You CAN Recover from Substance Abuse:

Best Resources for Users and Concerned Families


Ronald L. Krannich, Ph.D.


Each year over 20 million adults in the U.S. (10% of all adults) experience a substance use disorder (SUD). That number increased during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-2021 when more people self-medicated because of greater isolation, loneliness, depression, and untreated mental health issues. Tired of living an unstable, debilitating, and broken SUD life, many concerned users and distraught families sought effective pathways to recovery.


Existential Addictive Behaviors


Most SUDs relate to excessive use of alcohol and marijuana (cannabis) while other SUDs focus on several popular opioids, including cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl, and oxycodone. Many adults also engage in other addictive, compulsive behaviors, such as gambling, pornography, internet, shopping, video games, binge eating, exercise, TV, social media, risky thrill-seeking, and even plastic surgery. When taken to extremes, such behaviors may turn inward and become existential threats to one’s well-being.


Substance Use Disorders                                                                                                           


Substance use disorders can adversely affect the physical and mental health of users who experience everything from hepatitis, HIV infections, drug overdoses, hospitalization, and sudden death to anxiety, anger, abuse, neglect, financial difficulties, incarceration, breakups of families, and attempted suicide. Indeed, SUDs have costly and devastating impacts on individuals, families, and communities. Worst of all, untreated SUDs can slowly or quickly kill you!

Co-Occurring Disorders


So, we ask ourselves, what should one do to better manage SUDs and thereby improve one’s quality of life? Unfortunately, many people experience both a mental health and a substance use disorder referred to as co-occurring disorders (CODs). Many CODs pose serious mental health challenges that complicate diagnosis and assistance and require some form of professional intervention.


Treatment Options


While treatment is readily available for individuals with SUDs, fewer than 15% receive help. When untreated, lives of substance abusers and their families can become complicated and unsettling. The good news is that many people with SUDs are being successfully treated. Few of them relapse; most experience long-term recovery.


Relapse and Recovery


A recent study by the Harvard’s Recovery Research Institute, for example, found that over 20 million people with SUDs managed to avoid relapse and overcome substance abuse problems. In fact, 74.8% reported being in recovery or having recovered from their SUD. While recovery took many forms and directions, individuals who engaged in understanding, treatment, and mutual aid improved considerably, including family members.


New Toolkits for Treatment and Recovery


Developed by a leading expert on SUDs and CODs, Dr. Dennis C. Daley, six recovery toolkits engage individuals in acquiring information and using active coping strategies to better manage SUDs or CODs. Dr. Daley’s recovery toolkits focus on different types of CUDs and CODs. They are ideally used in group treatment sessions:



Numerous resources focus on understanding and treating addictions, dealing with relapse, and charting effective pathways to long-term recovery. In addition to our earlier blog on overcoming addiction, start by sampling several of the following resources produced by some of today’s leading experts and treatment centers: