A staff member from the Way Out Recovery Rehab Santa Clarita is talking about what the world of recovery means to him now that he’s been clean and sober for about 14 years.
The Way Out Recovery SCV Program Director Bob Sharits shared that a lot of people struggling with substance use disorder view recovery as a world of no fun, a cloud hanging over them and endless meetings they “must” attend and people they “must” see, but Sharits views it in a very different way.
“Recovery is a wonderful thing,” he said. “I like to say it’s a profoundly joyous life experience, if you’re willing to jump in there and do the work.”
Sharits went on to say that recovery requires a lifestyle that helps the person stay healthy, feel good naturally and enhance their well-being.
“If I’m engaged in the recovery process in a meaningful way that allows me to stay clean and sober for a lasting amount of time, I am going to have to live a transparent life full of activities that make me feel good about myself and enhance my life on all levels,” he said.
Though someone first starting their recovery may still view this as something they “must” do, Sharits pointed out that after they see how happy they can be and start to see the world for its beauty and opportunities, recovery transforms into something they “get to” do instead.
“It does become this joyous experience, the lifestyle of recovery,” Sharits said.
However, Sharits stressed the importance of getting help from professionals when starting recovery, and compared substance use disorder to diseases such as diabetes.
“If I have diabetes, I’m going to see a medical professional -- I’m not going to try to manage that on my own,” Sharits said. “There are certain medications, certain tests, certain things that I might need, and I need to go to an expert who has spent their life, or a great deal of it, going to school and studying and learning about the identification of signs and symptoms of diabetes as well as the treatment, various treatment (plans) of that particular disorder. (Substance use disorder) is no different than that.”
Though someone can try to manage their disease on their own and may have days, months and even years of “doing okay,” that disease “is never really under control and it always comes back,” according to Sharits.
“But with the help of other people, now I have the ability to not only recover from this disorder, but stay in the recovery process,” he said. “I’m coming up on 14 years of having this really incredible life without drugs and alcohol ... and loving this thing, all because in the beginning of it, I asked for help.”
Those struggling with substance use disorder or mental health issues are being encouraged by Sharits to reach out for help by contacting The Way Out Recovery SCV.
He concluded, “Not everybody who walks through the door at The Way Out ends up receiving services at The Way Out, but we have a commitment and we have a promise and we have a goal to Santa Clarita citizens that anybody who needs help, we are going to take the time to find you the help you need, no matter what that looks like.”