For the past 32 years, September has been observed as National Recovery Month. While recovery is celebrated by individuals, families, and communities every day, September is a month in which we can increase awareness of mental health and substance use disorders and encourage individuals in need of treatment and recovery services to seek help.
Recovery Month celebrates individuals living lives in recovery and recognizes the dedicated workers who provide the prevention, treatment, and recovery support services that help make recovery possible. (www.nationalrecoverymonth.org)
On their website, SAMSHA has developed a working definition of recovery: Recovery is a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential. (www.samsha.gov/brss-tacs/recovery-support-tools-resources) Most of us would agree that recovery is an on-going process. This process requires support from other individuals in a wider community. As SAMSHA states, there are four major dimensions that support a life in recovery:
• Health: Learning to overcome, manage, or more successfully live with symptoms and making healthy choices that support one’s physical and emotional wellbeing
• Home: A stable and safe place to live
• Purpose: Meaningful daily activities, such as a job, school, volunteer work, or creative endeavors; increased ability to lead a self-directed life; and meaningful engagement in society
• Community: Relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope *SAMSHA, www.samsha.gov/brss-tacs/recovery-support-tools-resources.
The four dimensions listed above were/are essential to my recovery journey. It was important for me to make connections to other people in recovery through Mutual Aid and to receive Peer Support. It was important for me to know that I was not alone. When I came into recovery, I found other people who suffered from Substance Use Disorder who found recovery. They told me, “You never have to do anything alone.” They told me about their own experiences, their strength, and how they had found their own pathway to recovery.
I also needed support from Treatment Providers and to learn how to find purpose in my life. I was able to slowly start my journey with the help of others, share my story with others, help others, re-establish relationships with friends and family, and give back to the community. When an individual recovers, it creates a ripple effect…not only is the life of an individual changed, but families and communities are transformed.
This year’s National Recovery Month Theme is Recovery is for Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community. “The theme reminds people in recovery and those who support them, that recovery belongs to all of us…Social connections, family support, and neighborhood relationships are directly linked to wellness and recovery…the theme works to inspire people across the country to transform the “I” into “we” and build bridges between families, communities and groups. We celebrate our diversity and seek to develop deeper understanding, caring, and connections that nurtures recovery.” (www.nationalrecoverymonth.org)
Throughout the month of September, there are several events that one can attend to celebrate recovery, share stories of hope, and increase awareness and understanding about mental and substance use disorders. For more information on National Recovery Month and events in your area, you can visit the Faces and Voices of Recovery website at https://rm.facesandvoicesofrecovery.org/.
Here on Long Island, THRIVE will be hosting a Recovery Festival celebrating National Recovery Month with live music, dancing, food trucks, giveaways and guest speakers on Thursday, September 30th from 5pm-8pm at Marjorie Post Park. For more information on this event, you can visit the calendar of events located on our website. We hope to see you there as we celebrate recovery!