September marks National Recovery Month, a time where people throughout the country pay tribute to individuals who have reclaimed their lives and are now living drug-free.
This year's theme, "Join the Voices for Recovery: Speak Up, Reach Out," supports the benefits of prevention and treatment for substance use disorders in the community, celebrates people in recovery, praises the contributions of treatment and service providers, and promotes the message that recovery in all its forms is possible.
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In honor of National Recovery Month, Renz Addiction Counseling Center in Elgin will offer free substance abuse assessments during September to community residents who think they may have an alcohol or drug problem. The assessment involves completing a questionnaire and meeting with a counselor.
"This September, I would like to encourage people to openly speak up about mental health and substance use disorders," said Renz Center Executive Director Jerry Skogmo. "Treatment is effective, but only if people are encouraged to step forward and begin the recovery process."
The following is a story of how one individual dealt with his mental health and substance abuse disorder, and how support from people around him played a critical role in his recovery.
One man's journey to recovery:
Alcohol, cocaine, marijuana … all substances Rich abused since his teens. So when he got pulled over by the police for driving under the influence he finally resolved to enter treatment.
Scheduling treatment into his busy life was no easy task … Rich had a business to run, a family to support, and was actively involved in his church. For the first time in his life, he had to put himself first. After completing an initial screening, Rich came to learn that his substance abuse was far more advanced than he realized; further compounded by his bi-polar disorder mental health diagnosis.
Rich embraced treatment, and maintained a positive attitude. He met regularly with his counselor and psychiatrist, and learned the importance of staying on his medication to further his recovery. During individual counseling sessions Rich was also encouraged to open up about his mental health issues, and share his experiences in group. When faced with this challenge, Rich with filled with shame. Slowly he began to tell his story, and found comfort in knowing other people shared his same struggles. Rich also found the new coping strategies he learned during counseling helped him find the courage to overcome many of his addiction issues.
One lesson Rich learned along the path to recovery is the support network available to him in his community. Rich was urged by his counselor to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and began the 12-step process. His sponsor supported him and shared some of the strategies he used to maintain his 21 years of sobriety. And while his treatment at Renz Center is complete, Rich continues to attend regular AA meetings at Renz Center and in the community, and is a role model for others.
Free assessments are only available during the month of September at Renz Center's Two American Way in Elgin facility. Appointments are necessary. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (847) 742-3545.
Renz Center provides a continuum of care dedicated to the prevention, intervention and treatment of addictive behaviors related to alcohol, drugs, and gambling. Services range from prevention programs for youth in the schools to outpatient treatment programs for adolescents and adults. Offices are located in Elgin, St. Charles and Streamwood.
Renz Addiction Counseling Center is a nonprofit organization funded in part by the federal government, Central Kane County United Way, Illinois Department of Human Services, Hanover Township, Geneva, and St. Charles 708 mental health boards and other local community organizations.
To find out more about Renz Center's programs, call (847) 742-3545 or visit renzcenter.org.