With September’s arrival and the approach of fall, we commemorate the incredible journeys of individuals who have faced addiction. This month is dedicated to honoring their courage and highlighting the indispensable support systems that guide them toward recovery.

The History of National Recovery Month

Let’s begin with a quick history lesson. National Recovery Month wasn’t born yesterday. It originated in 1989 as a means to raise awareness and understanding of mental health and substance use disorders. Over time, it’s transformed into a significant event, featuring a fresh theme each year to keep things engaging and relevant. 

The theme of 2023 is “Recovery for Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community.” These themes aren’t just catchy slogans; they encapsulate the essence of the recovery journey. They remind us that recovery isn’t a one-size-fits-all concept; it’s a complex, multifaceted process. In honor of this year’s theme, we’ve compiled a list of tools and resources to assist individuals on their recovery journey or support their loved ones.

Top 7 Ways To Participate In National Recovery Month

  1. Attend an event: The Recovery Month website created an online calendar to help find in-person and virtual events and recovery support. The calendar allows you to filter the calendar by type of event and location. 
  2. Post on social media: Utilizing social media to raise awareness can have a profound impact when it comes to sharing your message. Whether you or someone you love is on the path to recovery, leveraging these platforms can be highly beneficial. Several organizations, like the National Council and SAMHSA, provide social media toolkits to share images and graphics across all platforms instantly. 
  3. Upload your proclamation: Write to representatives and local government officials encouraging them to sign proclamations in support of Recovery Month and help improve access to recovery. 
  4. Join an interest group: As a member of an interest group, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in webinars featuring esteemed experts, forge connections with like-minded peers, access exclusive resources, and contribute to your own valuable insights. These specific interest groups aim to improve substance abuse care for underserved communities. 
  5. Host an event: Sometimes, building community starts with you! Host a dinner party with close friends and family or others who are in recovery to celebrate sobriety. After all, nothing brings a community together like food.
  6. Educate yourself: By subscribing to our newsletter, you can stay informed and up to date when new blog posts are published. Our articles provide valuable insights and resources to help you stay educated. Join us in making a positive impact through knowledge and awareness.
  7. Donate: Contribute to the cause and make a tangible difference. Your financial support can help fund crucial research, educational programs, and support services that raise awareness and provide assistance to those in need. Every dollar you donate brings us one step closer to fostering understanding, promoting change, and improving the lives of individuals affected by the issue at the heart of National Awareness Month. 

Key Messages and Weekly Themes

Week 1: September 4-10

The focus is on bolstering support for youth and young individuals in recovery, emphasizing the pivotal role that families and caregivers play in assisting those who are already on their recovery path or embarking on it.
Key messages: The recovery journey isn’t just for the person with the substance use or mental health issue-it includes those who care about them. 

  • Given the holistic nature of recovery, families and caregivers hold a significant role in facilitating their loved one’s path to recovery.
  • Maintaining a strong connection with supportive loved ones and trusted friends can assist young individuals in finding equilibrium between their educational pursuits and their recovery journey.
  • Families and caregivers encounter distinctive challenges while assisting a loved one in navigating the complexities of recovery from mental health issues or substance use challenges.

Week 2: September 11–17

This week’s focus is ensuring that people of color, youth, older adults, LGBTQI+, rural residents, veterans, and people with disabilities have equitable access to recovery resources. Key messages: When recovery care and support reflect someone’s unique cultural values, they are more likely to succeed.

  • No matter where you are or who you are, no one is alone in recovery.
  • Each person’s recovery journey is unique and should be based on their individual life goals and values.
  • Everyone can recover and lead a meaningful life with the right support, tools, and resources.

Week 3: September 18–24

This week’s focus is promoting a whole-person approach to wellness that addresses the social determinants of health in addition to physical and mental symptoms. Key messages: Wellness in recovery encompasses a person’s whole life, not just their substance use or mental health issues.

  • When equipped with evidence-based treatment and recovery support, people can regain their lives and contribute to their families and communities.
  • Access to housing, education, social support, and employment affect the ability to enter and maintain recovery.
  • Recovery is personal and requires tailored, individualized care and support.

Week 4: September 25–30

This week, we highlight the importance of peer support and peer support services in guiding individuals, families, and caregivers through recovery. Key messages: By sharing their stories and lived experiences, peers engage others in recovery with a vital sense of belonging, support, and hope.

  • Connecting with someone with lived experience in recovery makes it possible to see what is possible for yourself.
  • Peers know how to access services and support that are essential to recovery.
  • Peer support can help the families and caregivers of someone in recovery navigate their unique challenges and journeys.

Challenges and Future Goals

While we celebrate the strides made during National Recovery Month, it’s crucial to acknowledge that challenges persist. Addiction and mental health issues are intricate, and much work is ahead. Our collective aim is to create a world where everyone has equitable access to the support they need for recovery.

In a nutshell, National Recovery Month embodies hope, resilience, and community support. It’s about dismantling barriers, shedding light on struggles, and celebrating victories. Join us in recognizing National Recovery Month, as together, we can bring positive change to the lives of countless individuals and families.