Raeleen is an addict, but she is no longer defined by her past.
As she seeks help at the Familylinks Family Treatment Center in Penn Hills, she is learning to face the pain rather than escape it. She has discovered her own strength and artistic talent, which she uses to channel her feelings, frustrations and dreams. Raeleen is in recovery.
September is National Recovery Month, a time when we at Familylinks hope to shed light on the struggle of people like Raeleen. At our Family Treatment Centers, women have a chance to keep their families whole by bringing their children with them as they receive treatment for addiction to alcohol and other drugs. They also receive mental health services that allow them to deal with underlying issues, which often includes past abuse, trauma or undiagnosed issues.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported in 2011 that 22.5 million Americans aged 12 or older used illicit drugs, meaning they had used cocaine, heroin, or other drugs that year. The number of people using heroin nationwide in 2011 reached 620,000, a significant jump from 373,000 heroin users in 2007. Seven million people were reported nonmedical users of prescription drugs.
There is hope. For Raeleen, she no longer seeks the next high; rather, she has a new goal -- learning to love herself for the first time so that she can remain clean and sober.
For help, call 1-866-583-6003 or visit www.familylinks.org.
FREDERICK A. MASSEY JR.
CEO, Familylinks Inc.