Every September, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) sponsors National Recovery Month to both celebrate those living in recovery, and to spread awareness and understanding of mental health issues and substance use disorders. Recovery Month started life as Treatment Works! Month back in 1989 which focused on the efforts of substance use treatment professionals. In 1998 it turned into National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month when the campaign expanded to include those with substance use disorders in recovery. Finally, in 2011 the day was renamed to National Recovery Month to have a broader scope of all behavioural health. This year’s theme is Join the voices for recovery: invest in health, home, purpose, and community. While this theme may seem broad, it delivers on some of the key factors to a person’s successful recovery.
Health and Home
Substance use is often the symptom of a larger problem. For some struggling with opioids, it is because they have an unrelated health concern that has required opioid medication they are now dependent on. For others, it may be an undiagnosed mental or physical injury or ailment that they are now self-medicating for. SAMHSA advocates for integrated care so that the individual is receiving the best, most well-rounded care possible. Just as general good health aids recovery, so does a safe and secure living environment. Living on the streets can put people in many different kinds of unsafe situations, as well as additional mental stress and anxiety due to not having a regular place of residence. Working with local governments to ensure supported housing is available can greatly alleviate barriers to recovery.
Purpose and Community
Something most drug rehabs in Canada will touch on during treatment is finding a person’s purpose, their drive or motivation in life. When someone feels they are not needed, not wanted, it can be hard for them to be inspired to make healthy changes. A community can be the start of fostering a purpose in someone. Whether that means finding a local meeting or contacting our specialist to find an appropriate drug and alcohol treatment centre, finding a community can help pull people through the hard steps of recovery.