National Recovery Month has been observed every September since 1989. It was established by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a branch of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. Throughout the month, a creative combination of in-person and media events spotlight addiction and recovery issues. These festive and informative events serve several important purposes.
They commemorate the tremendous progress of millions of people battling addiction. Event organizers provide information on addiction and recovery issues and they also bring into focus new and innovative treatments. The events celebrate the family, friends, organizations, facilities, and health care professionals that bolster the addicted as they brave through their harrowing fight.
National Recovery Month debuted in 1989 as Treatment Works! Month. It initially focused on the tireless efforts and sincere dedication of health care professionals who assist in recovery. In 1998, it became National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month when it added the celebration of recovering individuals and their support systems to its platform. In 2011, it further evolved into National Recovery Month. At this time, mental illness was ultimately and universally recognized as a major contributor to the debilitating disease.
Anyone who has ever struggled with addiction and anyone who has ever loved or supported someone through their struggle can attest to the strength and endurance required to overcome the daunting disease. Unfortunately, not everyone wins their battle the first time around. Often it takes more than one try to become and remain sober.
The annual September affair helps break the stigma associated with addiction and therefore often inspires others to begin the journey to conquer their illness. National Recovery Month organizers and participants employ holistic approaches to confront the many aspects of recovery and addiction. They provide invaluable support that people crave while striving for a drug free life. This support is both offered and given without judgment.
During the month, new discoveries and approaches to the fight are highlighted. Organizers also address the overall mental health and lack of coping mechanisms that often lead to drug experimentation when people feel driven to insulate themselves from or escape pains experienced in their lives.
Each National Recovery Month has a unique theme. The 2020 theme “Join the Voices for Recovery: Celebrating Connections”, focuses on the importance of unity when tackling addiction and supporting recovery. SAMSHA provides tool kits replete with themed materials and resources to aid individual organizations in planning and executing their celebrations.