Most of us are aware that substance use can cause fatalities, illnesses, and the risk of overdose. It’s easy to feel powerless and hopeless in the face of all the headlines and statistics that emphasize the scope of the problem.
As we address the issue with treatment, it is also important to inform and educate people about substance use, underscored by prevention and education initiatives to help people avoid and recover from substance use disorder.
About National Recovery Month
Now in its 30th year, National Recovery Month (sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), is dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders, celebrating recovery, and sharing recovery stories and resources.
The theme this year was Join the Voices for Recovery: Together We Are Stronger. Sharing stories of recovery and wellness is essential to counterbalance stigma and make people aware that treatment is effective, and that people can recover. There are over 23 million people living in recovery in the United States alone.
Each September tens of thousands of prevention, treatment, and recovery programs and facilities around the country celebrate National Recovery Month. Individuals share their success stories online and in person, and by doing so increase awareness and further understanding about mental health and substance use disorders. Recovery Month also highlights the achievements of individuals who have reclaimed their lives in long-term recovery and celebrates the treatment and recovery service providers who make recovery possible.
Resources and Education Help Break Stigma
This September Google rolled out a new locator tool to help people search for relevant support resources for people in recovery or supporting someone in recovery through a new Google initiative called Recover Together. On September 12th, Google shared a link to these new resources on their home page and in doing so helped to create awareness on the recovery movement with the goal to educate and inform millions of people.
The Recover Together initiative is also helping people understand the language of recovery to encourage everyone to be thoughtful with the words used around substance use. Some common terms, even those historically used by those in recovery, can reinforce stigma and even discourage people from seeking treatment. Google is also working with the Voices Project to encourage people to share their stories of recovery and help people know they aren’t alone.
The Herren Team and National Recovery Month
The Herren Team, including Herren Project and Herren Wellness, participated in several events and activities during National Recovery Month!
On September 14th, the Herren Team participated in the WaterFire Rally 4 Recovery event in Providence, RI. Rally 4 Recovery Rhode Island partnered with WaterFire Providence to celebrate National Recovery Month’s 30th anniversary.
Every year Rally 4 Recovery RI puts on a celebration that honors people who have been in recovery for any amount of time and memorializes the ones that have died as a result of substance use. The event features over eighty bonfires, flickering firelight on the arched bridges, torch-lit vessels traveling down the river, and music from around the world. Alcohol was not served at this event and featured several resources, workshops, and information about substance use and recovery.
The Herren Team also had a great time at Herren Project’s first annual dodgeball tournament! The tournament celebrated the healing joy and strength that comes with recovery and featured a dodgeball tournament, recovery meetings, and family activities. The Herren Wellness team proudly took home the first-place trophy! It was an amazing experience to share stories, make new friends, and see so many amazing examples of people living a life of recovery and wellness.
Beyond National Recovery Month
Recovery month may be coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean we stop informing and educating people about substance use and recovery! We encourage everyone to continue to share their stories of recovery, reach out to people who are struggling, share resources and information, and get informed about how the best ways to be helpful.
The more we talk openly, honestly, and with compassion about substance use, the more people will feel encouraged to reach out for help and be part of the solution. Together We Recover!