Many people are not aware of the recovery progress that has been made in the treatment of addicted people. The pessimism that follows from this has unfortunate consequences. Addicts are less inclined to seek treatment, and both professionals and non-professionals in their lives sometimes get discouraged and give up prematurely.
To counter this negativity, the month of September has been designated as “Recovery Month” to let the general public know that the likelihood of recovery is reasonably good when addicted people are properly treated. Now in its 25th year, this federally sponsored project, led by SAMHSA, coordinates hundreds of events throughout the country.
To promote recovery progress, Kolmac is sponsoring two events this year. One, co-sponsored by MedChi, the state medical society of Maryland, is a lecture for physicians and other clinicians by Dr. Melvin Pohl, an expert on treating patients suffering with both addiction and severe pain. The other event is a social one for the general community – Recovery in the Park – cosponsored with Caron Treatment Center. This is the second annual get together for our alumni and the recovering community where there will be 12-Step meetings, workshops, a live band, and food. We are expecting 300 plus participants.
I look forward to events like these because they offer an opportunity for positive voices for recovery to be heard. By virtue of being a physician specializing in addictions, my optimism is based on first-hand experience. I have been fortunate to see the dramatic improvement in the lives of many addicted people. I understand the reluctance of some of these people to share experiences about their recovery with non-addicts, given the lack of understanding that they sometimes encounter, which makes the annual celebration of Recovery Month even more important.
In addition to working at Kolmac, I have primary responsibility for teaching the students at the Georgetown University School of Medicine about addictions. Although I give traditional lectures, I also have the entire third-year medical school class visit the Kolmac treatment program in small groups so that they can see, for themselves, addicted patients and recovery progress.
During their medical training, young doctors are often inundated with addicts who in fact have poor prognoses and based on that, students begin to form negative views about all addicted patients. I tell them that our patients are more representative of the general population of addicts that they will see once they finish their training. I am glad to say that the feedback that we get from the students about their visits is consistently positive.
And for all of us at Kolmac, that’s what Recovery Month represents: another opportunity to communicate positively about the work we do with addicted patients every day. Contact us to learn more about recovery progress.