Nicole Odom-Hardnett: Destigmatizing Addiction

Nicole Odom-Hardnett specializes in working with people who struggle with substance abuse. As the CEO of Focus Point Solutions, which operates four behavioral clinics in the Baltimore area, she has seen a few things.

“We always say, some people are going to come to us and they’re going to be ready,” says Odom-Hardnett. “Some are not. They’re going to come in, do an assessment, they may hit a group or two, and then they’re going to leave.”

Many also shop around. They will go to another clinic or two, leave them, come back, and keep doing it. Eventually, either after something happens or they just get tired, they will finally admit they can’t do this any longer.

In the meantime, there is nothing a counselor or family member can do. It’s all on the individual. They have to be ready. Only when something within them tells them they’re ready is when the healing can begin.

“They’re going to have that aha moment, and we have to be ready for them.”

There Is No Easy Fix

It is frustrating for care providers. A significant other or a daughter may come into the clinic who has permission to speak on the addicted person’s behalf. They’re worried. But there is nothing anyone can do until that individual is ready. Nobody can make them get help.

Odom-Hardnett adds, “We can’t make anybody do anything. All we can do is provide the message, and hopefully, it’s that message that day that’s going to resonate with them, and their spirit’s going to stick with them while they’re out getting high or whatever that they’re gonna have.”

Law enforcement could use better training on how to deal with the addicted, who are really suffering from mental health when those calls come in. It doesn’t help if law enforcement is called to a scene and are physically rough with those individuals. It can turn into a very bad situation quickly if not handled properly.

Healthcare facilities are also not equipped. Some of the emergency rooms don’t have the resources to handle the mental challenges. They don’t all have behavioral health units.

Destigmatizing Addiction

She uses her voice to spread awareness to destigmatize addiction, anxiety, depression, and other diagnosis, which are too often ignored. Nicole Odom-Hardnett also specializes in working with blended families. She wrote and published three books on dating and blended families.

The picture is so big, it is impossible to change it overnight. We can, however, help make a difference in our daily routines.

“Be supportive. Give people encouraging words, words of kindness, words of support. You never know when someone is at their lowest or their weakest point. You never know when someone may need that. ‘Oh, you’re beautiful today.’ ‘Or you’re so kind,’ or whatever it is because someone at home may be beating them or someone may have told them that they’re nothing. Your words might be everything to them.”

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