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September is Recovery Month

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September is Recovery Month

happy group.jpgWhether or not an addict enters recovery as a result of an intervention, a court mandate, or a personal choice, the important thing is that they get there, right? So started the post that appeared on the Malibu Beach Recovery Blog on October 10, 2010.

And so begins this post, also, to mark the beginning of Recovery Month 2013, in which the recovery community stops to recognize all those who have recovered and to draw attention to the help available.  Calling attention to the month also keeps the topic of substance abuse in the public eye and hopefully leads to discussions on how we can educate people about the drug epidemic sweeping the country and educate the current generation on the perils of substance abuse.

Or, in the words of the campaign, “Recovery Month promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental and substance use disorders, celebrates people in recovery, lauds the contributions of treatment and service providers, and promotes the message that recovery in all its forms is possible. Recovery Month spreads the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover.”

In the 2010 post, I wrote about MRBC alumna Elizabeth, who took the first step for a better life by agreeing to treatment. Joan, too, has written about alumni, including Krissie Bergo and others that chose to walk through the door and do the hard work. In December 2011, Joan’s post about Julia (not her real name) who enrolled in MBRC courtesy of her Starbuck’s health insurance, was especially memorable.

While some MBRC alumni self-identified — especially at least two who accompanied Joan when she testified in front of governmental committees — but several clients chose to use a pseudonym, which speaks to the stigma associated with addiction,  another  reason to continue marking this month every year. Anyone can become addicted, yet many people cast harsh aspersions on those who do.

The SAMHSA site promoting Recovery Month has a wealth of information on activities and events taking place all over. You can learn about Recovery walks (the one in my state is highly publicized every year), there are banners and logos to add to personal websites and those of organizations, and there’s information on addiction and recovery, of course. I entered Malibu’s zipcode on one page to search for events, and seven came up. There’s a talk on the science of addiction treatment and another on how addiction affects the family, both by addiction experts. There was an open forum on the evolution of addiction treatment, and a walk for overdose awareness. (Unfortunately, both of the last two, and one other event, were pre-September, which is a problem.) The L.A. Dodgers will be marking the month during a game on September 10, which seems like a highlight. That’s part of what I saw just from entering one zipcode, and just to look for events. There is so much more on the site.

The campaign is truly comprehensive; there’s even a link to content in Spanish. (That’s so timely when The Partnership at recently released information that “Hispanic teens are using drugs at alarmingly higher levels when compared to teens from other ethnic groups.”

For anyone who has had a family member embroiled in addiction, the topic is never far from mind. As I write, my leg is killing me. I have no idea what I did, I think it may be the result of yard work and bending the wrong way. When I think of muscle relaxers or pain pills, I decide to live with the pain for awhile longer. I’m not afraid I’ll get addicted, but just knowing the danger is enough of a deterrent. I don’t like the thought of drugs even though I know they can provide relief. I wonder how many people will cross that line today and start down the wrong path. Trying to keep even one person from doing that is also what Recovery Month is about.

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