According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 90% of individuals with a substance use disorder (SUD) do not seek treatment.
This past September was SAMHSA’s National Recovery Month, and with the number of people suffering from a SUD so high, it’s important to celebrate recovery year-round so that people who are struggling can see help is always accessible and affordable.
With COVID-19, quarantining, and social distancing, honoring and celebrating National Recovery Month this past September was harder than in previous years. For this reason, now more than ever it’s important to share with people the significance of recovery principles.
Each year, National Recovery Month serves to educate about the benefits of treatment and recovery services. It also promotes key messaging: prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and recover. Here are a few tips to spread the message in your community throughout the year.
During these uncertain times, many people are feeling disconnected. Reach out to people you know in recovery. They may or may not be struggling, but either way they will appreciate the gesture. Celebrate their success and make sure they’re doing okay. Remind them about the importance of recovery and suggest they reach out to others they know and do the same.
In these times of isolation, something as simple as a phone call or FaceTime can do wonders for someone in recovery. It’s important for people in the recovery community to support one another. Everyone in recovery shares a bond by living through similar circumstances, so reach out, say hello, and make a difference. You’ll likely benefit from these interactions, too. Whether you end up talking someone through a tough moment or reconnecting with an old friend, you’ll walk away feeling better.
Organize a virtual event for people you know in recovery. Have them invite their friends and family members, and people they know who may need help. Have the event be an educational forum and talk about your own story and ask attendees to share theirs. Recovery isn’t always an easy subject to talk about, but the more it is, discussed the more normal the conversation becomes. Remember: there is no shame in recovery. Increase awareness this month and fight the stigma recovery sometimes holds.
Another option is to consider adding a fund drive to your virtual event. Ask attendees to make a donation to a specific organization or charity of your choice. There are many local shelters and addiction outreach organizations that can always use monetary help, especially these days.
Attend More Meetings
Have you stopped attending meetings because of COVID-19? Have online recovery support meetings left you wanting more? Now is a great time to reverse that. Many 12-step meetings have reopened recently, but there are still many more online. Check out 12-step recovery Zoom meetings sponsored by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), both of which have listings of online meetings on their websites. Another outlet is Facebook, where the Recovery Centers of America Alumni Association hosts a variety of recovery themed meetings on the Facebook platform and via WebEx that may be accessed by going to our Facebook events page. The RCA Alumni Association has also restarted their in-person Thursday night weekly speaker meetings at RCA Devon. Hear an RCA alumnus share their experience, strength, and hope every Thursday at 7PM. RCA Devon is located at 235 W. Lancaster Ave., Devon PA, 19333. Masks and temperature checks are required.
Celebrate your own recovery at a meeting. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished and let others know they should be proud of their successes as well. Remind meeting attendees it’s National Recovery Month and to spread the word themselves or reach out to someone who may be in need.
Recovery is Year Round
We celebrated National Recovery Month in September, but in reality, recovery takes place every day of the year. This year, getting the word out and celebrating National Recovery Month was hard, so why not keep spreading the word? Encourage people in your life to be aware of what it means to be in recovery and celebrate and honor those who are. It’s important to break down barriers and educate what it means for someone to be in recovery. Remember, the main message of recovery is that prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover.
Recovery Centers of America is Here for You
It’s been tough for everyone in 2020, but especially for those suffering from a substance use disorder. If you’ve relapsed, been thinking about entering treatment, or have a loved one who would benefit from inpatient or outpatient treatment, Recovery Centers of America is here for you, 24/7. If you’re struggling or need help, call any time at 1-800-RECOVERY.