September is an important month. It’s the end of summer, the start of a new season, and the start of school for many. It’s also National Recovery Month. This is a significant time for those of us in the recovery community. It’s a time to reflect, to take action, and to speak out about recovery. It’s a time where we become visible for all to see and understand what recovery is. How did Recovery Month come to be? What does it entail and why is pertinent that we highlight and share about Recovery Month?
What is National Recovery Month?
Sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Recovery Month is held every September to increase awareness of, and celebrate the success of recovery from substance use disorders. The observance is held to educate fellow Americans on the fact that substance use treatment and mental health services can help those with a mental or substance use disorder.
Recovery month helps to normalize the disease of addiction by celebrating the strides made in recovery just like we celebrate other health conditions such as heart disease, asthma, hypertension, and diabetes. There are 23 million people living in recovery and the lives of these people often go unnoticed. Through Recovery Month, everyone is able to view and understand the accomplishments of those in the recovery community. Each year prevention organizations, treatment and recovery programs, and sober advocacy groups from around the country celebrate Recovery Month with events like walks, runs, get-togethers, movie screenings, and other activities. Doing this helps reduce the stigma associated with addiction and increases awareness about the mental health and addiction treatment that are readily available to everyone in this country.
This year Recovery Month is in its 27th year and it aims to highlight the successes of people who have taken their lives back by committing to a life in long-term recovery, as well as the recovery services that help get them there. This month we promote the message of recovery – that recovery is possible and anyone can have it. The recovery movement encourages all people to increase the availability of and the knowledge of effective prevention, treatment, and recovery services to all of those in need.
How You Can Get Involved
Each year SAMHSA designs a new theme for Recovery Month and participants and promoters are encouraged to use that theme. This year’s theme is “Join the voices for recovery: Our families, our stories, our recovery!” This theme is meant to put emphasis on the family element of recovery and how important it is. It also encourages people in recovery and their families to share their stories of recovery to spread the message to others. In 2015 the theme was, “Join the voices of recovery: visible, vocal, valuable!” and in 2014 the theme was, “Join the voices for recovery: Speak up, reach out.”
SAMHSA does a great job of keeping a running list of events that take place around the country during Recovery Month. You can find an event near you and attend, or you can organize your own event and add it to the list to get more exposure. They also provide a media kit for anyone that wants to print flyers or talk about Recovery Month on their social networks. There is a section of their website devoted to personal stories of recovery which you can view and share. You can also submit your own recovery story and be a part of the hope and change that Recovery Month promotes.
If you’re in recovery you can simply talk about it. That’s the first and easiest way anyone can take part in Recovery Month. This can be as simple as talking with your friends and family about your recovery, posting your recovery date on social media, or helping someone in need find treatment or recovery resources. It’s just like with marketing, you tend to trust the word of your close friends and family when you are searching for a trustworthy car dealership, repair company, or the latest gadget. It works the same way with recovery. By being visible and letting others know you’re in recovery or you know someone in recovery, people can relate, and can imagine themselves in recovery too.
Personally, this has made all the difference for me. When I thought about getting sober I reached out to a trusted friend who I knew was in recovery. Now I am the person people reach out to. Recovery works and we can all benefit from it, so let’s talk about it this Recovery Month.
Below are some Recovery Month event that are taking place in the Orlando area.
Step in the Name of Love Recovery Walk/Run – Saturday, September 17, 2016. Orlando, FL. Sign up here.
National Recovery Month Donation Yoga Class – Saturday, September 17, 2016. Orlando, FL. Sign up here.
Recovery Walk: New Smyrna Beach – Saturday, September 24, 2016. New Smyrna Beach, FL. Sign up here.