As we find ourselves in the midst of an opioid addiction epidemic, it is helpful to better understand the people who have been affected. The New York Times has provided an excellent article on people telling their story of addiction and recovery: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/31/opinion/addiction-recovery-survivors.html
The overall message from this story is the feeling of hope. As I work with people struggling with addiction and mental health concerns, I do my best to instill a sense of optimism for the future. Also noted in the article above, substance abuse is not necessarily a life sentence and total absence does not have to be the goal for all people. Several people in the article drink alcohol or use substances recreationally.
At times, I have worked with people on establishing healthy relationships with substances and finding what is acceptable for them. Often people find that total abstinence gives them the best chance to meet all their life goals, but this is a personal journey, and a choice each individual has to make for themselves.
Each person is allowed to dictate how they want to define their recovery. People are allowed to make decisions that they see as being the most beneficial for themselves and their loved ones. As a clinician, I work toward helping people explore those boundaries and develop their vision for their future. Oftentimes, total abstinence is the goal and provides the best lifestyle for that person, but one size does not fit all.
Michael Nachreiner, MA, LPC, LADC is a therapist at The Recovery Clinic. He specializes in the treatment of substance use and mental health issues that co-occur. He has a goal of allowing clients to explore their substance use in a nonjudgemental and open space. Whether people are looking to find safer ways to use substances, limit their use, or abstain, he works with them on creating opportunities for making decisions and possible differences in their lives.