There’s a national observance every September that we should all be aware of and celebrate. No, it’s not Labor Day or the autumnal equinox – in fact, a lot of people have probably never even heard of it. For the 29th year now, this month is National Recovery Month. Sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, it’s meant to increase awareness and education Americans about substance use treatment and mental health services and to celebrate the people who have made it through recovery.
We spend so much time focusing on the negatives – and they are many – that it can be hard to find things to celebrate. We toss around words like epidemic and crisis, and we hear the statistics every day: 72,000 drug overdose deaths estimated in 2017, every day 115 people die from an opioid overdose, one in five children have a parent with a substance abuse problem, and on and on. Where are the hopeful stories? The ones where people overcome the odds and turn their lives around? That’s what National Recovery Month is all about.
Recovery Month began in 1989, when it was called Treatment Works! Month and honored the work of substance abuse treatment professionals. It then became National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month in 1998, when it expanded to include celebrating the successes of people in recovery. In 2011 it was renamed to National Recovery Month to include all areas of behavioral health.
Every September, thousands of prevention, treatment, and recovery programs and services around the country come together to celebrate their successes and share them with others. Hundreds of federal, state, and local government entities, as well as non-profit organizations, come together in a Planning Partners group, where they develop a plan, gather and distribute materials, and promote and sponsor events. Individuals who want to get involved can go to SAMHSA’s website and print flyers, banners, and posters, share event calendars, and connect on social media. SAMHSA has also created a toolkit to both help with planning and to distribute information to the public. It has sections on media outreach, targeted outreach, resources, and some real-life stories of people on the road to recovery.
You can plan your own event, like a walk/run, a rally, or even a cookout, with help from tips on the SAMHSA website, or you can find events taking place in your area. These can vary from golf outings to lectures to art shows.
Every year, Recovery Month has a new theme and focus. This year’s theme is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Invest in Health, Home, Purpose, and Community,” which explores how integrated care, a strong community, sense of purpose, and leadership can contribute to effective treatment and lasting recovery.
If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504 to get started.