply teaching coping skills. Instead, the client learns why the skill works and how it helps.
- Discovering paths to recovery, such as spirituality and other methods to deter a relapse.
If there is an underlying mental illness, such as someone in a dual diagnosis program, then the education should be a bit more tailored to include an in-depth understanding of the mental illness – from its onset, to experiencing symptoms, coping with symptoms, and handling life, in general, with the struggles that a mental illness may bring.
Just as you can tell a child to wash their hands after using the restroom over and over, you cannot expect them to understand why or the importance of it unless you teach them about germs and hygiene. The same applies to those in recovery. Handing out ideas for coping skills and sending clients on their way does not give a true understanding of what just happened.
Drug addiction is incredibly life changing – and having a good understanding of why it happened, the damage it can cause to the body, and how to prevent a relapse is a great way to keep it from happening again.
Family Involvement, Education About Addiction
Because education is so powerful, it should not stop with the one in recovery. Instead, it should flow into family life, friends, and the support system. Just as a client should be educated in order to get a solid grip on the addiction and recovery, so should those involved in the surrounding support of the individual.
If you have never struggled with an addiction, then it is impossible to understand what it does to the mind and body. Watching someone you love become a slave to a drug or substance may not make sense. You may think your loved one should just stop or snap out of it. Or, you may wonder why they keep going back for more when they know that the withdrawal symptoms are so bad.
Combine the addiction with a mental illness and this throws a bigger wrench into the understanding. So, by educating those who will play a huge role in the recovery process, you are not only giving them a better handle on the situation but assisting the client with a greater chance of success in recovery.
Knowledge Is Power
Without knowledge, the world would be blindsided when it comes to addictions. Thankfully, there are many programs that now start in schools in an attempt to deter future battles with drug and alcohol addiction. Giving a greater understanding of the power of these drugs and the damage that takes place within the body, as well as how addiction happens, can be powerful enough to keep some future addicts drug free.
Offering education programs in combination with treatment can be unbelievably helpful to facilitate recovery. Not only does it offer a deeper understanding of addiction and the influence it has on the mind and body, it also gives individuals more control over their own recovery process. In other words, it takes a scary situation that one may not understand – and turns it into a victorious situation.
It all starts with education. It is that powerful.