Researchers say young recovering addicts have a much more likely chance of succeeding with peer communities that support sobriety. These findings can influence how our society understands addiction, and much of that begins by understanding the effects of addiction on teenagers. For recovering teenagers and other young people, a community of other recovering addicts to push one another to stay clean can be beneficial. Such communities can be places of addicts listening to one another, rather than therapists talking at them.
One such community for addicts is Hope Academy, in Indianapolis, which is described as a tuition free recovery school for students with substance abuse issues. The idea is that the student body holds each other accountable. According to 2015 data, over 1,100 teens start misusing pain pills, and 521 died, so such a space is an important place to have in the struggle against the opioid epidemic. Hope, as a high school, has students as young as 14, though data shows that addiction starts for some at an even earlier age.
Centers for adults focus on groups that talk, and individual therapy, but do not always encourage support, like that found in a 12 step program. Schools like Hope, do, and since the schools are often dormitory schools, the community that is fostered has a better chance of succeeding because of how long and how closely, everyone lives together. Finding peer support to stay off drugs, instead of to start them or to continue doing them, is important for young addicts especially, because of the bonds that form in this period of their lives. The students learn to take it one day at a time, to be in an environment where there is pressure to succeed, and a lack of cruelty for the failures that are a natural part of the road to recovery.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, there is hope. Reach out to the many resources available, such as FFA. Talk to your children and see what path of recovery best suits their needs and never judge or shame them. Someone who is struggling with addiction needs compassion and not shame.
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