The Dark Side Of Our Why
The CDC reports that In 2019 alone, there were 70,630 drug overdose deaths in the United States. Of those 70,630 deaths, 70.6% were opioid related. Currently, opioids are the main driver of drug overdose deaths. That’s over 49 thousand people whose families will never be the same. 49 thousand mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, husbands, and wives who will never come home again. 49 thousand funerals.
49 thousand lives destroyed. This is our why; we could have saved at least one. Not just from overdosing, but from enduring the pain that comes with an addiction before it ends in death.
What if we could have saved even one of those lives? Stopped one of those funerals? The reality is that the work we do matters for more than just the results we create (pain free patients). In fact, I’d argue that the biggest value of our work is in the results we prevent.
Some Battles Are Lost
September is National Recovery Month (from substance abuse). The annual observance sheds light on those who are recovering from substance abuse. It celebrates their wins, it offers respect for their struggle, and promotes evidence-based practices. It’s a wonderful and meaningful movement. However, the month isn’t just a happy homage to those who have been successful in exiting the dark tunnel of drug abuse. It should also be a chance to remember those who lost the battle of substance abuse, or are still fighting it.
If you’ve ever loved anyone who struggled with substance abuse or you’ve struggled yourself, then you’ve become intimately familiar with that battle. The battle that occurs in the mind of someone struggling with an addiction; a fight against an all-consuming darkness and loss of control, a desperate attempt to hold on to any semblance of stability, light, and even dignity, and to drown out any pain…whether that be physical or emotional. The tricky thing is though, as humans we typically have a good bit of both kinds of pain. We’ll talk about the latter later.
Drugabuse.gov reports “Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them”. So…you’ve got roughly 1 out of 4 people misusing opioids. Now those are losing odds. What if we could change the equation? What if in addition to celebrating those who find their way back to sobriety, we also celebrate those who avoid opioids altogether by taking preventative or alternative measures? What if we turn opioids into the last choice instead of the first?
How We’re Fighting So You Don’t Have To
You might notice this article is missing some of my usual **spice**. But there’s a reason for that. This subject isn’t funny, it’s not light, and it’s not easy. The opioid crisis is a very real and very ugly truth, and it isn’t to be taken lightly. Rest assured, I don’t.
Opioids are typically prescribed for pain management. If we as your chiropractors can identify and treat your problem there’s a chance that you may not have chronic pain at all, or that we will be able to manage it for you without dangerously addictive medications. However, we don’t just help prevent opioid usage. Chiropractic care can also help those already seeking treatment. In 2001, the Miami Herald published an article on how chiropractic care helped those in a Miami drug addiction program. Dr. Jay Holder (the doctor who conducted the study) says “This correction of what chiropractors call subluxation results in a sense of well-being that allows patients to benefit more thoroughly from the group therapy and medical care of addiction treatment.”
So, no matter what stage of your pain management journey you’re at, we can help. We WANT to help. We WANT to fight the battle against opioid addiction so that people like YOU don’t have to.
You might remember something I said earlier. People suffering from a substance abuse disorder are trying to drown out any and all pain-physical OR emotional. We can help you with your physical pain. To a degree, this may help you with some of that internal pain. What we do is help you focus on your whole-person wellness which brings with it a certain emphasis on your inner world in addition to your physical health and wellness. However, while I love what I do and I will do it for as long as I possibly can-and I strongly believe the work we do at On-The-Go Wellness makes a difference in the world-I can’t pretend that we can make a difference for everyone, or that simply seeing a chiropractor would fix everything.
Johann Hari’s TedTalk doesn’t sugarcoat it: everything you know about addiction is probably wrong. He says “And a core part of addiction, I came to think, and I believe the evidence suggests, is about not being able to bear to be present in your life.” If addiction is the inability to be present, then I believe wellness is the key to doing so. Total wellness; physical, mental, emotional, intellectual, etc. It all depends on being fully aware and present in your life. In fact, if you look into what comprises an AA program you’ll see that all it really is helping a person create a life where drugs don’t make sense by focusing on and increasing their whole-person wellness. Physical wellbeing, mental/emotional, social, spiritual, it’s all covered.
So, we’re here for the parts we can help in. Whether it’s a preventative measure or a supplementary measure to an existing treatment or need, we’re here. We’re here to help you focus on your wellness and to be able to bear-and want to be-present in your life.
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