What if we became the Recovery Capital?

Let’s make the Dayton region the Recovery Capital of the United States.

The time has arrived. We must counter the negative perceptions of our beloved community that are being put forth in the national media related to the opioid overdose crisis.

One way to do this is to highlight and emphasize positive approaches that allow us to redefine who we are and what we are about. We, all caring community members and dedicated professional caregivers, can get on the same page around what works and how we can go about saving lives and enhancing the quality of life for those most impacted by these current events. The emphasis and the discussion needs to be all about recovery; what it is and how it is achieved.

With a concerted effort and clear focus, we can turn this thing around. Dayton can become known as “The Recovery Capital of the USA.”

How do we solve our identity dilemma? We continue to support the advocacy efforts of groups like Families of Addicts (FOA). These folks, under the steady and gifted leadership of founder Lori Erion, offers an opportunity for anyone to get involved in one of the more high-profile and successful local endeavors in this realm. Lori and her team of knowledgeable and capable volunteers have made a real difference and have brought positive media and other attention to the public, enhancing awareness and recovery opportunity.

The group’s recent “Rally for Recovery,” FOA’s annual signature event at Courthouse Square, took place last Sunday — full of speakers, information, support and the joining of forces between community members who care and wonderful recovery advocates. A real “feel good’ event for all.

We also can get educated about addiction and recovery. “The Dayton Model of Recovery,” an original and innovative approach, claims there are five things very important to know about addiction, and five simple things to do in order to achieve and sustain recovery.

Five things to know: The addicted one is sick, lonely, unable to change on their own, guilt-ridden, and shame-filled. This is a chronic and progressive state of whole-person illness and decline, leading to an early death. The brain is no longer functioning normally or healthily. They need long-term care and support. The road to recovery takes time and is not easy, though it is a simple path.

Five things to do: Sobriety, Love, Unity, Growth, and Spirituality. “The Big Five Values/Commitments of Recovery” are what works. My 40 years of collecting observational data while working in the addictions treatment field have provided this clear and direct solution. Getting detoxed is where it all begins. Receiving love and caring from professionals and family is the next important component. Joining forces in a support network follows the love piece. Doing self-improvement/personal growth activities, and having a spiritual practice each day is the rest of the recovery picture.

If treatment professionals, concerned family members and the community-at-large could get on the same page with knowledge, understanding, acceptance and compassion, we can achieve the necessary turnaround. Let’s redefine ourselves. Let’s take control of our image and destiny. Let’s be solution-oriented and beat this destructive blight on our community and nation.

John Baldasare is author of “Knowing Affliction and Doing Recovery: How to overcome addictions, mental illness and PTSD with The Dayton Model.” He’s written here previously about addiction issues.

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