Harry thought he would always be a "drug addict--it's just who I am," he said. Heroin was his drug of choice, but he also used any substance he available when he was with other people who were using. Even in prison Harry was using drugs, which landed him in solitary confinement for many of the 30 years he was incarcerated. When he was released on parole for the last time, he went to community college where he took a class in ceramics. He discovered that doing ceramics was almost as pleasurable as heroin--until it became more pleasurable. After awhile, Harry was working on pottery in the evenings instead of shooting dope or smoking crack with his friends. He started becoming more interested in his classes and cared about finishing his schoolwork. "I can't drink as much anymore," he said, "or I won't be able to finish my homework at night."
Tiffany's new boyfriend was a positive influence in helping her break a problem drug habit. "He had like more of a life," she explained. "Instead of like waking up every day like 'how am I going to get high today,' he was, 'let’s go do this, let’s go do that,' you know. It was more of like activity was a way of, you know, trying not to think about using drugs. Like he was taking me everywhere. We’d go to the beach. We’d go to the lake." [new testimony] "It’s made me not be so afraid of new experiences. I can say that," said a man from a drug court program that engaged in organized social recovery activities. "It’s made me not be so afraid of new experiences. I can say that."
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INDIVIDUAL BASED SOCIAL RECOVERY
For family members and friends of people with problem drug use.
Family members and friends of people with problem drug use must encourage them to engage in healthy social activities that do not include drug use, such as going for a hike, visiting a museum, kayaking, playing chess, running, art projects, joining an acting class, writing poetry, and reading poems in a social setting, joining a movie or a book club, etc. These activities are limited only by the size of one's social network, which is why engaging in activities that involve more people from new networks is important. People are social creatures. Many people with problem substance use are alienated from mainstream society, and continued substance use results in even more isolation. Individual with problem drug use should engage in new activities outside their usual activities and with new social networks-even if it seems difficult or useless at the time-until they find healthy activities they enjoy doing with others.