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Cardinal Innovations Southern Region Celebrates September as National Recovery Month

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare — August 25, 2014
CHARLOTTE, N.C., Aug. 25, 2014 – Recovery has been a tough, but rewarding journey for Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Solutions employees Mike Weaver and Ronald Clark.

Weaver and Clark both work as consumer affairs specialists for Cardinal Innovations’ Mecklenburg County Community Operations Center, which will move to its permanent home at 1100 S. Tryon St. Ste. 100 on Sept. 10. Weaver has struggled much of his adult life with bipolar disorder. His condition coupled with the wrong medication caused mania and delusions that led to the loss of his teaching job, a two-year prison sentence and a suicide attempt before he got the help he needed. Meanwhile, Clark struggled with drug and alcohol addiction, a condition that caused him to lose his family and become homeless until he got treatment. Now both are in recovery and helping others.

More than 600,000 people in North Carolina and 23 million people nationwide are in recovery. Cardinal Innovations’ Mecklenburg and Southern regions, which include Cabarrus, Davidson, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanly and Union counties, are planning to participate in several events in September in recognition of National Recovery Month, an effort to educate Americans about how addiction treatment and mental health services can enable people with mental illness and/or substance use/addiction disorder to live healthy and rewarding lives.
“Recovery isn’t the absence of symptoms,” said Weaver, also a member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Board of Directors and chair of the NAMI Policy Committee. “I still have symptoms. I still have periods of depression, high anxiety. I still have to deal with suicidal thoughts from time to time, the only difference is that I know how to steer those and, perhaps, I spend less time bothered by some of that than I use to.”

Weaver said he quotes German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe when he talks about how to help people with mental illness: “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and help them to become what they are capable of being.”

Clark has worked hard to overcome the drug and alcohol addiction that caused him to lose his family.
“My story is that of bridges, bushes and bus stops,” Clark said. “I lived under a bridge down on Tryon Street in Mecklenburg County. Everything I owned was in two 7-11 bags in the bushes. All of my substance abuse and use was at a bus stop at a foot of that bridge. Hence, the slogan in my life was a series of bridges, bushes and bus stops. But something happened several years back.”

Clark said he woke up one day and decided to seek help for his addiction.

“The people who talked to me, I listened to them,” he said. “Everything they told me to do, I did it because all of my best efforts got me underneath that bridge. All of my best ideas got me to continue to use drugs year in and year out.”

Clark said recovery is a daily effort. He still attends meetings on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday before coming to work at Cardinal Innovations to help others. On Wednesdays, he attends a Bible study, he said.
“Now that I’m in recovery, I have to do some things that are not so popular or kind of uncomfortable but they keep me clean and sober and moving in the right direction,” he said.

“Today I am in long-term recovery, which means I have not found it necessary to use drugs or alcohol for many years,” he said. “I am committed to recovery because it has given me and my family a purpose and hope for the future. I speak out and advocate because it is my desire to use my recovery experience to help others.”

In 2012, 43.7 million adult Americans ages 18 and older reported having a mental illness in past year. Of those, 17.9 million received mental health services in the past year. Among the 9.6 million adults with serious mental illness in 2012, 6 million received mental health services in the past year, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. In 2010, suicide was the second leading cause of death for people aged 25 to 34, and the total number of suicides and alcohol- and drug-induced deaths is greater than deaths caused by traffic accidents, HIV/AIDS, and breast cancer combined.

North Carolina taxpayers save $7 for every $1 spent on treatment and $5.60 for every $1 spent on prevention as a result of increased productivity, and reduced healthcare, criminal justice and social services costs, according to Gov. Pat McCrory’s proclamation signed on June 4 declaring September as National Recovery Month in North Carolina. Recent studies show that the treatment of alcohol and/or drug use disorders reduces drug use by 50 percent and crime by 80 percent with arrests down by up to 64 percent.

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