Kim Miller: Understanding addiction key to finding solutions

kim-millerEDITOR’S NOTE: Kim Miller, development director at Prestera and longtime director of the center’s Renaissance Women’s Recovery program, says that the public’s understanding of addiction and its effects on people is important in developing and implementing strategies to help. She offered these insights and suggestions about how the public can help:

End the secrecy and blame

Miller suggests that educating one another and talking about addiction and recovery openly will have a positive impact.

“Addiction is a disease of isolation. It isolates families and individuals. When we begin to understand addiction as a brain problem and a disease, we release the person from the guilt and shame associated with how the person became addicted. The person is not responsible for how they got the disease, they are responsible for how to manage it and recover from it.”

She noted that diabetics are not blamed for developing diabetes, but instead the focus is on treatment.

“In the same way, treatment and recovery help people with addictions learn to manage their life clean and sober. When a person stops using drugs, their brains begin to heal. … We used to think that once you killed brain cells, they were permanently dead”.

Contribute to

groups who help

One way for the public to help is to contribute to non-profit organizations that provide treatment and recovery resources, Miller said.

“I would caution donors to do their homework and confirm that charities are legitimate insofar as they are registered as a charity with the Secretary of State’s office and eligible to receive donations, that their donations don’t fund staff or administrative functions and therefore don’t go to helping the people served by the non-profit …” she said.

Donors can designate a donation for a specific purpose it they like, and, donations can come in many forms, including gifts of cash, stocks or bonds, life insurance policies, one-time gifts or on-going gifts, bequests and wills, trusts and others.

Don’t be an enabler

There is value in getting educated about the disease of addiction, co-dependency/enabling and rescuing so that families and friends can learn about how their efforts to help an addict may only be helping the person stay addicted, Miller said. Read more…

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