COLORADO SPRINGS – The holidays bring with them parties, work celebrations, family reunions and more. Often times, alcohol is present at many, if not all, of these parties.
Alcoholism is more common than you might think. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 14.5 million people aged 12 and over suffered from alcohol use disorders, also known as AUD.
Fay Zenoff, addiction recovery wellness strategist, said harm reduction plans for people struggling with alcoholism, substances or anything else often look like an ‘all or nothing’ model , which means that the key to success in the program is learning to live without the substance or continuing to live with an addiction.
“It’s important to have difficult conversations about the difficulty of addiction,” Zenoff said. “Frankly, everything you know about drug addiction is wrong. The opposite of addiction is not recovery, it is connection. Connection is the key.
Another aspect of addiction recovery that Zenoff touched on was how we interpret difficult conversations and our fears worsened with them.
“We need to rethink our patterns of hard love. It has to come from a place of love, like saying ‘Hey, I’m worried about you. If you have any concerns about your drinking, I’m here to help, ”said Zenoff.
She said that often in the past, hard love felt like the shame or guilt of the individual struggling to change their current behavior – a strategy that doesn’t work. What really works is encouraging the person to say that the two of you are there to help them and that you are ready to listen when they open up, if they want to.
“What I discovered was that owning this part of myself and talking about it allowed me to turn that shame into vulnerability, humility and openness to connection and help,” said Zenoff.
A big part of fighting addiction is understanding the pain that comes with the stigma.
“When we can recognize the importance of language and define it for ourselves, we can be empowered to own our own narrative and help others – and that’s destigmatization,” Zenoff said. “It takes courage to own it and then have the courage to talk about it and part of that is a journey. “
Zenoff encourages all who are looking for ways to lovingly have difficult conversations with the loved ones in their life to visit his website found here.
Other resources she recommended include: