SPECTRUM 2016: LEARN YOUR “ABC’S OF ADDICTION”
October should be designated National Conference Month. In the lull between the schedule adjustments of September and the days the winter holidays descend in full force, organizations everywhere seize the opportunity to promote their missions, share their dreams, and stoke enthusiasm for their causes.
Houston’s recovery community is an active part of the conference momentum. This October 28–29 (Friday–Saturday) at Westin Memorial City, the local chapter of the Texas Association of Addiction Professionals will hold its 43rd Annual Conference on Addiction Studies, aka Spectrum 2016. And Luna Recovery Services will be a proud participant.
Spectrum’s theme for this year is “The ABC’s of Addiction: Building Blocks to Recovery.” In a world where medical research and knowledge are advancing at exponential speed, addiction professionals rarely lack for up-to-date treatment options; but it can be hard discerning when the old favorites in a treatment “toolbox” have outlived their usefulness, or which new tools are adequately tested and proven. Spectrum will help attendees get solid perspective on recent changes—and, changes for the better in treatment methods equal changes for the better in individual lives. Perhaps yours.
Even if you aren’t a treatment professional—even if you never learned to spell “psychiatrist”—even if you can’t imagine addiction touching your life, the Spectrum conference is worth at least looking in on. Here’s our Top 10 list of reasons everyone should be interested, from the curious citizen to the addiction-affected family to the recovery patient to the true professional:
- Addiction issues affect users and nonusers alike, and not just through increased crime and DUI accidents. The overall economy suffers most; around $160 billion a year is wasted for reasons that can be directly connected to substance abuse. A full $100 billion of that is due to “unrealized productivity” among users whose increased illness and injury take them off the job, and whose fatigue and reduced judgment hurt their effectiveness on the job. (Contrary to popular belief, two out of three people with drug problems are employed full-time.)
- The Spectrum conference offers Houstonians a perfect opportunity to become familiar with local treatment providers—emphasis on “local.” If and when you or a loved one ever need professional addiction treatment, it will lessen all-around stress if you find that treatment closer than the next city or state.
- Being located in one of Houston’s major business areas and medical centers, the conference is easily accessible from Interstate 10 or by city bus. If you’re coming from some distance, you can even book an onsite room at the hosting Westin Hotel. “Memorial City is an excellent backdrop for this event,” notes conference chair Ellen Kirby Joe, CED of Passages for Women Residential Treatment Facility.
- There’ll be a lot more to learn than “technical stuff.” Your eyes may glaze over at the word “neuroscience,” but Spectrum 2016 includes plenty of workshop topics the layperson understands, from yoga to social issues to healthy relationships. And the workshops will include practical, everyday ideas as well as theoretical concepts.
- Even if you’ve never had a personal addiction issue or been close to anyone who has, you probably encounter many of the stress issues associated with being “driven to drink.” The concepts presented at Spectrum will help everyone understand their own stress and learn healthy ways for coping.
- Your mind may need broadening. Not all addicts are homeless, loners, or obviously disconnected from the surrounding world. Many people with serious chemical problems are also high-earning executives who stay on the job for years while keeping their dependency a secret; many other people become addicted through legitimate prescriptions from legitimate doctors. All addicts, however much responsibility they bear for originating their own problems, are genuinely ill and need compassion and understanding, especially once they reach the point of genuinely wanting to solve their problems. They are no more “evil” or “weak” than anyone else; they just have one specific form of the stubbornly ingrained bad habits that plague all of us.
- You’ll meet some great people and have some fascinating conversations! Professional doctors, concerned advocates, and sharp observers of human nature will be coming from all over to participate in the give and take of sharing addiction expertise and experience.
- There’ll be plenty of time for fun, too. In addition to continental breakfasts and coffee breaks, the conference will feature a Saturday luncheon with awards and entertainment.
- If you have to work Friday the 28th—or if you promised your kids a picnic on Saturday the 29th—you can still register for a single day at the conference, at correspondingly reduced cost.
- If you have any interest at all in becoming a professional counselor (who knows, the conference itself may pique your interest), any conference participant may request approved “credit hours” toward the requirements of a counseling license or license renewal.
So plan on winding up October with this “stellar opportunity to engage in two full days of education, networking, and connecting” (Ellen Joe). Plan on learning cutting-edge health information, getting to know your local addiction experts and treatment providers, and having just plain fun.
And, make a special note to drop by Luna Recovery’s expo table and find out what makes our outpatient treatment services unique! A representative will be on hand to answer your questions.