September Is National Recovery Month

Recovery Month spreads the positive message that behavioral health is essential.

Posted Sep 02, 2020

September is National Recovery Month, initiated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 

"Recovery Month promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental health and substance use disorders, celebrates people in recovery, applauds the contributions of treatment and service providers, and promotes the message that recovery in all its forms is possible. This is a national observance held every September to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with mental and substance use disorders to live healthy and rewarding lives. Now in its 31st year, Recovery Month celebrates the gains made by those living in recovery." —SAMSHA

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.

Looking at the numbers

An estimated 22 million Americans are in recovery from opioids and other substances. This number is "estimated" because state and federal governments do not track recovery as closely as they track addiction rates or overdoses. The vast majority of individuals struggling with addiction need a professional licensed treatment center. Very few individuals can become sober without any intervention. 

You must be the one who chooses recovery

There are many steps to the treatment and recovery process. The only way you can overcome your substance abuse disorder and be successful in your recovery is if you choose to get better. Nobody in your life, whether a loved one, health care professional, or judge will make that decision for you. Until you make the personal choice to overcome your addiction, you will still be fighting the toughest battle of your life.

Stages of recovery

  • Early awareness and acknowledgment of the problem. This includes the pre-contemplation, contemplation, and preparation stages. You may initially be justifying your behavior and making excuses. You will soon realize that you need to accept that you have a problem, and you need to make a change. The preparation stage includes making concrete plans. 
  • Gathering information about your addiction, taking a pledge of abstinence, or researching substance abuse treatment centers are all part of the preparation stage. 
  • Determination and commitment to treatment. This stage is the foundation for long-term recovery in which you are taking steps to make a change. You may be changing your surroundings, taking medication to help with your cravings, or entering into a drug treatment program. When entering into a substance abuse treatment program, you will go through intake and detoxification before you enter therapy and group sessions. 
  • Entering into recovery after treatment and finding a new way of living. Many believe that admitting there is a problem and entering into a treatment program is the most challenging step. However, entering into recovery after completing treatment may be the most critical and challenging step in recovery. You are now coming back into the real world where you will have cravings and external stressors. You no longer have someone watching over you or offering you advice. You must make decisions on your own that will affect your recovery, so choose wisely. Enrolling in outpatient therapy weekly, whether it is family therapy, group therapy, or individual therapy is beneficial for this stage of recovery. 
  • Maintenance therapy for a lifelong recovery journey. Joining support groups, making a relapse prevention plan, and finding a healthy community are all essential aspects of maintaining your sobriety over the long-term. If you do relapse at any stage, it is important to have a support group and a relapse treatment plan so you can get back on track.