By Sarah Allen Benton, MS, LMHC, LPC, AADC
“The Quarantine will just be a month, I will wait until it is over.”
“I am so stressed out with remote work and school right now.”
“It is Winter, and I will be more motivated in the Spring.”
“I am just waiting for things to get back to normal.”
These are just a few examples of the excuses that minds can find not to make healthy changes in our lives. The past year has been unprecedented, and the variety of stressors seemingly unlimited. The timeline for the country to move forward from the pandemic has also changed, the impact is ongoing and there are aftershocks that have and will continue to impact us for years to come. For individuals who have a predisposition to mental health and addiction issues, this time has been ripe for recurrence due to social isolation, economic insecurity, constant change, schedule changes, childcare issues, health fears, business closures, media and social media fear-based messages, loss and grief and many other variables. Some individuals may have made and since abandoned “New Year’s Resolutions”- believing that their lives and the world would change when the ball dropped.
However, we are approaching 1 year since this pandemic began, and it is clear that we will be dealing with the impact for some time to come. We are approaching the point where it is up to an individual to reach out for support and not wait until our external world is lined up the way that we would prefer to address our life changes. Drinking and substance usage have been on the rise throughout the past year, and it can be easy to continue to put off addressing these issues. At what point does a person stop relying on the state of the world to address internal problems? And can addressing our internal issues support us in having a more positive outlook on the external world?
If you are thinking about making a change with your drinking or substance usage, but are not sure where to begin- you are NOT alone. The path is not always clear, nor linear. There is not a “one size fits all” solution. The In-Home Addiction Treatment (IHAT) model is adaptable for these ever-changing times, and is able to be tailored to the needs, schedule and circumstances of the individual. The IHAT model involves a year long program that can meet individuals where they are at in terms of their readiness and unique challenges.
Healthcare professionals may also realize that they want to make a shift in their work. So many providers have been isolated over the past year and may desire more of a team-based approach. The IHAT Institute is providing training for healthcare providers in this innovative addiction treatment model. Change is possible during any day and at any time. It involves setting a mental intention and then some form of action- not matter how small that may be. When we wait for external circumstances to change, we disempower our control over when and how we make real and positive shifts in our lives.