Celebrate National Recovery Month 

September 6, 2019 

September is a month of transitions and new beginnings. Summer simmers slowly into Fall, students begin new grades in school, and annual goals take on a renewed urgency as we enter the last quarter of the year. So it makes sense that September was chosen as the month to represent and celebrate recovery from addiction.

How National Recovery Month Began

Now in its 30th year, Recovery Month was initially created in 1989 as a means of celebrating those whose work centered around treating those combating addiction and mental illness. It was initially dubbed Treatment Works! Month, and was created the same year that the American Society of Addiction Medicine and the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence were founded. The establishment of these two national organizations centered around the treatment of substance related disorders was groundbreaking during an era when drug addiction was heavily stigmatized as a moral failure.

Although the 90s represented an era of heavy criminalization of drug users, that seed planted in 1989 also began to grow. As the wider community slowly began to recognize addiction as a medical condition, various medical breakthroughs and policy changes allowed treatment to be revolutionized. This included the FDA approval of naltrexone for use in treating alcohol use disorders. In 1998, the September awareness campaign expanded to include celebration of those actually in recovery, in addition to treatment providers. It was renamed National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. In 2011, the campaign was once again expanded to include mental illness in addition to addiction, and the name was shortened to National Recovery Month—what we observe today.

How Recovery Month Is Celebrated

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) partners with a plethora of organizations and entities, including government, nonprofit, and recovery affiliates. Together, they plan a series of events across the nation centered on promoting the latest, evidence-based knowledge about addiction and recovery. These events include art shows, shared meals, and story sharing.

This year, the theme of Recovery Month is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Together We Are Stronger.” It is aimed at promoting a shared network of recovery advocates, healers, and patients in order to uplift the community and de-stigmatize addiction and mental illness. Part of this unifying effort includes an online toolkit stocked with recovery resources, information about addiction, and ways to get involved with your local recovery and harm reduction efforts.

Recovery is possible, no matter how hopeless addiction may feel. Any type of progression from harmful, chaotic drug use should be celebrated and encouraged, no matter what time of the year it is. But September’s Recovery Month events provide a national venue for targeting misinformation, and breaking open the stigma that prevents many from taking those first, wobbly steps toward freedom from addiction.

The Ammon Foundation believes that when individuals are holistically and strategically supported to build purposeful lives, the likelihood of them maintaining their recovery substantially increases. We provide this support via our Ammon Recovery Scholars Program. Our program goals include: removing financial barriers through financial scholarships; providing strategic support for recipients through offering personal, professional and academic support; and creating a supportive peer community committed to combating the stigma associated with addiction by promoting that recovery is possible. We are committed to giving away at least $100,000 in scholarships annually and are looking to fund education as a stepping stone to stable employment, safe housing and adequate healthcare. To find out more about our programs, or to apply for an educational scholarship, please click here or email scholarships@ammonfoundation.org.