National Recovery Month

Transforming lives during National Recovery Month & supporting addiction recovery. Explore events, initiatives & resources. Join the movement!

By Alis Behavioral Health Staff

July 2, 2024

Understanding National Recovery Month

National Recovery Month, an annual observance held every September, plays a vital role in promoting and supporting evidence-based treatment and recovery practices, the recovery community, and service providers dedicated to making recovery possible. Since its inception in 1989, National Recovery Month has grown in significance and recognition, helping to break barriers and transform lives affected by substance use disorders.

Evolution of Recovery Month

National Recovery Month has come a long way since its establishment. Originally known as "TreatmentWorks! Month," it sought to raise awareness about the effectiveness of treatment for substance use disorders and highlight the accomplishments of individuals in recovery. Over time, the observance evolved and expanded its focus to encompass a broader understanding of recovery.

Today, National Recovery Month recognizes the millions of Americans in treatment for substance misuse and recovery service providers. It also aims to encourage those struggling with substance misuse to seek professional help, emphasizing the importance of recovery as a journey towards health and well-being [1].

Presidential Recognition

The significance of National Recovery Month is further underscored by the recognition it receives from the highest office in the United States. In 2023, President Biden declared September as "National Recovery Month," reaffirming the nation's commitment to preventing substance use disorder, supporting individuals in need, and providing resources for people in recovery to lead healthy and productive lives [2].

This presidential recognition reinforces the importance of addressing substance use disorders as a public health issue and highlights the need for comprehensive support systems that facilitate recovery. It also serves as a call to action for communities, organizations, and individuals to come together and support those on the path to recovery.

National Recovery Month continues to grow and make a positive impact, providing hope, inspiration, and resources for individuals and families affected by substance use disorders. By shining a spotlight on recovery and breaking down barriers, this observance plays a crucial role in transforming lives and fostering a society that embraces and supports individuals in their journey to overcome addiction.

Importance of Recovery

Recovery from mental health and substance use conditions is of utmost importance in transforming lives and fostering well-being. Understanding the significance of recovery involves looking at recovery statistics and the mission of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Read about: Breaking Free from Addiction and Injuries

Recovery Statistics

Recovery is a tangible reality, with 7 in 10 adults in the United States who have experienced mental health or substance use conditions being in recovery [2]. This statistic highlights the fact that recovery is real and possible for individuals facing these challenges.

To better understand the importance of recovery, it is essential to recognize the prevalence of mental health and substance use conditions. By acknowledging that recovery is attainable for a majority of individuals, we can break down barriers and stigmas surrounding these conditions, fostering a more supportive and understanding society.

SAMHSA's Mission

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) plays a vital role in advocating for recovery and supporting individuals in their journey towards well-being. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities. They achieve this by providing resources, promoting prevention efforts, and supporting access to treatment and recovery services.

SAMHSA's initiatives align with the goals of National Recovery Month, which aims to celebrate recovery, increase awareness, and educate communities about mental health and substance use conditions. By highlighting the importance of recovery, SAMHSA helps individuals and communities thrive.

By recognizing the prevalence of recovery and understanding SAMHSA's mission, we can appreciate the significance of National Recovery Month in transforming lives and promoting a society that embraces and supports all individuals on their journey to recovery. For additional resources and support, please visit the SAMHSA website.

Celebrating Recovery Success

National Recovery Month provides a platform for celebrating the success and achievements of individuals who have embarked on the journey of recovery. It serves as a reminder that recovery is real and possible, offering hope and inspiration to those who may be struggling with mental health or substance use conditions.

National Observance

Since its inception in 1989, National Recovery Month has become a significant national observance held every September. The observance has gained recognition and support from various organizations and communities across the country. It aims to increase awareness and understanding about mental and substance use disorders by highlighting success stories of individuals in recovery through various programs and facilities [3].

During National Recovery Month, events, activities, and campaigns take place nationwide to promote the positive impact of recovery. These initiatives help reduce stigma, educate the public, and encourage individuals to seek treatment and support. The observance provides an opportunity for communities to come together to show their support for those in recovery and celebrate their accomplishments.

Recovery Achievements

Recovery Month is a time to recognize and celebrate the achievements of individuals who have embraced recovery. It highlights the resilience, strength, and determination of individuals who have overcome challenges and transformed their lives. Recovery is a deeply personal and unique journey, and each person's achievements deserve to be acknowledged and celebrated.

By sharing stories of recovery, National Recovery Month demonstrates that behavioral health is crucial to overall well-being. It emphasizes that prevention is effective, treatment works, and people can recover. Celebrating recovery achievements not only inspires and motivates others who may be struggling but also breaks down barriers and dispels misconceptions surrounding mental health and substance use disorders.

The collective celebration of recovery success during National Recovery Month helps build a supportive and understanding community. It fosters a sense of belonging for individuals in recovery and reinforces the message that they are not alone on their journey. By promoting recovery as a possibility for all, it encourages individuals to seek help, access treatment, and find the support they need.

National Recovery Month is a time to honor the strength and resilience of individuals in recovery. It serves as a reminder that recovery is possible and that support and understanding are essential for individuals and their families. By celebrating recovery achievements, we create a culture of compassion, acceptance, and hope, paving the way for a healthier and more supportive society.

Events and Initiatives

As part of National Recovery Month, various events and initiatives are organized to raise awareness about addiction recovery and celebrate the accomplishments of individuals on their recovery journeys. Two prominent events during this month are the Walk for Recovery and Recovery Month Activities.

Walk for Recovery

On September 7th, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) hosts an hour-long Walk for Recovery in Washington, D.C. This event serves as a powerful symbol of support for individuals in recovery and their families. By participating in the walk, attendees demonstrate solidarity and show that recovery is possible [1].

Recovery Month Activities

Throughout September, various organizations and communities across the country host a wide range of activities to celebrate Recovery Month. These activities are designed to promote awareness, provide education, and foster an environment of support for individuals in recovery. Some examples of Recovery Month activities include:

  • 4-part series on Foundational Skills from Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): The South Southwest Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network (SSW ATTC) region hosts this educational series, focusing on developing essential skills for individuals in recovery.
  • Presentation on Treating Substance Use Disorders in Older Adults: This informative session, also hosted by the SSW ATTC region, addresses the unique challenges and considerations when providing treatment for older adults with substance use disorders.
  • Release of Findings from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH): On September 20, SAMHSA's Office of Recovery releases findings from the NSDUH, providing valuable insights into the prevalence of recovery and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on individuals in recovery.
  • Virtual Training Session on Creating A Thriving Organization: Sponsored by the Opioid Response Network, this session focuses on maintaining a healthy work environment, reducing workplace conflict, and supporting staff and volunteer wellness.
  • Webinar Addressing Stigma Related to Mental Health and Substance Use: This webinar, held on September 22 and 28, emphasizes the importance of addressing stigma as a significant barrier to recovery from behavioral health challenges [4].

These events and activities play a crucial role in promoting dialogue, providing resources, and fostering a supportive community for individuals in recovery. They contribute to the overall mission of National Recovery Month, which is to raise awareness about addiction recovery, reduce stigma, and support individuals on their path to long-term recovery.

Theme and Focus

National Recovery Month, observed annually in September, aims to raise awareness about the importance of addiction recovery and celebrate the achievements of individuals who have overcome substance use disorders. Each year, Recovery Month has a specific theme that guides its focus and messaging. In this section, we will explore the theme for 2023 and the key messages associated with the observance.

2023 Theme

The theme for the 2023 Recovery Month is "Hope is Real. Recovery is Real." [1]. This theme highlights the profound impact that hope and recovery can have on individuals, families, and communities affected by addiction. It serves as a reminder that recovery is not only possible but also a tangible reality for those struggling with substance use disorders.

The 2023 theme emphasizes the importance of fostering hope within individuals seeking recovery and providing support systems that recognize and believe in the potential for positive change. It aims to inspire hope among those who may be feeling discouraged or overwhelmed by their addiction, encouraging them to take the first steps towards a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Key Messages

As part of the Recovery Month observance, several key messages are conveyed to promote understanding, support, and engagement in the recovery process. While these messages may vary each year, the overarching goal remains consistent: to unite individuals, families, and communities in their commitment to addiction recovery. Some key messages that may be associated with the 2023 Recovery Month theme include:

  1. Recovery is Possible: The key message of hope and recovery emphasizes that individuals with substance use disorders can achieve long-term recovery and lead fulfilling lives.
  2. Supportive Communities: The focus is on building strong and supportive communities that provide resources, understanding, and encouragement to individuals in recovery.
  3. Evidence-Based Treatment: Promoting evidence-based treatment approaches highlights the importance of utilizing scientifically proven methods to support successful recovery outcomes.
  4. Family and Community Involvement: Recognizing the role of families and communities in supporting individuals throughout their recovery journey and fostering a sense of belonging and acceptance.
  5. Celebrating Recovery Achievements: Highlighting the accomplishments of individuals in recovery and acknowledging their resilience, strength, and determination.

Through these key messages, Recovery Month aims to reduce stigma, increase awareness, and encourage individuals to seek help for substance use disorders. By fostering a culture of support and understanding, communities can play a vital role in helping individuals achieve and sustain long-term recovery.

To learn more about addiction awareness and recovery, consider exploring other related observances such as Self-Injury Awareness Day and National Gratitude Month.

Supporting Recovery

Support is a crucial element in the journey of recovery from addiction. National Recovery Month recognizes the significance of providing resources and assistance to individuals seeking to overcome addiction and maintain long-term recovery. Two important pillars of support are peer support services and resources for recovery.

Peer Support Services

Peer support plays a vital role in the recovery process. Peers, individuals who have experienced addiction and recovery first-hand, engage others by sharing their stories and lived experiences. This creates a sense of belonging, support, and hope for individuals, families, and caregivers on their recovery journey. Peer support services provide a unique form of assistance that complements professional treatment and other forms of support.

By connecting with peers, individuals in recovery can find understanding, empathy, and guidance from those who have faced similar challenges. Peers serve as role models, demonstrating that recovery is possible and offering practical advice based on their own experiences. These services foster a sense of community and help individuals build a support network that understands their unique struggles and triumphs.

Resources for Recovery

Access to resources is essential for individuals seeking recovery from addiction. National Recovery Month emphasizes the importance of providing individuals with the necessary tools and information to support their recovery journey. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers a range of resources to support recovery from substance use disorders, mental health challenges, and resources for children and families.

SAMHSA provides access to peer support workers, recovery publications, training, and technical assistance related to substance use disorder recovery. These resources are designed to support individuals in their recovery journey through various pathways. By offering a comprehensive range of resources, SAMHSA aims to ensure that individuals have the support they need to achieve and maintain recovery.

It is important for individuals in recovery to prioritize their wellness, access quality treatment, and engage in recovery support services. These resources not only assist in the recovery process but also foster healing, growth, and understanding. By utilizing available resources, individuals can enhance their chances of successful long-term recovery.

In summary, supporting recovery involves recognizing the value of peer support services and providing individuals with the necessary resources for their journey. Peer support offers a unique form of connection, guidance, and inspiration, while resources provide the tools and information needed to navigate the recovery process. Together, these elements contribute to the success and well-being of individuals in recovery.


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