LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - We hear a lot about celebrities in recovery. Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry Potter, has been sober for 3 years. Tim McGraw hasn't had a drink for 11 years. Also this month, Rob Lowe is celebrating 29 years of sobriety. September is National Recovery Month.
Dr. Zack Sneed, Ph.D., is Program Director in Addiction Counseling at the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center School of Health Professions. He says the first thing people need to understand is that there is a big difference between Recovery and Sobriety. He explains, “If someone were to stop drinking or stop using a substance, they would have achieved sobriety. Recovery is the work that comes after sobriety is established. So, that’s the period where the person is working to repair relationships, make new gains in their careers, address problems that were there, address the problems that contributed to the substance abuse disorder or mental illness." In other words, the initial withdrawal into sobriety is relatively quick, typically around 72 hours. But, he says when that person is sober, that’s just the beginning. He adds, "It’s really the chance to form something new, a better life than you had before.”
Dr. Sneed says there are a lot of misnomers about what it takes to go into a detox program. He says it’s not the way people experienced detox in the 70s or 80s. Instead, there have been great improvements. In the old days, people with more than one problem like an alcohol and drug addiction were forced to choose which problem they wanted to address first. Some treatment centers would say ‘You can’t come here until you get sober first.’ Dr. Sneed explains, “That turned into a ‘ping pong therapy’ where people would go through withdrawal for one issue which causes significant pain and anxiety and that just made the other disorder worse.”
The good news is that treatment isn’t like that anymore.
Dr. Sneed describes it today. "It’s a medically supervised process that people go through with the goal that it’s not necessarily easy for them, but it’s gentle for them. And they’re certainly not locked in a room. They live in a nice residence. They are allowed to be around other people and start participating in daily activities that that facility utilizes.” Dr. Sneed says another advantage today is that detox can include helping a person break free of more than one addiction at the same time. He says, “It’s called integrated treatment with multiple providers with multiple specialties working together on the same team with the goal of helping this one person.”
It’s estimated that 1 in 6 Americans is in recovery right now.
Dr. Sneed has more information in the attached interview. He adds, “If you think you might be struggling with substance abuse or a mental health issue, share your concerns with a health care provider.”
We have also included the following resources that he recommends.
SAMHSA’s (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services) National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service in English and Spanish.
SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator at: https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/
Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), offers free and confidential support for people in distress, available 24 hours a day 7 days per week.