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Help with addiction recovery

Michael Gordon, warehouse and procurement manager for a furniture bank run by Caritas, an agency providing services to homeless people in Richmond, Va., poses for a photo. After time in prison on drug charges, Gordon now works to help alleviate poverty in Richmond’s economically stressed Highland Park neighborhood. (CNS photo/Jay Paul) Michael Gordon, warehouse and procurement manager for a furniture bank run by Caritas, an agency providing services to homeless people in Richmond, Va., poses for a photo. After time in prison on drug charges, Gordon now works to help alleviate poverty in Richmond’s economically stressed Highland Park neighborhood.
Not everyone who drinks alcohol becomes an alcoholic, “but, we know that most alcoholics began as binge drinkers,” said Thomas Mott, director of counseling services for Vermont Catholic Charities Inc. “Alcohol, or ethyl alcohol, is a drug that can result in social and psychological problems as well as chemical dependence if consumed to excess over time.”
 
He noted that ethyl alcohol is almost chemically identical to ether, which once was used in hospitals to sedate patients and prepare them for surgery. “Alcohol also sedates people, and if consumed to excess can render them unconscious just as ether was once used,” Mott said.
 
Because of the similarity of the effect of alcohol and other drugs on the body, people often simply use the term “drug addiction” or “drugs” when referring to alcohol and other substances that impact the brain.
 
Drug abuse is generally thought of in terms of the social problems it can cause. These may include arguments with family members, warning notices from an employer for being late or out sick from a hangover or forgetting other important dates. “When we talk about drug dependence, we not only see the common abuse problems, but, we also see signs of developing a physical tolerance to the drug and withdrawal symptoms when the body starts noticing the drug isn’t being delivered on time or in the amount it has grown accustomed to,” Mott explained. “Put another way, someone who is dependent not only wants it, but needs it to feel ‘normal.’”
 
The most commonly abused drugs in Vermont are alcohol, marijuana, opiates, nicotine, benzodiazepines and cocaine because they generally are readily available, cheap to buy and in the case of alcohol and nicotine, legal for adults. “With marijuana, there is the false belief that it is a harmless plant with no lasting impact on the body,” Mott said.
 
He encourages people who recognize they have a substance abuse problem to meet with an outpatient substance abuse counselor who can complete a thorough evaluation and make a professional recommendation about further treatment.   Outpatient counselors are well informed about inpatient rehab treatment centers, admission requirements, cost, insurance coverage and other critical factors that need to be considered to make an informed decision.
 
“Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Al-Anon, Nar-Anon and other 12- step programs are excellent programs, and I highly recommend them,” Mott said. “Their track record in helping people get sober and clean is outstanding. In my experience, they are vital to maintaining long-term sobriety.”
 
He also recommends Celebrate Recovery, a program that has helped thousands of people receive support and encouragement to live a life in recovery. 
 
Vermont Catholic Charities has three addiction experts on staff that have years of experience identifying, assessing and diagnosing and treating addiction on an outpatient basis. “We can answer questions, give suggestions and recommend smart choices for the person struggling with addiction and their family members,” Mott said.
 
For more information about addiction or mental health issues, call Vermont Catholic Charities at 1-877-250-4099 or 802-658-6111, ext. 1318.  All calls are confidential and private. 
 
Another option for help is to email Mott at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to set up a convenient and private time to talk on the phone.
 
“The Catholic Charities counseling service is committed to reducing the impact of drug addiction and domestic violence in our communities,” he said. “Please don’t hesitate to call us. We are here to help.”
 
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