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National Recovery Month 2021

Open Sky Recovery is proud to observe National Recovery Month 2021. Recovery Month is an observance held every September to support the new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices, the surfacing of a strong and proud recovery community, and the selfless dedication of recovery related service providers and community members across the country who make it all possible. It helps to increase awareness and understanding of mental health/substance abuse disorders and to encourage those in need of help to seek it out.

This years theme is “Recovery is for Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community”. This theme was chosen to help remind people in recovery and their supporters that recovery belongs to all of us. It’s important that we all broaden our knowledge and understanding of what recovery means for those of us with different experiences. While the way that many of us get sober may be similar, the path to recovery is far from a single, defined journey. There are few communities that have more mutual aid, peer support, and adaptability than the broader recover community. When we connect to others with an open mind and heart, we have the ability to learn from one another and create more opportunities to help others.

People can and Do Recover

Millions of Americans suffer from a substance use or mental health disorder every year. Unfortunately, many of those seeking recovery can feel isolated or detached from those around them. As someone in recovery myself, I am all too familiar with these feelings. They tend to be the worst in early recovery as well, which is the time that people need to feel comfortable asking for help. It is crucial that we all work to create supporting and accepting environments

Having both been in recovery for the better half of a decade along with working in the drug and alcohol treatment field, I have personally seen the reality of it. When someone fully embraces recovery they can have miraculous improvements in mental and physical health, build stronger relationships with their families and friends, and find their true self that’s been hiding under their disorder. People can get better, but it is up to us as a community to support them. That is why I opened Open Sky Recovery sober living. I wanted to do my part in providing a safe and supportive environment for those in early recovery. In Los Angeles county alone, there were over 1600 accidental overdose deaths in 2019. In 2020, there were over 2,400. (Source)

Prevention Works and Treatment is Effective

Another part of National Recovery Month is to continue following the evidence. This evidence shows that behavioral health is crucial for overall health, treatment is effective, and prevention does work.

First, on prevention. Studies have made clear that following the principles of addiction prevention education can make meaningful differences in the rates of substance use disorders. These principles are laid out in full on the National Institute for Drug Abuse website here. In addition to the obvious benefit of saving lives, it’s been shown that for every $1 put into prevention education provides up to $65 in future savings based on reduced medical costs and more productivity. (Source)

When it comes to efficacy, treatment certainly is. It may seem like it is ineffective simply due to the fact that relapses are more obvious. It’s been found that anywhere from 40-60% of those who get treatment for substance use disorders will relapse. That number sounds high until you consider that 50-70% of people who get treatment for hypertension and asthma will relapse. All three of the above are conditions that need to be treated, so why do some scoff at the idea of seeking treatment for mental health and addictions?

I urge everyone to join us in celebrating National Recovery Month 2021 and help us reduce the cases of mental health and substance use disorders that so many in our communities face. This is as simple as offering your support to those struggling. We can help each other recognize the things that can be accomplished through recovery.

If you know anyone who needs help, tell them their is free and private support available 24/7 at SAMHSA’s National helpline. They can be reached at (800) 662-4357. Additionally, feel free to contact us and we will do our best to offer the help that you or your loved one needs.

References

Beauvais, F.; Chavez, E.; Oetting, E.; Deffenbacher, J.; and Cornell, G. Drug use, violence, and victimization among White American, Mexican American, and American Indian dropouts, students with academic problems, and students in good academic standing. Journal of Counseling Psychology 43:292–299, 1996.

Dishion, T.; McCord, J.; and Poulin, F. When interventions harm: Peer groups and problem behavior. American Psychologist 54:755–764, 1999.

Gerstein, D.R. and Green, L.W., eds. Preventing Drug Abuse: What Do We Know? Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1993.

Moon, D.; Hecht, M.; Jackson, K.; and Spellers, R. Ethnic and gender differences and similarities in adolescent drug use and refusals of drug offers. Substance Use and Misuse 34(8):1059–1083, 1999.

NIDA. 2020, June 10. Prevention Principles. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/preventing-drug-use-among-children-adolescents/prevention-principles on 2021, September 3

NIDA. 2020, June 3. How effective is drug addiction treatment?. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/frequently-asked-questions/how-effective-drug-addiction-treatment on 2021, September 3

Wills, T.; McNamara, G.; Vaccaro, D.; and Hirky, A. Escalated substance use: A longitudinal grouping analysis from early to middle adolescence. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 105:166–180, 1996.