Addiction Hurts, But Treatment Heals

Understanding addiction is tough. The disease itself is draining and the recovery process is not any better. Patients are left with a hole in their lives after quitting, and no amount of medical treatment can fill that gap; instead, they are asked to find something from within. River Region Human Services provides support services for in substance abuse, mental health, housing, youth and family services, as well as outreach and community efforts. Many of the clients I serve look to religion, family, hobbies, or other interests to help them find their place in society as an individual, to rise above the stigma, and to gain self confidence in their ability to fight the disease. As a NHC Florida AmeriCorps member I have helped clients find transportation so that they can travel to enroll in certification programs at Florida State College of Jacksonville. Pregnant and postpartum women in my Building Blocks class come to me with concerns about finances, education goals, and relationship struggles. Together, we attempt to resolve these issues through client-specific education, peer and counselor support, and creative sessions to help with stress relief and relaxation.

When I began my service at River Region, I was asked to go and see how daily process group therapy worked for the patients at our residential complex.  I was warmly greeted when I entered the group room as I sat in on the session, listening to the concerns of the patients and the advice of the counselors. At the time, the annual talent show was approaching, and since each patient had to present a piece later that week, practice auditions were being held. One young man stood up and, to everyone’s surprise, declared that he would be reading a poem he had written. He began his poem on hurting and healing, talking about how his addiction had taken over his life, how he was given the chance to recover, his successes and struggles. He talked about how addiction does not discriminate; people of all types, ages, and backgrounds have been affected by this equal opportunity disease. He reminded all of us that the nature of addiction is something beyond a patient’s control and that the road to recovery requires motivation, persistence, and support. After hearing his poem, I was inspired to follow through with my patients throughout their recovery efforts. I organized a spreadsheet and schedule to help better coordinate the care of each client that walks into my room, by following up with them on any concerns and getting them the resources and support that they required.

As a NHC Florida AmeriCorps member, I hope to reinforce these same ideas and values with every client I serve -- to provide them with motivation to return to school/work, to push them to follow through with helpful decision making strategies, and to assist them with securing both physical and mental health support. My office is always open for patients to drop by, and I hope that throughout my service term I can be a resource to help them fight addiction.





This blog post was written by NHC Florida member, Roshini Pudhucode.

Roshini serves at River Region Human Services as a Patient Navigator.