Throughout Recovery Month, people celebrate the achievements made by patients in recovery. It reinforces the message that behavioral health is a vital part of an individual’s overall health. In fact, drug misuse affects millions of Americans. Recovery offers ways to return to a sober and healthy life. This celebration honors success stories and acknowledges the hard work and dedication that is involved with the recovery process. Also, emphasis is placed on mental illnesses and substance misuse disorders.
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History of National Recovery Month
Markedly, this monthly event began in 1989. In particular, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration wanted a way to shine an important light on addiction and mental health recovery. The celebration was created to promote evidence-based treatments and to recognize the hard work and dedication of service providers. The original goal was to demonstrate the accessibility of recovery help. In other words, it was meant as a positive way to highlight recovery stories and to give helpful prevention tips to people who were in dangerous situations.
How Recovery Month Has Evolved
Over the past 10 years, addiction fatalities have increased dramatically. To be sure, today’s opioid crisis has become quite serious. These drugs are extremely addictive and have caused many people to require care. During National Recovery Month, it has become important to educate the public about the dangers of these drugs. However, it has also become a way to relay a message of hope.
A Message for 2021
This year’s message is a reminder to people who are in recovery. Also, it is dedicated to individuals who support loved ones in the midst of recovery. Understanding that no one is alone on the journey is a helpful tool.
Each person’s journey is different. However, working together lightens the burdens. In fact, more and more effective treatments are being developed to help people regain long-term sobriety. Also, educational resources and group therapies are available to family members who must care for loved ones with substance misuse problems.
The Importance of Awareness Surrounding Addiction Recovery
When a person is at the height of a drug misuse disorder, he or she may experience depression and feel helpless. This only feeds the endless cycle of addiction. Again, the purpose of Recovery Month is to shed awareness on the struggles of people who are battling this problem. Also, it helps loved ones who do not know how to make things better. When positive stories of recovery fill the public, it brings a sense of hope. Also, it explains the numerous programs and therapies that are available.
Ways that Individuals Can Make the Most of This Month
There are over 200 organizations that show support for recovery. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services offer a variety of resources for people in the community. For example, Partnership To End Addiction is just one group that is trying to help change the story of addiction. People are encouraged to get involved and to offer support by donating or creating a fundraiser. Also, an individual may show empathy and personal experience by becoming a volunteer and by sharing positive stories with his or her community.
Throughout this month and the months to come, there are a number of worthwhile charities that could use help increasing awareness and dispelling the stigma around addiction. In fact, these organizations are seeking volunteers to use their voices, give some time, and provide funding so that they may continue strengthening the recovery community.
- Shatterproof: Started by Gary Mendell, Shatterproof has raised over $9 million for addiction treatment. Its mission is to protect children from becoming affected and to lessen the stigma attached to individuals who struggle with a misuse disorder. Specifically, its goal is to cut drug-related deaths by half.
- Foundation for Alcohol Research: This foundation was started in 2008 to raise money for research regarding alcohol addiction. All donations go directly toward effective treatments.
- To Write Love On Her Arms: Founded in 2006, this organization targets substance misuse and the mental health issues that commonly co-exist. For example, individuals who abuse drugs or alcohol may also suffer from conditions like depression. Learning how to simultaneously deal with both increases a person’s quality of life.
Northern Illinois Recovery
Licensed Physician and Surgeon
Dr. Beth Dunlap, a board-certified addiction medicine and family medicine physician, and is the medical director at Northern Illinois Recovery Center. She is responsible for overseeing all the integrated medical services at both campuses. Beth completed medical school, residency, and fellowship at Northwestern University, where she continues to serve on the faculty as a member of the Department of Family and Community Medicine. She has extensive experience in addiction medicine at all levels of care, and her clinical interests include integrated primary care and addiction medicine, harm reduction, and medication-assisted treatment.