September is National Recovery Month. During the month, attention and awareness are brought to substance use and those who have completed recovery successfully are celebrated. These individuals are encouraged to share their stories through various vehicles in order to shine a light on what it is like to experience addiction and highlight what it means to overcome it.
Success stories can be used as an excellent tool of encouragement for those suffering from addiction. Ideally those currently suffering will identify with stories shared and hopefully see their own paths to sobriety. Additionally, bringing attention to those who have struggled and continue to struggle will hopefully help remove the stigma centered on substance use and abuse.
Education is a huge aspect of creating awareness. Through various efforts throughout September, National Recovery Month provides an opportunity to educate Americans about the benefits of seeking recovery and provides details about services offered to achieve sobriety.
Information is readily available and easy access to helpful resources for the public are provided. This includes types of evidence-based treatment options in order to help entice addicts to enter recovery. Creating an open dialog about addiction also helps work towards reducing the stigma centered on addiction. Not only sharing your story but also convincing others to share theirs creates a great contribution to the substance use community.
Each year a different focus for Recovery Month is selected. This year’s theme is “Join the Voices For Recovery: Celebrating Connections.” It is meant to help individuals celebrate their victories and also to constructively highlight decision-making that might not have been in their best interest in the past.
Previously the month has been sponsored by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) but this year Faces & Voices of Recovery is the sponsor.
How to Participate in National Recovery Month
In its 31st year, National Recovery Month includes a long list of events including seminars, awareness walks, PSAs and documentary viewings. Tens of thousands of recovery programs and treatment facilities celebrate this month in order to help the public gain a better understanding of substance abuse and any co-occurring mental health disorders.
On the Faces & Voices of Recovery site, there is a calendar that details a list of events. A quick snapshot is included below but more information can be found directly on the site.
Here are a couple of useful webinars hosted by SAMSHA to consider attending as well:
- September 17: Communities Supporting Recovery
- September 24: The Importance of Integrating Recovery Support Services: The Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic Model
In addition to attending events, there are also opportunities to host events. Recovery Month collateral and digital materials exist that are great resources to promote and help drive traffic to these events.
Involvement doesn’t stop there. Social media is a great tool that can be used to spread awareness about recovery from addiction. Hashtags that can be used to spread the word include:
Lastly, to get involved, you can encourage a proclamation from your state, local or federal government in support of those who have overcome or are continuing to struggle with substance use. In 2019, the White House issued a proclamation which included details about The Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act, which is dedicated to fighting the drug crisis in the US.
Millions of Americans have been able to change their lives by successfully completing recovery and achieving sobriety. September is an opportunity to celebrate those individuals and encourage those who are struggling to seek help. 2020 has posed many unexpected challenges to those dealing with substance use due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. While recovery and management of one’s addictions has and will likely be more difficult, sobriety is still within reach with the use of the right resources, individual motivation and a good support system.
On behalf of all of us, Happy National Recovery Month!