Recovering from drug and alcohol addiction is a lifelong journey that’s worth celebrating. Many people celebrate their recovery individually with sobriety coins, sober anniversaries, and sobriety birthdays, but September is also National Recovery Month, a time to collectively celebrate and support drug and alcohol recovery.
Whether you’re in active recovery, have family members and friends who are recovering from addiction, or are curious about sobriety, September is a time to raise addiction awareness, celebrate with those who have recovered, and recognize and uplift those who are fighting to recover. Here’s what you need to know about National Recovery Month, why we recognize it in September, and how you can celebrate the occasion with family, friends, and loved ones.
The History Of National Recovery Month
Even though the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) launched National Recovery Month in 1989, the idea originated in 1935. During that time, Dr. Richard Cramer started a campaign called “Keep America Sober.” Five years later, President Roosevelt issued a proclamation declaring September as National Alcoholism Prevention Month. Since then, the month has become an annual event that seeks to help, support, and celebrate individuals recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.
Other objectives include:
- Spreading the message that recovery is possible
- Sharing the idea the behavioral health is essential for overall health
- Promoting the benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for addiction and mental health disorders
- Appreciating the contributions of treatment and service providers
- Letting people know that treatment is effective and that people can and do recover
National Recovery Month is celebrated in September to coincide with Alcoholics Anonymous’ Big Book, which was first published on September 11, 1939. The text, which is highly referenced today, provides guidance and support for individuals struggling with addiction by offering practical advice on how to live an abstinent and fulfilling life. In addition to containing the basic tenants of the AA program, the book discusses alcohol addiction and its consequences, ways to overcome alcoholism, and what it means to be a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. The book also includes personal stories of people who have struggled with alcoholism. Today, the month of September represents the same hope for people recovering from all types of substance abuse.
This Year’s National Recovery Month Theme
Each year, SAMHSA selects a theme for the month and creates a toolkit for organizations to use. This year represents the 32nd year of National Recovery Month, and the theme is “Recovery Is For Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community.” The theme was chosen to remind people that recovery belongs to everyone. We all have a role to play to help diminish barriers to recovery and to create inclusive spaces and programs for recovery. Whether you’re in treatment for addiction, sustaining long-term recovery, or supporting someone through recovery, everyone can participate in and take action during this year’s National Recovery Month.
6 Ways To Support and Celebrate National Recovery Month
National Recovery Month is a great time to share addiction and recovery stories. Sharing and hearing these kinds of stories can help break the stigma surrounding addiction and spread hope that recovery is possible. There are several ways to share, hear, and celebrate these stories of hope, but some of the most common include attending events at local treatment centers and planning an activity-based family outing. You can also:
- Host An Event. The National Recovery Month website lists a number of events happening throughout September, but you can certainly host your own event. You can host a movie night that showcases films about substance abuse and addiction recovery. You can invite people to your house to discuss books and memoirs about addiction. If you prefer to be more creative, you can host a painting or karaoke night that uses the arts to explore addiction, recovery, and sobriety. If you choose to host an event, post it on the Recovery Month’s website so others can find it.
- Attend A Recovery Month Event. If you prefer to attend an event, check out The Recovery Month’s online calendar. There, you’ll find several virtual and in-person sober and recovery events to attend. Every Friday in September, for example, you can attend the Friday Frenzy Speaker Jam on Zoom which features discussions on family recovery, abstinence-based recovery, spiritual recovery, and more. You can also virtually attend the 2021 Virtual Resource Fair and the Recovery Happens 2021 Art show.
- Promote National Recovery Month On Social Media. One of the easiest ways to support and celebrate Recovery Month is to tell others about what’s happening on social media. You can share recovery stories, positive messages about treatment and recovery, and links to recovery resources, or promote some of the month’s events on your various social media pages. You can also promote the month’s events and activities by using the hashtag #recoverymonth.
- Volunteer and Give Back To The Recovery Community. You can also celebrate Recovery Month by volunteering at an organization that helps people struggling with substance abuse. Whether you choose to share your time, resources, skills, or recovery story, sharing your experience can inspire and motivate others.
- Educate A Friend About Recovery. Share your recovery story with a friend or educate them about addiction. You can do this as a one-on-one conversation or in a group setting. You can also encourage others to share their own experiences with substance abuse and addiction. Talking about addiction and sharing recovery stories can reduce the stigma associated with addiction and encourage others to seek the treatment they need.
- Plan A Fun-Filled Sober Day. If you’ve recovered from addiction or know someone who has, plan a fun-filled sober day to celebrate Recovery Month. Invite your family and friends to participate in some of your favorite sober activities. Eat some of your favorite foods. Have a sober party. Take a sober trip with your loved ones and some of your closest friends. Just be sure you take the necessary precautions to remain safe and sober for your trip.
Take Time To Support and Celebrate The Beauty of Recovery
Recovering from drug and alcohol addiction is a magnificent accomplishment. Celebrate it. Educate others. Encourage others to seek treatment. Host or attend an event. Volunteer and give back to the recovery community. Listen to inspiring stories of recovery. Whatever you do, take time to support and celebrate those who have recovered from drug and alcohol addiction.
Here at Meta Addiction Treatment, we know that difficult roads can lead to beautiful destinations. Take the time to honor the beautiful destination that is addiction recovery.