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Raising substance abuse awareness during National Recovery Month

As many as 1 in 7 people are affected by a substance abuse disorder in their lifetime. Sponsored by Premera

September marks National Recovery Month — a time to promote substance abuse treatment and recovery, celebrate the recovery community and recognize service providers. 

“When I think people in recovery, I think about the roughly 23 million people who have overcome alcohol and drug problems and how meaningful their story and experience can be to those that are still struggling,” said Robert Poznanovich of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. “I think that’s what Recovery Month is about. It’s about raising awareness, encouraging people to get help, lifting up voices and providing hope by putting a face on people in recovery and not just their disease.”

Poznanovich is in long-term recovery. He was fortunate to get help through treatment and the support of others, and has implemented lifestyle changes to sustain recovery. 

“I was willing to put my face on recovery to show this is what somebody who had a substance abuse problem looks like,” Poznanovich said. “And since I wasn’t so worried about putting my face on addiction when I was using, I felt that I could use this opportunity to help share my story so that maybe I could help others.”

Along with another interventionalist, Poznanovich wrote a book, “It's Not Okay to Be a Cannibal: How to Keep Addiction from Eating Your Family Alive,” that serves as a survival guide for families dealing with addiction. They present a practical course of action for families to break free from the grip of addiction, a process that includes intervention for the addict. 

Approximately 75 to 80% of those who have a substance abuse disorder are employed full or part-time. Stigma around addiction and treatment, lack of access to care and denial can all be factors in someone not getting help. 

Addiction often affects the whole family, workplaces and other relationships. Treatment can help addicts fix problems internally without using external substances and help repair relationships. 

“I think when you remove drugs and alcohol, which is taking up everything, that hole is then filled with life, people, new relationships and a new meaning,” Poznanovich said. “I think that’s the benefit of recovery, that we come out of this better than we went into this.”

To find treatment options and resources, visit the mental health page on Premera's website

Sponsored by Premera. Segment Producer Joseph Suttner. Watch New Day Northwest 11 AM weekdays on KING 5 and streaming live on KING5.com. Contact New Day