We observe National Recovery Month in September to celebrate the millions of Americans who are in recovery from mental health and/or substance use disorders. In 2014, 20.2 million adults in the U.S. had a substance use disorder and 7.9 million had both a substance use disorder and another mental health condition. With support, treatment, and strong community connections, people can and DO recover.
[Image description: A large group of people smiling and yelling in front of T-Mobile Park with recovery signs.]
What is recovery? Recovery is individual to each person experiencing behavioral health challenges, but centers around leading a healthy and rewarding life.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Commission (SAMHSA) defines recovery as “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives and strive to reach their full potential.” They outline four major dimensions that support a life in recovery:
- Health: Overcoming or managing one’s conditions or symptoms.
- Home: A stable and safe place to live.
- Purpose: Meaningful daily activities like a job, school, family, or volunteering, and the independence, income, and resources to participate in society.
- Community: Relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope.
You might also be interested in learning about the 10 guiding principles of recovery.
To celebrate Recovery Month, each year tens of thousands of prevention, treatment, and recovery programs and facilities around the country highlight the gains made by those in recovery and share success stories with their neighbors, friends, and colleagues. Speaking out helps increase awareness and create understanding about mental and substance use disorders.
In a time where we are all facing additional life stressors because of the impacts of COVID-19 on our communities, it’s more important than ever to get creative with how we can safely stay connected. The King County Recovery Coalition and the Washington Recovery Alliance work together to change public perception of recovery and strengthen connections in the recovery community.