September is the 32nd anniversary of National Recovery Month. It is a time to celebrate those in recovery and support new evidence-based practices within the field of addiction. This year’s theme is, “Recovery is for Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, and Every Community.” While it is important to remember that addiction does not discriminate and can happen to anyone, it’s equally important to remember that people can recover from addiction, and that many of us are doing it every day.
I started using substances when I was 11 years old. During my active addiction, I had accepted the fact that I would not live past 30 and that was okay because, “only the good die young” and who wanted to grow old anyway. In my last couple of years of active use, I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror. I was constantly filled with shame, remorse, hurt, fear, and disgust at who I was and what I had done. My relationships with family and friends were broken and I could be in a room full of people and feel absolutely alone.
I am grateful for all the counselors, treatment providers, people from support groups, probation officers, family, and friends that I have met during my treatment and recovery. Seven years ago when I entered treatment, it was these people who helped me start to put the pieces of the puzzle that my life back together. Today I am able to look in a mirror and not hate what I see. Those dark moments of my past can be shared with others to give hope.
The past seven years have been challenging, but today I live a life that seven years ago I never could have imagined. Two years ago I celebrated my 30th birthday, and I am so grateful that I didn’t die of my addiction. In recovery I have accomplished things that wouldn’t have been possible if I was still in active addiction. I’ve obtained an Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master's degree, I’ve run multiple marathons, I’ve become a mom and I’ve held a job for more than three years. I’ve learned how to be a friend, and I’ve worked hard to repair relationships with my family.
In order to keep the life I have, I work on my recovery every day by giving back to others and sharing my story. I have to keep peeling back the onion that is my life and doing the hard work even when I don't want to. I keep physically active, in touch with my mental health, and practice self care. If I don’t do these things, if I rest on my laurels, or become complacent, my addiction is waiting for me and I don’t ever want to go back to that.
Here are some ways that you can celebrate National Recovery Month:
Share your recovery story, which research has shown helps to reduce stigma.
Attend a Recovery Month event.
Write to your local government officials.
Connect within your community.
Share information with loved ones
Reach out to someone who has been instrumental in your recovery journey to thank them.
If you are struggling with your substance use, remember that you are not alone and there is a way out. Reach out to us today by calling or texting 833-301-4357 or send me an email email@example.com.
If you’d like to learn more about National Recovery Month, click here.