Every year, thousands of children check into addiction treatment facilities around the country, while thousands of others don’t receive treatment at all. Youth drug and alcohol abuse is a public health concern, with at least 1 in 8 teens abusing an illegal substance within the last year. According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, more and more 8th graders are using drugs. Between 2016 and 2020, the rate of use increased by 61%. By the time the college years roll around, up to 43% of students could be using.
Not only can substances harm a child’s mental and physical health in the short term, but use can lead to longer-lasting problems in adulthood. These issues negatively impact the individual, their families, and the community. Cutting this cycle short in youth can increase the likelihood that they will move past this challenging stage and progress onto bigger and better things. While a client will likely require considerable support and nurturing, it is critical that, as their clinician, you encourage and empower them to take ownership of their success in recovery.
The Dimensions of Recovery
The recovery process can be different for different clients. Every individual faces unique challenges that must be addressed with an open mind and consideration for which modalities are most appropriate to employ. SAMHSA, along with input from many stakeholders, has formulated a working definition of recovery that explains recovery as “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”
SAMHSA has identified four key dimensions that support rehabilitation. Health involves managing symptoms and overcoming the condition by making educated and healthy choices that enhance physical and emotional health. Clients must also have a home environment that is stable and safe. In the third dimension, a child in recovery seeks purpose and meaning in everyday life and learns to interact with others and participate in activities. The last component, community, reinforces recovery through supportive, loving relationships and social networks that offer friendship and hope. The flexible definition of recovery and its four dimensions has an underlying theme: individual initiative and active participation in the transformation.
Taking Action To Achieve in Recovery
A child could get all the help available in beating an addiction, but there comes a point where they need to take ownership of their success. One of the 10 guiding principles of recovery is person-driven, and it elaborates that “self-determination and self-direction are the foundations for recovery as individuals define their own life goals and design their unique path(s) towards those goals.” Clients should strengthen their autonomy by making intentional decisions that support their recovery and develop their resilience. This can start a positive feedback loop where a client will become more and more empowered to continue growing, exercise control over their life, and advance onto the next stage without drugs or alcohol.
You can inspire your client to take ownership of their success in recovery by encouraging 5 daily habits:
#1. Create a morning routine. The way people start their morning can impact how the rest of the day unfolds. Developing a morning routine that includes stretching, a good meal, and some quiet time to get focused can help reduce stress and build motivation for the day.
#2. Plan and set goals. Planning out daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly ambitions can create a sense of organization and hope, reducing distractions. It can also put life into perspective. A client can think deeply about what they want to achieve and set a reasonable timeframe. They can also reflect on obstacles they might face – including their own areas for growth – in pursuit of their goals.
#3. Reflect by journaling. Journaling is a great way to dump all ideas, worries, and emotions onto paper and calm the mind. Writing things down can help organize thoughts in a coherent manner. Through journaling, clients may come to realize things about themselves and their journey that they didn’t before.
#4. Practice gratitude and affirmations. Encouraging a young client to appreciate the improvements they are making can empower them to keep making steps – even small ones – in the right direction. In addition, revisiting affirmations throughout the day can ground young clients and reinforce positivity. This can be especially useful to include in their morning routine.
#5. Eat and drink well. If a client has poor nutrition, the recovery stage can be even more challenging than it already is. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies and low blood sugar can impair mental and physical health. Ensure that your client is eating properly and staying hydrated so that they can put their best foot forward every day.
Every year, thousands of kids use drugs and alcohol around the country. This is a serious public health concern that damages kids, their families, and the wider community. Addressing the issue now by empowering them and building up their resiliency can help them have a long-term recovery. A child needs lots of support and encouragement to help them develop the skills necessary to regain control and balance. However, they must also take ownership in the process. They can do this by practicing five habits every day. At Sustain Recovery, we are proud to offer a variety of programs to treat adolescent drug and alcohol addiction. Our specialized treatment plans are designed by addiction and mental health professionals that have a multidisciplinary background and experience with adolescents. Our goal is to provide our young clients with a serene, safe, and structured place to recover. Call Sustain Recovery today at (949) 407-9052.