Every April, the National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence sponsors Alcohol Awareness Month, an effort to educate the general public about the nature of alcoholism and the dangers of problem drinking. (Admittedly, I have a personal interest in this - not only was my training in chemical dependency, ut I once worked for their companion organization in St. Louis). In an effort to educate and provide resources for Chicago-area readers, here is a list of resources that can serve as a great launching point for learning more about alcohol and problem drinking.
(Please Note: this post is meant merely to provide basic information, and should not be seen as comprehensive or an implicit endorsement. Readers are strongly encouraged to recommend other resources in the comments below)
Chicago is home to many treatment centers, including Thresholds, Hazelden, and the University of Chicago Hospitals. Most treatment consists of counseling, medical interventions, group support, and lifestyle planning. For many, this is the beginning of a process, and for some, relapse is a natural part of the recovery process. To use a metaphor - when someone is diagnosed as diabetic, it means a change in lifestyle and behaviors ranging from self-care to dietary habits. For those suffering from alcoholism, it is more than just not drinking - it is changing behaviors and thought patterns, and this can be a key challenge.
A key predictor of success in recovery is finding group support, and for many people, there is an automatic assumption that includes 12 Step recovery. Ironically, Alcoholics Anonymous has some presence on social media via Twitter and Facebook, although there is (obviously) strong concern over "anonymous" recovery in social media. Thankfully, the Chicago AA Community provides an online listing of meetings for those who wish to engage offline. (They provide both "open" meetings for potential new members, as well as "closed" meetings for those actively working an AA program).
For those who are seeking support in dealing with a friend or loved one's drinking, Al-Anon provides support and comfort. If you are seeking a meeting, simply head to the Northern Illinois web site and click on the menu to "Find A Meeting". (It's easily searchable by zip code and distance). For those seeking regular affirmation, Al-Anon also provides regular Twitter and Facebook updates. (You may want to double check with any 12 Step organization first before liking or following them on social media - each organization provides specific guidelines and protections to insure anonymity).
For those who are looking for an alternative to 12 Step recovery programs, one option would be to consider Rational Recovery. It is a program based on Albert Ellis' principles of rational-emotive behavioral therapy (REBT), and provides information on (fill in with details later). Although they have a minimal online presence, information about Rational Recovery can be found via their Facebook page
Usually, with months of celebration, most information is released at the beginning of the month. However, as April closes, it's a reminder that addiction and recovery - like many other aspects of social change in Chicago - are slowly integrating tech to meet present challenges.
Of Special Note - If you are interested in issues around diversity and "gatekeeping", and will be attending C2E2 this weekend, my fellow Chicago Nerd Social Club board member Michi Trota will be running two panels focusing on those issues within the fan community. (Many of the lessons and subjects are easily applicable towards the non-profit/social good sector). On Friday, April 26th from 6:30 to 7:30 pm in Room S401D, the Chicago Nerd Social Club is sponsoring the Opening the Clubhouse Doors: Creating Inclusive Geek Communities, focusing on diversity and inclusion issues, featuring Hugo-award winning author Mary Robinette Kowal; author and Speculative Literature Foundation founder Mary Anne Mohanraj; local gamer and gaming legal scholar Karlyn Meyer; and DC Comics writer Scott Snyder (Batman: Zero Year) In addition, the Chicago Nerd Social Club is also putting on the Glass Ceilings, Missing Stairs & Gatekeepers: Geeks Still Deal With Sexism panel on Saturday, April 26th from 2:45 to 3:45 pm in Room S401AB. The panel focuses on issues around sexism and gender equality in geek culture. Panel participants include comic artist Carlye Frank; Challenge by Geek blogger Laura Koroski; writer and gamer Kate Lansky; singer/songwriter and Raks Geek producer Dawn Xiana Moon; STEM multimedia expert Susheela; and lighting designer Erin Tipton. Although focused on the fan community, those who are interested in learning more about these issues - and willing to bring these ideas to other agencies and organizations - are more than welcome.
If you have other resources focusing on recovery issues in Chicago, or have ideas for future posts, please feel free to leave them in a comments below. You can also follow the blog on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, or contact me privately (more information can be found on this blog's About page)
And as always, thanks for reading!