The struggle with addiction, whether it be alcohol or drug use, has increased over the years, with almost 21 million Americans having at least one addiction. Yet only 10% of them receive treatment. Besides the misconceptions around addiction, there is stigma around the subject, and the recovery process. We connected with Eric Paskin to get answers to some common questions and learn about his own experience—which has given him a deep understanding and insight into the recovery process—and even led him to founding the Restore Health + Wellness Center.
Q: What is a common misconception about recovery?
Eric: A lot of people have this idea that they are going to go to treatment and bam, 30-45 days later they’re going to be fixed. That is a set up for failure. I really like to compare recovery to a marathon, or one of those crazy ultra-marathons. I’ve been clean for over 13 years and I still have to work on my own personal recovery. Sometimes I feel like I’m gliding along, and everything is going smoothly, and other days it’s an uphill climb and things feel really hard. That’s life.
Q: What is the recovery process actually like?
Eric: It’s hard to say what the recovery process is like, because it’s different for everybody. I was initially in a homeless shelter, I didn’t have insurance, and I didn’t have the ability to go into treatment like what we provide at the Restore Health + Wellness Center. Everyone’s process is different. I found recovery in 12-step fellowships like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, while some people find it through religion, some people find it through therapy—everyone’s process is different. I’ve seen people not utilize any support group whatsoever and change their habits on their own, whether that’s by using exercise or the outdoors, etc.
Q: What is the process like at your center, what does the treatment process consist of?
Eric: The process at Restore Health + Wellness Center is very individualized. Some people have a longer detoxification process, some shorter because of the type of substances they’ve used, and some don’t require detoxing at all. Each client has a very thorough biopsychosocial assessment, and treatment is tailored to their individual needs based on the assessment.
Q: What have you seen through your time working in recovery, to be the most powerful and helpful part of it for most patients?
Eric: After working in addiction treatment for over 12 years the thing that continues to amaze me is when clients buy into their own personal recovery. I always believe the most powerful thing that occurs is the connection and the camaraderie the clients build to help support one another. The people who I met in early recovery are still some of my closest friends and I still turn to them in my own life.
Q: What is the hardest part about recovery?
Eric: For me it was learning to live without drugs. I spend over a decade basically using every day and not living, so having to relearn basic living skills was daunting.
Q: Do you have any advice for someone who’s family member or loved one is using and needs help? How can they best address this subject?
Eric: I think one of the biggest pieces of advice I can give is for family and loved ones to seek help for themselves. The healthier we become as a family unit and support for the identified addict, the better the addict usually gets.
Q: What about some words of wisdom or inspiration to anyone who is currently facing addiction?
Eric: I don’t believe that there are any magical words of wisdom I can impart on anyone. I think that people struggling with addiction shouldn’t give up no matter how hard stopping seems, it’s possible to stop and change the quality and the conditions of their lives. I’m living proof that it’s possible and there are millions of others who have managed to create incredible lives that once seemed like fairy tales.
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