This September represents a hugely important month for addicts past and present across the United States, because this month is National Recovery Month.

National Recovery Month is organized by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (or SAMHSA for short), an organization that has worked to further the public understanding of addiction in the United States. The National Recovery Month is a huge part of the work that they do and every year it forces people nationwide to take note of a growing problem that is threatening to breakdown the fabric of American society.

The Purpose of National Recovery Month

National Recovery Month aims to highlight substance abuse disorders and to gather every former and current addict together, teaching them that they can learn from each other and help each other.

At the FootPrints Behavioral Health Center, we have worked with many addicts over the years and have helped many on the road to recovery. We know how traumatic withdrawals can be, so we’re happy to support a campaign that celebrates that journey and helps others to take it as well.

National Recovery Month is essential for raising awareness about an issue that seems to be going unnoticed. Addicts don’t get the respect they deserve and many see them as victims of their own bad choices. But the truth is that there is often an underlying cause, whether in the form of previous trauma or a mental health problem.

The National Bureau of Economic Research found a definitive connection between substance abuse and mental health disorders, determining that a significant percentage of those who use substances have some form of preexisting mental health issue. And that number increases significantly in those who abuse substances repeatedly.

For people with a mental illness, drugs and alcohol are an escape and a form of self-medication. It can also be something they have been pressured into by their peers, by their partners or even by their parents. They are victims, not criminals, and they deserve to be treated as such.

And when you consider that deaths from drug overdoses are on the rise, accounting for more than 50,000 deaths every year in the US, with alcohol accounting for another 90,000 or so, it’s a problem that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

Getting Involved with National Recovery Month

If you want to get involved with National Recovery Month, there are many things you can do to help. You do not need to be a former drug addict or alcoholic, you don’t even need to have used these substances. Everyone is encouraged to help, as drug addictions and alcohol addictions can damage all of us, breaking down communities and families.

Take a look at the National Recovery Month event’s page to find an event near you or to plan your own event. Anything that can raise awareness is welcome, and there are countless ways you can do this, just as there are countless ways you can raise money for good causes.

They can help you to advertise your event if you plan one, and they can also advise on the best plan of action for raising funds, distributing those funds and getting publicity. Some of the events typically scheduled for National Recovery Month, and some of the events you can arrange yourself, include:

 Sponsored walks and runs (one of the most common features of National Recovery Month)

  • Lectures, workshops and community discussions (a great way to spread awareness and share stories)
  • Festivals, concerts and other open-air events.
  • Prize-draws
  • Online events
  • Giveaways
  • Cook-outs
  • Art shows

How you plan these events is up to you, but the help and support is there if you want it. The only thing that the National Recovery Month advise is that addiction and recovery is the focal point of the event, and all addicts and recovered addicts should feel that they can comfortably attend. This means that it’s not a good idea to serve alcohol or to do anything that glorifies the use of drugs and alcohol in any way.

Of course, you don’t have to plan your own event. Just log on, find one near you and join in the festivities. You can do your bit simply by attending, donating, inviting your friends, and announcing it through social media.