National Recovery Month is held every September to educate people that substance use treatment and mental health services can help those with substance abuse and/or mental health disorders to be able to live a healthy and rewarding life. It helps reinforce the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and most importantly people can and do recover.
Recovery Month provides a spotlight for the lives that have been transformed through recovery. Each year, prevention, treatment and recovery programs celebrate these accomplishments. It is also a time for those in recovery to share their successes and tell their story to help increase awareness so others can have a better understanding about the disease of mental health and substance use disorders.
It is important for those in recovery or seeking help for the first time to understand that addiction is a disease, not a person lacking willpower. Addiction cannot be cured but it can be managed. Here are some tips and reminders for a successful recovery:
- Ask for help!
- Make your recovery a priority. Put you and your needs first.
- Take it one day at a time. Recovery is a process not a destination.
- Create and keep a daily schedule. When you know what’s next on your schedule you will be less likely to have idle time.
- Be kind to yourself. Treating yourself positively can go a long way.
- Communicate. The support system you create will give you an enormous advantage.
- Change your environment. Surround yourself with positive people, things and experiences.
- Change your friends. Some of your friends might have been influencing your addiction or jeopardizing your recovery. The right friends will help you maintain a healthy recovery.
- Acknowledge achievements, both big and small. Taking the small step towards recovery is a big stride in the right direction.
- Mistakes and failures happen. If you are not working on your recovery you are working on your relapse.
- Shift your outlook on life. Have an attitude of gratitude.
- Avoid making comparisons. Everyone’s journey is different and some may have a longer journey than others.
- Attend self help meetings. Ongoing support from people who are also working on maintaining their recovery is very important.
- Find a sponsor, mentor or therapist. They can help you in a time of crisis, but remember to “call before you fall”.
- Celebrate milestones. Take the time to celebrate these important reminders of the new life you have chosen and are working so hard to achieve.
- Make goals. The recovery journey is in the present but it also includes a focus on the future. As you achieve your short term goals make sure to come up with ways to get you closer to your long term goals.
- Learn your triggers and practice healthy coping skills. Stay away from places, people and things that may encourage you to relapse.
- Never give up!
It’s important to appreciate yourself every day. We can get caught up in life and we sometimes fail to recognize ourselves for all of our successes and accomplishments. Even the most frustrating day deserves to be acknowledged because you made it through the day and are much better equipped to face tomorrow. Remember, recovery isn’t a race but a lifelong journey.
Submitted by: Tessa Anderson, Drug Court Coordinator/IDIP Coordinator
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