National Recovery Month: September 2018 — Join the Voices for Recovery: Invest in Health, Home, Purpose, and Community.
With the worldwide drug epidemic, it’s difficult to find someone that hasn’t been touched by the disease of addiction in some way or another. Many people may not know is that there is a very high percentage of people that also have a mental illness coupled with addiction. This is known as a co-occurring disorder, or also known as a dual-diagnosis.
What is A Co-Occurring Disorder?
The coexistence of both a mental health and a substance use disorder is referred to as co-occurring disorders. According to SAMHSA’s (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (1), approximately 7.9 million adults had co-occurring disorders in 2014. During the past year, for those adults surveyed who experienced substance use disorders and any mental illness, rates were highest among adults ages 26 to 49 (42.7%). For adults with past-year serious mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorders, rates were highest among those ages 18 to 25 (35.3%) in 2014. (2)
For those of us who live with co-occurring disorders, it is much more difficult to maintain recovery without a treatment plan that is specifically designed to treat both substance abuse and mental disorders simultaneously. Many of us addicts will face relapse after relapse because we treat one disorder and not the other, simply because we were unaware both need to be addressed. Because of this, it is crucial to spread as much awareness about the many forms of recovery in our communities as possible. National Recovery Month is the social awareness campaign that provides us with the platform to do so.
What is National Recovery Month?
“Recovery Month promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental and substance use disorders, celebrates people in recovery, lauds the contributions of treatment and service providers, and promotes the message that recovery in all its forms is possible. Recovery Month spreads the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover.” (3)
“National Recovery Month (Recovery Month) is a national observance held every September to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with a mental and/or substance use disorder to live a healthy and rewarding life.
Recovery Month celebrates the gains made by those in recovery, just as we celebrate health improvements made by those who are managing other health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease. The observance reinforces the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover.
There are millions of Americans whose lives have been transformed through recovery. Since these successes often go unnoticed by the broader population, Recovery Month provides a vehicle for everyone to celebrate these accomplishments. Each September, tens of thousands of prevention, treatment, and recovery programs and facilities around the country celebrate Recovery Month. They speak about the gains made by those in recovery and share their success stories with their neighbors, friends, and colleagues. In doing so, everyone helps to increase awareness and furthers a greater understanding of the diseases of mental and substance use disorders.” (4)
National Recovery Month Theme for 2018:
The theme for Recovery Month 2018 is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Invest in Health, Home, Purpose, and Community.” The 2018 theme explores how integrated care, a strong community, sense of purpose, and leadership contributes to effective treatments that sustain the recovery of persons with mental and substance use disorders. (5)
How Can You Get Involved?
Your individual contribution of showing up and supporting recovery-related efforts are needed beyond measure. Your benefactions, no matter how big or how small, go such a long way.
Here are a few ideas of ways to get involved in a proactive way:
- Attend/Volunteer/Sponsor a recovery rally.
- Attend/Host educational events.
- Attend/Host a recovery festival.
- Run/Walk in recovery related marathons.
- Speak publicly about the truths of addiction and hope of recovery.
- Attend a conference/workshop/seminar.
- Attend/Host a recovery film festival.
- Attend/Host a sober tailgate party.
- Host/Attend a recovery expo.
Find a list of recovery events in your area.
May you find your path to joining the voices for recovery and invest in health, home, purpose, and community this National Recovery Month and every month to follow.
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Ashley is a recovering addict, that also lives with a dual diagnosis for Bipolar II. Her mission is to strengthen her own recovery and mental health by sharing her experience, strength, hope, and support with other addicts and those in the mental health community. Ashley uses her online resources to reach addicts (those recovering and also those still suffering from active addiction) and their loved ones across the world. Through this journey, she has discovered her passion for writing, blog management, and content curating, which has turned into a fulfilling and passionate career for her.