Addiction | 8 min read

National Recovery Month, Life Beyond Addiction

Medically Reviewed

Medically Reviewed By

Dr. Po-Chang Hsu

Dr. Po-Chang Hsu

On September 1, 2022

Written By

Amanda Stevens

Amanda Stevens, B.S.

On September 6, 2019

Life Beyond Addiction
Reading Time: 8 minutes

Health statistics indicate that about 23 million Americans are recovering from addiction to various substances. These people represent a significant portion of the U.S. population. They should not be meant to feel like victims but given all the support they need to overcome their addiction.

Developing an addiction does not mean you are weak or have a flaw in your character. If you are an addict, you only give in to your urges. The silver lining is that recovery is within reach. Change is possible if you get the right support and treatment, regardless of how hopeless it may seem or how many times you have tried and failed.

What Is the National Recovery Month?

People in the U.S. observe National Recovery Month throughout September of each year. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHS), within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), sponsors it. Recovery Month honors the stakeholders that help people recovering from various addictions.

National Recovery Month also sheds light on addictions and encourages people to seek help. This year’s Recovery Month marks the 30th anniversary of National Recovery Month. The celebration gives hope to people with addiction by showing them that they are not alone and recovery is possible.

The team that organizes Recovery Month is responsible for creating a unique theme and focusing on sharing the successes of recovery and spreading the year’s message. National Recovery Month focuses on stakeholders that come together to support people recovering from addictions.

They include the healthcare community, leaders, first responders, and community members. These people are critical in ensuring people recover from addictions in the best way possible.

Join the Voices for Recovery: Together We Are Stronger” is the theme for this year’s National Recovery Month. It emphasizes the need for all of us to work together by sharing resources to build networks across the country that are critical for supporting people recovering from addictions.

The theme reminds us that substance and mental use disorders affect all of us and that we must work together to promote recovery and recovery programs.

Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) Recovery

Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) was founded in 1994. It is a free addiction recovery network that uses scientific techniques to help people recover from addictions. It teaches self-empowerment, critical in ensuring people get through the challenging recovery phase.

SMART Recovery program empowers people to overcome all forms of over-involvement with the use of substances, such as illicit drugs, prescribed medications, and food. The addictive behavior can also include excessive gambling, spending, and sexual interactions. SMART Recovery program can free you from involuntarily giving in to these urges.

People use many scientific references to provide a foundation for the program. An excellent place to start reviewing them is ‘Handbook of Alcoholism Treatment Approaches: Effective Alternatives, Boston: Allyn & Bacon.’ This book provides a good overview of the scientific foundation of the program.

What is the SMART Recovery Approach?

SMART Recovery helps people recover from addictions through its Four-Point program. SMART Recovery teaches you to:

  1. Enhance and maintain your motivation to abstain
  2. Cope with your urges
  3. Manage feelings, thoughts, and behaviors
  4. Balance enduring and momentary satisfactions

The SMART Recovery Formats for Peer-Networking

SMART provides many ways for interactions between the people recovering and their support. They are:

  • Daily online meetings
  • Face-to-face meetings held in various places across the country
  • 24/7 chat room
  • Online message boards

Entities that Support the SMART Recovery Program

Many bodies support the SMART Recovery Program. They include:

  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
  2. National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
  4. James Hervey Johnson Charitable-Educational Trust
  5. Roxbury Foundation
  6. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

SMART Recovery reaches out to all levels of society. Its meetings are happening in jails, inpatient mental health units, homeless shelters, and other places that receive individuals recovering from various addictions. The network aims at helping people wherever and whenever they can.

Raising Awareness of Recovery and Addiction

Statistics show that 19.7 Million Americans had at least one addiction to a substance in 2017. It can be prescribed medications, illicit substances, or food. These things can have devastating effects if taken beyond their recommended limits or taken at all, in the case of illegal substances.

Raising awareness reduces cases of stigmatization and equips everyone with the necessary knowledge to help people recover from addiction. In addition, people learn effective methods of helping others and what they should not do while trying to help.

Substances that People Develop an Addiction to

People have an addiction to many substances. The common ones include:

  • Marijuana
  • Prescription drugs, such as Vicodin and Oxycodone
  • Hallucinogens, such as PCP, Psilocybin, Peyote, and LSD
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Inhalants, like nitrites, gasses, aerosols, and solvents
  • Alcohol

Preventive measures must be taken to reduce cases of new addictions. Active steps should also be taken to guide people with addiction to recovery. The latter is difficult as people will likely relapse or experience severe withdrawal symptoms.

Therefore, everyone should contribute to the fight against addiction. Recovery Month sheds light on these substances and the measures people should take.

Mental Illness that Affects A Large Percentage of Americans

National Institute of Mental Health studies show that many Americans experience mental illness. Some live with serious mental illnesses such as:

  • Major depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia

Many Americans also live with anxiety disorders, such as:

  • Phobias
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Unfortunately, nearly half of people with mental illness do not get treatment. National Recovery Month raises awareness of these mental disorders. It also offers guidance for people with illnesses and educates the people close to them on how to best help them.

Warning Signs of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness

National Recovery Month educates people on the signs and symptoms of addictions and mental illness. Early detection allows for timely intervention, which is critical for treating both disorders. It prevents substance abuse from developing into an addiction. Additionally, it enables early treatment for mental illness, which is vital for quick and complete recovery.

Signs of Substance Abuse

  • Changes in behavior and personality, such as irritability, motivation, and agitation
  • Change in their daily routines
  • Financial problems
  • Bloodshot eyes and a bloody nose
  • Changes in activities and friends
  • Lack of concern for their hygiene
  • Tremors, shakes, and slurred speech

Signs of Mental Illness

  • Illogical thinking
  • Nervousness
  • Withdrawal from activities or society
  • Appetite changes, dramatic sleep, or decline in the level of personal care
  • Increased sensitivity or avoidance of over-stimulating situations
  • The dramatic onset of depression or rapid shift in emotions
  • An unusual drop from the normal functioning
  • Problems with memory, concentration, or logical thought
  • Loss of desire to take part in any activity
  • Uncharacteristic behavior
  • Disconnection from the surrounding

Early detection prevents these disorders from escalating. National Recovery Month highlights the signs and symptoms you can use to identify addiction and mental illness cases. Additionally, it guides you on the right steps to help someone affected by any disorders.

Treatment Resources Available during Recovery Month

There are many resources that people can use for treatment, prevention, and creating awareness during National Recovery Month. They include:

1. SAMHSA Toolkit to Help Organizations and Individuals Increase Awareness of Recovery

The SAMHSA Toolkit offers tips for community outreach and event planning, media outreach templates, data on behavioral conditions, and various resources for supporting people in their treatment, prevention, and recovery. This toolkit provides local communities with the necessary resources to reach out and encourage families or individuals to seek treatment and recover.

2. SAMHSA’s National Helpline 

This line offers 24 hours of confidential chat with SAMHSA’s experts. You can call them and get referrals for treatment. Additionally, they can help you locate Recovery Month services near you. SAMHSA has this number open to assist you in gaining knowledge that can help you cope with an addiction or mental disorder.

3. Resources Are Also Available on the National Recovery Month Site. 

The available resources include web banners, logos, posters, and flyers. You can also obtain an event calendar to share your National Recovery Month events and locate those near you. You can also watch inspiring stories and get public service announcements. These resources are vital in raising awareness of addictions and mental illnesses. They can also be useful in preparing you to deal with these disorders properly.

Activities and Events During the National Recovery Month

You can get involved in many activities during National Recovery Month. These events include:

1. Attending This Year’s SMART Recovery National Conference

You can attend the conference this year. It will discuss various issues related to Recovery Month and feature many lively discussions and talks from stakeholders. The gathering will raise awareness of addiction and mental health.

People attend National Recovery Month conference in the congress hall 2019 Event

Attending this event will enlighten you on useful ways of coping with these disorders and supporting others who are recovering. It will be at The Westin Chicago Northwest Hotel in Itasca, Illinois. This year’s celebration marks the silver anniversary of the program.

2. Selling Products That Feature Promotional Messages About the Objectives and Purpose of the National Recovery Month

These items will raise awareness not only among the buyers but also those who interact with them. You can print various texts on the merchandise that will help achieve the goals of National Recovery Month. Printings on cups, t-shirts, caps, and hoodies can be an excellent way to communicate your message.

3. Setting up a Fundraiser on Your Social Media Pages to Support National Recovery Month Goals 

Social media is influential, especially with today’s generation. Its massive reach makes it a useful tool for communicating with your friends. Sharing the message, National Recovery Month, and asking your following to contribute can be an excellent way to use your platforms.

4. Planning an Event Where a Professional or Someone Who Has Successfully Recovered from a Disorder Can Be a Guest

Positive stories are powerful tools for Recovery Month. They inspire others who are struggling and show the people close to them that everything can go back to normal. This hope enables everyone to work together to overcome addictions or mental illnesses.

5. Organizing Events With Your Family or Community to Discuss and Celebrate Recovery in Your Area

Mental illness and addiction are two disorders you do not have to travel far to encounter. They are affecting people close to you. Organizing an event allows people to open up and discuss them. These discussions are crucial in getting to know the two disorders well.

You will understand their signs, treatment, and recovery plans. This knowledge is vital for managing them.

6. Hosting a Run, Ride, or Walk

These activities are crucial in getting the message out to the public. They can show people that addiction and mental illness are affecting them or people close to them, and they should not be ashamed to seek help. Additionally, it will let the public know that stigmatization does not help.

You should work together with those affected to help them recover from the disorders.

7. Lobbying Your Politicians to Pass the Necessary Laws and Allocate Enough Resources to Help People Suffering from These Disorders

Legislation plays a critical role in coping with addictions and mental illness. Allocation of adequate resources to fight the distribution of illegal substances such as cocaine is necessary. Agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Agency should get enough resources to carry out their mandate.

Additionally, rehabilitation centers should be equipped to deal with addiction. Mental institutions should also receive adequate funding to help them offer much-needed mental care.

About Ascendant New York

Ascendant New York is a drug detox and stabilization center located in the heart of Manhattan. At Ascendant New York, we are dedicated to ensuring that you recover fully from all addictions using a professional, comprehensive, personalized approach.

You can visit our healthcare centers or contact us by making a call or sending an email. After contacting us, a professional will immediately make a follow-up and take the time to understand your condition because we understand that you need a listening ear during this critical moment.

We are happy to provide inpatient services if your condition needs any accommodation. Admission is given depending on your needs, and we will provide you with the details you need about our inpatient or outpatient treatment services and available room options to choose from.

After communication, we’ll adequately prepare for your arrival and communicate the convenient time and day for your admission. Please note that we also offer same-day admission. We can also help you determine costs and reimbursements on your insurance cover.

Key Takeaway

Addictions and mental illness problems affect many Americans’ lives. Unfortunately, most of them are not receiving proper treatment, which is necessary for recovery from the disorders. This lack of care is due to inadequate support and knowledge for coping with them. Recovery from substance abuse or mental disorder requires effort and commitment. If people recovering are not given the shoulder they need, they return to their earlier condition.

National Recovery Month raises awareness of various addictions and mental illnesses. It equips you with the necessary knowledge to detect the disorder early, see treatment, and manage the recovery of those affected. This month, the SAMHSA-sponsored program will unite various stakeholders and enlighten them on their roles. This enlightenment will be crucial in preventing, detecting, and treating addictions and mental disorders.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and seeking a New Jersey alcohol rehab, Ascendant is here to help.

Contact us to learn more about National Recovery month, our inpatient and outpatient treatment options, and what we have in store for you. During this National Recovery month, we are available to answer any questions you or a loved one may have concerning recovery.

Was this article helpful? Follow our blog for more information about substance use, addiction, and recovery. Recent posts include topics such as the dangers of mixing Hydrocodone and alcohol and alcohol withdrawal. 

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Amanda Stevens


Amanda Stevens, B.S.

Amanda is a prolific medical content writer specializing in eating disorders and addiction treatment. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Purdue University with a B.S. in Social Work. Read more

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  1. National Institutes of Health (NIH). 10 percent of US adults have drug use disorder at some point in their lives. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Published November 18, 2015. Accessed September 1, 2022.
  2. American Addiction Centers. Alcohol and Drug Abuse Statistics (Facts About Addiction). American Addiction Centers. Published August 29, 2022. Accessed September 1, 2022.