National Recovery Month a Time to Lead by Example
Staying positive while in recovery from substance abuse or addiction is an important part of healing. What better way to be positive than to celebrate? Sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), September is National Recovery Month, and a great time to celebrate your successes or the successes of a loved one. Take time this month to celebrate reaching certain goals and simply the fact that you’re sober.
National Recovery Month
The purpose of SAMHSA’s recovery month is to promote the benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery. The theme for 2015 is Join the Voices for Recovery: Visible, Vocal, Valuable! The organization hopes that people in recovery will tell their stories and be a part of a societal shift toward reducing the stigma surrounding addiction and mental health issues. When more people talk about addiction and mental health, it opens up the possibility of conversations and the opportunity for those who need help to get it.
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) provides addicts in recovery with a way to speak up and reach out. You can join their “Share Your Story” project and describe what happened to you either as an addict or as the loved one of an addict. Share your struggles along with your successes and the positive messages you want other people battling addiction to hear.
Another great way to celebrate your recovery, and that of others, is to participate in local events sponsored by SAMHSA and National Recovery Month. You can find one in your area. These events include informational seminars, prevention conferences, advocacy meetings for treatment and recovery, as well as celebratory events like dances, concerts and sober parties.
Celebrating Your Story
For addicts in recovery, every day is a challenge to avoid relapsing. When you meet your goals and succeed at staying sober, you should celebrate. Celebration is an important way to strengthen your sobriety. It can give you the motivation to keep going and to reach your next goal. A celebration makes you feel better about yourself and improves your self-esteem. It also gives you the important opportunity to be celebrated by others. Seeing others respect your achievements will give you even more encouragement to keep moving forward.
As a person in recovery, your celebrations should obviously be sober events. They can also be personal and private. Start by celebrating your anniversaries. As you start out in recovery, mark your first several months sober. Throw a party or go out to dinner with just a few friends. Give yourself a treat for meeting your goals as a way of celebrating. Just make sure it is a treat that promotes your new healthy lifestyle, such as going to that movie you’ve been wanting to see, giving yourself a day off to relax or taking a weekend trip with a friend.
Another great way to celebrate recovery is to give back. Give to others some of the joy you have found in your sobriety. Volunteer with organizations that help addicts get treatment. Become a sponsor to help someone new to your support group. Even volunteering with a group unrelated to addiction is a great way to help others while celebrating your new life.
Celebrations are an important part of life. We should always mark our achievements and goals because we have earned those celebrations. They keep us going and they inspire others. If you have been touched by addiction, take part in National Recovery Month, celebrate your own successes and those of others and lead by example and inspiration.