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Addiction is a heart-breaking part of the world today, affecting a wide range of people in various classes, cultures and genders. Since the late 1990s, substance abuse and addictions have brought more devastation and destruction, as deaths from these continue to increase in the United States. 

The hope and purpose for National Recovery Month is to acknowledge and address these concerns, providing hope and healing for the millions of individuals and families who are affected by addiction.

History of National Recovery Month

National Recovery Month has a background that dates back more than 30 years, when it was begun in the United States by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in 1989. The idea surrounding the event was to raise awareness for and minimize sigmas about addiction and recovery so that more people would gain the support they need as well as celebrating their accomplishments in overcoming substance abuse.

In 2020, the SAMHSA released its responsibility for managing themes and marketing for National Recovery Month, and the task was picked up by some other organizations. These groups include the National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) as well as the organization called Faces & Voices of Recovery.  

The permanent tagline that has been adopted by National Recovery Month is “Every Person. Every Family. Every Community.” The idea behind this theme is that substance abuse and addictions impact everyone and it is important to the recovery process to have support and care on a variety of levels.

While September is celebrated as National Recovery Month in the United States, many cities and provinces in the country of Canada have also adopted a similar idea. Starting in 2012, various supporters of the cause began by observing Recovery Day on the last day of September and the tradition has continued annually.

How to Celebrate National Recovery Month

Whether a person who is in recovery, a family member or friend, or simply a concerned citizen who is part of a community, anyone and everyone can get on board to observe National Recovery Month and celebrate the lives of those who have been brought back from addiction and substance abuse through the recovery process!

Check out some of these ideas for getting involved with National Recovery Month:

Support a Friend in Recovery

One of the most important impacts a person can make is to support a friend or family member in their recovery process. Not sure how to help? Just ask! Perhaps it could be something as simple as saying how proud you are of them and that you noticed their hard work. Or maybe they would appreciate some other kind of support that sets aside judgment. Each individual has different needs at different times, so just encouraging them and showing how much they are loved is one of the best ways to be an advocate for National Recovery Month.

Join Some National Recovery Month Events

The Faces and Voices of Recovery organization has made it easy for individuals, families and friend groups to participate in National Recovery Month by publishing their website filled with resources and events that take place all throughout the month. Information regarding luncheons, lectures, seminars, rallies, resource fairs and even candlelight vigils can all be accessed through the calendar where events can be added voluntarily by those who are hosting them. Check out the calendar and get involved in the day! 

Host a National Recovery Month Event

If there are not any events that are available to attend locally, perhaps it would be a good idea to get started on planning one! Don’t let the idea of hosting an event be intimidating because it can be as small or as large as desired. It could be something intimate like a sober party or festival that helps those who aren’t drinking to not be surrounded by alcohol. Or a community candlelight vigil for overdose awareness.

Those who have lost a family member or friend to addiction may want to arrange a memorial walk to not only remember them but also to raise funds in support of recovery programs. Any event held in observance of National Recovery Month is sure to be helpful in raising awareness and building community. Those who want to make their events public can post it on the Faces and Voices of Recovery website.

Request a Proclamation

Each year, the President of the United States typically makes a proclamation from the White House in honor of the observance of September as National Recovery Month. But beyond a federal proclamation, it helps to be able to get state and local communities involved when other government representatives also make their own proclamations.

Encouraging proclamations can go as high as the state governor or could simply be something that appeals to the local school board. City and state governments, organizations and tribes have all issued proclamations that help to garner support through a commitment to providing access to treatment. These types of requests can be accomplished through a letter or email to representatives. The Faces and Voices of Recovery website offers a simple format for making this type of request easy. 

Learn Some Recovery Statistics

In honor of National Recovery Month, those who are not quite sure that addiction and substance abuse are pervasive problems in society today may be interested in learning a little more about facts and statistics related to the issue. Consider some of this information (and perhaps share it) to raise awareness about the impact and importance of recovery:

  • Roughly 75% of people who seek addiction treatment are successful.
  • Of the more than 30% of people suffering from addiction, less than 8% get the help they need.
  • Up to 40% of people in the US who need treatment can’t get it for financial reasons.

Wear Some Recovery Merch

Get connected and show support for National Recovery Month by wearing that merchandise so everyone knows! Access to various items like sweatshirts, scarves, t-shirts and more can be gained through the Faces and Voices of Recovery website. Or, even better, grab a group of friends or family members and get some supportive shirts or other gear printed to raise awareness in support of those in recovery.

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