The fireworks in my neighborhood have been booming for more than a week now in anticipation of this coming July 4th. Where I live, Independence Day and the week leading up to it, is the highlight of the year. We have an event or two every night in the community that culminates in a hometown parade and fireworks display, the longest running parade in Indiana with more than 16,000 people in attendance every year. Everyone gets into the Fourth of July - friends and family come to visit from all over the country and everyone has a great time. There are barbeques, house parties, pool parties and the city parks are packed with people enjoying the new water park or savoring funnel cakes and fried anything at the week long carnival. Independence Day brings people together in a community of love and shared experiences.
Independence Day has another meaning for many and that is the independence of substance abuse addiction, and that also brings people together in a community of love and shared experiences. I have a friend who this week ,fittingly, celebrated 10 years of sobriety from alcohol and other drug use. She has used her personal and professional life to help others on their journey to recovery - and as she says "treatment works and recovery is possible!" Does recovery mean that she is free from wanting to turn back to her substances of choice? I don't think so. Does sobriety mean that she is free from the stigma that people still perpetuate against those in recovery? No. But it does mean she is free from the despair, broken relationships, and bad decisions that she made while she was using. It means that she is free from the chains of her substance that pulled her down.
As we celebrate this day of freedom, take a moment to remember those who have not been able to overcome their struggles with addiction but also remember those who continue the fight every day. Treatment does work and recovery is possible - let freedom ring!
DMHA certified providers
Indiana Addictions Issues Coalition