Should I encourage my addicted child to get involved with community substance abuse awareness programs?

Question: My son has struggled with substance use for many years now. Should I encourage him to get involved with a local coalition raising awareness on the impact of substance abuse?

Thank you for asking a great question!

Some of the most positive things I believe to have grown out of the opioid epidemic are the grassroots organizations. Twelve Step fellowships and family support groups are strongly suggested for building a connection in all phases of the healing and recovery process. I encourage people with substance use disorder as well as their parents and family members to explore community organizations. Be of service!

It wasn’t that long ago that most towns turned a blind eye to substance use disorder. Today, though, grassroots organizations are changing the way communities respond to this public health epidemic. Where ignorance and stigma once silenced millions, our communities now are building platforms where support is provided on a community level. Unlike the Twelve Step fellowship, whose primary purpose is to carry a message of hope to those still sick and suffering, community organizations serve to inspire by connecting the community, raising awareness, and evoking change. One of the greatest aspects of community coalitions is that a person being served is not required to have lived experience or any connection with substance use disorder. Instead, the only requirement is that a person’s involvement be based on supporting the community impacted by substance use disorder.

We humans crave a sense of purpose, and most of us find that by helping the next person through our own experience or understanding of suffering. I have found my involvement with grassroots organizations to be the most gratifying aspect of recovery, especially early recovery. It no longer is about “me” and “my recovery” but the recovery needed in our community, which has allowed me to feel a sense of purpose.

Lead by example, Mom. If your son is not receptive to the encouragement you are giving him, take that first step yourself and attend the next community meeting. Your involvement and experiences are just as vital as your son’s. Hopefully, your son will become curious, intrigued by the role you play, until he is no longer resistant. If anything, maybe you, Mom, will find a new sense of purpose!

Keep up the great work!

Yours truly,

Keriann Caccavaro
Someone’s Daughter

Disclaimer: The above advice is not meant to be construed as medical or legal advice. If you need professional medical, psychological, or legal advice, please contact a doctor, lawyer, or medical center.

Keriann Caccavaro is a recovery coach, drug court advocate, and woman in long term recovery helping to support people struggling with addiction and their families. You can learn more about her on LinkedIn or Facebook.

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