2020 Recovery Month: Celebrating The Power of Connection

September is National Recovery Month, and we’re thrilled to highlight and celebrate the work of three of our partners this month. The theme for 2020, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Celebrating Connections,” reminds people in recovery and those who support them that we all have victories to celebrate and we cannot do it alone. We’re paying particular attention to the way these organizations and individuals responded to the challenges of forging connections and supporting recovery during a global pandemic. We’re pleased to continue this series with Metro Inclusive Health. You can read the first and second posts, and check out Facebook and Twitter for more.

Sarah, 52, suffered from intense panic attacks. She struggled to do everyday tasks like run errands, go to the grocery store and spend time with her friends. On many days, she would feel so much anxiety that she wouldn’t leave the house. Over the last year, since she began to receive mental health services at CADA, Sarah has learned many coping skills to manage and decrease her panic. A survivor of sexual abuse, Sarah is also learning to process and heal from the trauma of her past. Today, she says she feels calmer and more connected to herself, which allows her to get out of the house more and build better relationships with her friends and support system.

Joyce Bracey, M.Ed., LPC, NCC, is President and CEO of CADA Prevention & Recovery Center, a nonprofit serving children and adults in the greater New Orleans area with substance abuse education, prevention, case management and referral services. She says that “a support network like Sarah’s is the most important factor in a person’s recovery—second only to the person’s desire to recover.”

Of course, not everyone has a built-in network of family or friends to support their recovery. Either they don’t have a supportive circle around them or they find that some of their family and friends do not support them getting sober or healing. Sometimes the circle of friends are also in active addiction, or are co-dependent and resist healing.

“Part of the recovery journey,” she says, “is to establish healthy relationships with people that support sobriety so that no one faces the challenge alone.”

The global COVID-19 pandemic presented CADA with the challenge of figuring out how to build that recovery community in the virtual world. “We immediately began providing video groups for intensive outpatient treatment and have seen surprising results! Attendance and compliance seem to be better for the video groups because people do not have to deal with the challenges related to attending in person, such as transportation or childcare.”

Bracey says that CADA’s ability to focus on building connections during the pandemic was also integral to their success: “CADA is like a family, and that has been difficult—but not impossible—to maintain during the isolation of COVID-19. We use staff meeting time to check in; we break into small groups to catch up and maintain our connection to one another.”

During clinical team meetings, the clinicians take a deep dive into their own experiences and work together to problem-solve clinical issues and offer a support network for clients.

Learn more about CADA at cadagno.org.

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