07 Sep National Recovery Month
While every day is an opportunity to celebrate, discuss and bring awareness to recovery, the month of September is officially National Recovery Month.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration’s (SAMHSA) website, National Recovery Month is “a national observance that educates Americans on the fact that addiction treatment and mental health services can enable those with a mental and/or substance use disorder to live a healthy and rewarding life.” National Recovery Month aims not only to educate the public on the benefits of addiction treatment and mental health services, but also to work towards removing the negative stigma associated for seeking help and making services more readily available for and sought out by the people who need them most.
History of National Recovery Month
Now celebrating its 25th year, National Recovery Month began as TreatmentWorks! Month in 1989, honoring the groundbreaking work of exceptional recovery professionals. 9 years later, in 1998, it evolved to National Drug and Alcohol Addiction Recovery Month and began also celebrating and recognizing individuals in recovery from substance abuse. It further evolved 13 years later in 2011 to its current incarnation, National Recovery Month, to include individuals dealing with behavioral health issues. Today, the message of National Recovery Month is one of hope. According to SAMHSA, “the observance’s main focus is to laud the gains made by those in recovery from these conditions, just as we would those who are managing other health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease. Recovery Month spreads the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover.”
How To Get Involved
There are countless ways to get involved and celebrate National Recovery Month, such as:
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- Send a thank you note to a treatment professional that has made a difference in you or your loved ones recovery
- Volunteer with a recovery community or treatment center
- Attend, host or sponsor an event (see the SAMHSA website for more details on National Recovery Month events)
- Follow National Recovery Month on social media channels and share their content through your network
- Reach out to local government officials to encourage more support for the substance abuse and mental health communities
- Share your story of recovery to inspire others
What I Love About National Recovery Month
While I try to make it a point to celebrate recovery in my daily life, I love that we as a recovery community can take a month to officially recognize that treatment for substance abuse and mental health issues are a huge part of what make recovery possible for all of us. Recovery and mental health professionals work tirelessly day in and day out to provide the services that people who are struggling need, and they don’t always get the credit they deserve. I know that I will be seeking out, recognizing and thanking those treatment professionals who have made a difference in my recovery, and I encourage you all to do the same. Remember – none of us can recover on our own; it takes a village. Let’s make sure in celebration of National Recovery Month, we give thanks to those who have lifted us up and enabled us to find recovery.