‘What is critical for our community to understand is that relapse is part of the recovery process’

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Editor’s Note: The following communication was submitted to NH Governors Commission Alcohol and other Drugs on Dec. 12  by Granite Pathways State Director Patricia Reed with a request to share with the community.

To the Community:

As you may be aware, Granite Pathways has received a great deal of news media attention recently.  While we have tried to get the full message out to you via the media, we think it is best to write to you directly.

Every single day, the programs of Granite Pathway impact the lives of over 2,200 New Hampshire citizens struggling with some form of substance use including opiate addiction — totaling 7,034 individuals each year.  Sometimes it is drugs, sometimes alcohol, sometimes a combination.  Many individuals also struggle with mental health issues.

Over 72 percent of the individuals we serve are either in recovery or actively working toward recovery and rely on the support of their peers and our staff. They are working on getting jobs and healing their relationships with loved ones.

Some of the individuals we serve are parents of young people struggling with drug or alcohol use.  These parents are hurting and look to us to provide support and hope that their child will come back to them.  Other parents have had their children removed due to their own substance use.  They are working hard to get them back and know it is a long, hard road.

Sometimes they are people asking for help, like in our Doorways programs where last year nearly 2,400 individuals came to us because they did not know where else to go.  We provided an assessment and guided them to the right community services and in many instances stayed with them throughout their recovery process.

And some of the individuals we serve are young people struggling with their addiction. Most came to our treatment center because they had tried and left other treatment environments — this is often the cycle for adolescents — and their parents feared for their lives.

It is important to note that according to a recent report by Partnership at Drugfree.org, 1-in-10 adults across the U.S. was at one time, in recovery from drug or alcohol problems.  And, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, relapse rates while in recovery are as high as 60 percent.  The relapse rate is even higher among young adults, particularly those who began using drugs in early adolescence, have weak social support networks, abuse multiple drugs, or have co-occurring mental health disorders—as many young people do.

What is critical for our community to understand — and we believe that many of you do — is that relapse is part of the recovery process. It is not the relapse that is newsworthy.  What is newsworthy is that there are community-based service providers, like Granite Pathways, that do not judge and are willing to re-engage with individuals in recovery whenever and wherever they are ready.  Every time.  What is newsworthy is the dedicated staff — many in recovery themselves — who understand how hard addiction is to overcome, and they work tirelessly to share their experiences with those we serve.   While the relapses described in the media are unfortunate, what is most important is that we keep at it and not give up – on the youth and the parents and family who support them.

If you, as our community colleagues, could assist us in getting this message out, we would deeply appreciate it.

My best regards,

Patricia Reed

State Director

Granite Pathways