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National Recovery Month: Recovery Is for Everyone

August 27, 2021

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The Meadows

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By Anna McKenzie

What Is the Goal of National Recovery Month?

National Recovery Month is as much about celebrating individuals in recovery as it is about generating awareness of the need for addiction and mental health treatment. 

The opioid epidemic is one example of how addiction has significantly affected our society. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, opioid overdoses accounted for more than 42,000 deaths in 2016 alone. In 2019, approximately 10.1 million people reported misusing opioids in the past year. But opioid misuse is not the whole of the issue. In terms of addiction to drugs or alcohol, 20.4 million people reported having a substance use disorder in the past year, according to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. That’s 6% of the American population.

In addition, mental health issues have been on the rise in recent years. In 2019, 51.5 million adults in the US reported they had a mental illness in the past year; the COVID pandemic has certainly increased that number. More celebrities and public figures have been vocal about their own struggles in order to destigmatize these conditions and advocate for treatment. 

For many, addiction and mental health issues still feel like a private challenge or topic that can’t be discussed openly. Public perception has begun to shift, thanks in part to high-profile individuals using their platforms to speak out, but misunderstandings continue to create barriers to recovery. While many of us are convinced we can never get better, others feel ashamed to ask for help. Mental health issues can complicate your recovery journey, given that chemical imbalances can put you out of touch with reality, increasing your fear, paranoia, anxiety, or sense of isolation. 

So, what is the goal of National Recovery Month? To reinforce to anyone who is struggling that you are not alone. To remind you that treatment has proven successful for a vast number of individuals, even those who felt completely hopeless had been through repeated treatment programs or felt like they could not get better. To applaud the efforts of those who are engaged in treatment or a recovery lifestyle. Recovery is not a static outcome, but a dynamic process that is greatly improved by the involvement of safe, supportive people.

National Recovery Month is as much about celebrating individuals in recovery as it is about generating awareness of the need for addiction and mental health treatment. 

Why Do We Need a Recovery Awareness Month?

We need a recovery awareness month because recovery is for everyone, not simply those who have dealt with addiction and mental health issues. That’s the theme of National Recovery Month in 2021: “Recovery is For Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community.”

SAMHSA defines recovery as “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.” We all have issues we are recovering from, and we all have the opportunity to press forward and pursue wellness. We can also support one another, because healthy relationships accelerate our personal growth. When we recognize that we’re united in our challenges — as well as our victories — we can strengthen each other and become more resilient.

The presence and involvement of supportive people has proven to be a critical factor in a person’s recovery process. Although recovery is fundamentally person-driven — meaning that the individual must have ownership of his or her own process and ultimately be self-directed — it is also a team sport. SAMHSA cites the need for people who can express belief in someone’s ability to recover, “who offer hope, support, and encouragement; and who also suggest strategies and resources for change. Family members, peers, providers, faith groups, community members, and other allies form vital support networks.”

As a result, “people leave unhealthy and/or unfulfilling life roles behind and engage in new roles (e.g., partner, caregiver, friend, student, employee) that lead to a greater sense of belonging, personhood, empowerment, autonomy, social inclusion, and community participation.” Sometimes we can’t see that we’re in an unhealthy place until we gain perspective from others. We can also watch other people take risks, learn from them, and embrace new mindsets. Through others, we can gain insights and encouragement that allow us to become more fully realized people.

Why Do We Need Recovery Awareness Month? - The Meadows

Community Matters in Recovery — So Don’t Give Up

Success in recovery showcases the power of community. This is one of the reasons why 12-Step meetings (and alternatives) have been a cornerstone of the rehabilitation process. Being able to connect with peers, serve others, and be encouraged has a lasting effect on our personal health.


This underscores the importance of using digital tools to connect when getting together in person isn’t possible. The pandemic may have increased our sense of isolation, but in doing so, it has also reinforced our understanding of the value of healthy relationships. Though it may be difficult at times, continuing to reach out to others and stay involved in the community is worthwhile to our wellness.

SAMHSA defines recovery as “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”

Start Your Recovery Journey at The Meadows

For anyone dealing with addiction and mental health issues, The Meadows offers evidence-based treatment for holistic recovery: mind, body, and spirit. If you or a loved one is in need of treatment or recovery support, please get in touch with our team today. Our programs were developed based on decades of research and the expertise of our Senior Fellows, and our approach is compassionate and nonintrusive. We would love to help you get started on the journey to a fulfilling life in recovery.