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In this Your Healthy Family, as we close out April, did you know April is Alcohol Awareness Month? According to the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA),alcohol contributes to more than 200 health conditions and nearly 100,000 deaths in the US every year, with a 25% spike in the number of deaths involving alcohol during the pandemic.So how do you get help for a loved one or yourself if it's needed?
“Typically when you're an addict or an alcoholic, you're the last person to know it,” says Patrick Cronin. Patrick is the Director of Business Development at Ark Behavioral Health, and has been in long-term recovery himself since September 23, 2005, and has worked for 15 years counseling others.
Denial can make encouraging a friend or loved one to get help tricky, if not impossible.
Cronin adds, “When you have a loved one or someone else trying to help you, a lot of times, the first reaction is. Gonna be like I don't have a problem. I'm good.”
Daniel Gasser, says he has freed himself from years of drug and alcohol use, has authored a book, and has become a for-hire, self-help life coach who offers to teach others the techniques he found so much personal success with. Daniel says, “If you say it’s (addiction) not a problem then I can't help you. You have to be aware of it. There was this lady who was texting me if I could help her father. That broke my heart, because I said, ‘Yeah, if he wants help.’”
One thing you can do is make sure you're personally in a healthy place to offer that help.
Dr. David Mendez, MD, is an addiction expert with the UCHealth Center for Dependency Addiction and Rehabilitation. He says, “Taking care of yourself is really important. Taking care of your own mental health, potentially like seeing a therapist or reaching out to groups. Substance use disorder groups can also sometimes have some advice on how to connect someone to treatment.”
Cronin says, “A lot of people that suffer from addiction like to get this brought up to them by someone else that's gone through it too.”
When it comes to recognizing you have a problem and deciding to get help Cronin says, “It's a good step. I can tell you that it's very difficult to take that first step. And that's the most important step.”
Gasser adds of his own experience, “So I decided to change and I thought OK, just stop it. How heavy could that be? I mean I'm a strong man - but it wasn't easy.”
Dr. Mendez says, “There's help out there. Everyone has their own way of navigating through getting sober and being in recovery. There are a lot of people out there that want to help you.”
You can learn more about UCHealth’s Center for Dependency Addiction and Rehabilitation by visiting their website,
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