September is National Recovery Month

National Recovery Month promotes the efforts of prevention, treatment and recovery of people afflicted with mental health and substance use disorders. This month-long celebration acknowledges the work and dedication of  people in recovery, applauds the contributions of treatment and service providers, and advances the concept that recovery in all modes is achievable. Recovery Month conveys that behavioral health is critical to overall health and well-being.  Prevention does work. Treatment is effective and those who are on the recovery journey and dedicate themselves to getting better can and do recover.

Recovery Month is now in its 23rd year and is celebrated in the month of September. It humbly began in 1989 and honored the work of treatment and recovery professionals.  The observance then became the National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month in 1998, when the observance expanded to include honoring individuals who were in recovery and their accomplishments. The observance evolved once again in 2011 to National Recovery Month to include all aspects of behavioral health.

Every September, the nation’s recovery community comes together to celebrate and recognize the efforts of organizations, agencies, recovery groups, research partners, therapists and counselors, treatment and recovery programs and individuals in recovery. It is during this month around the country  that we celebrate these successes and share them with their neighbors, friends, and colleagues in an effort to educate the public about recovery, how it works, for whom, and why. There are millions of Americans whose lives have been transformed through recovery. These successes often go unnoticed by the broader population; therefore, Recovery Month provides a vehicle to celebrate these accomplishments.

The 2012 Recovery Month observance emphasizes that while the road to recovery may be difficult, the benefits of preventing and overcoming behavioral health conditions are significant and valuable to individuals, families, and communities. Recovery Month, officially celebrated each September, has become a year-round initiative that supports educational outreach and celebratory events throughout the year.

Alcohol & Substance Abuse:

The facts and implications are frightening and staggering.  The U.S. population is approximately  314,350,977. An estimated 20.4 million people in the United States used some kind of illicit drug in the past 30 days, according to the latest government statistics. About 8.3 percent of all persons age 12 and over are involved in the use of illegal drugs or the non-medical use of prescription drugs. Approximately 14 million Americans-7.4 percent of the population, meet the diagnostic criteria for alcohol abuse or alcoholism  More than one-half of American adults have a close family member who has or has had alcoholism;  one in four children younger than 18 years old in the United States is exposed to alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence in the family. Among people ages 21-22, 85 percent of men and 76 percent of women have used alcohol within the last 30 days and 55 percent of men ages 21-22 and 33 percent of women ages 19-20 drank five or more drinks in a row in the past 2 weeks. In addition people ages 18-29 have the highest rates of past-year alcohol abuse and dependence.

From Drug Addiction Statistics compiled in 2007 the number of persons who used illicit drugs in the past month was 19.9 million;  the number of persons who used marijuana in the past month was 14.4 million; the number of persons who used psychotherapeutics in the past month was 6.9 million; the number of persons who used cocaine in the past month was 2.1 million; the number of persons who used hallucinogens in the past month was 1.0 million; the number of persons who used inhalants in the past month was 0.6 million and the number of persons who used heroin in the past month was 0.2 million.

Mental Disorders in America:

Mental disorders are common in the United States and internationally. An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. When applied to the 2004 U.S. Census residential population estimate for ages 18 and older, this figure translates to 57.7 million people. Even though mental disorders are widespread in the population, the main burden of illness is concentrated in a much smaller proportion — about 6 percent, or 1 in 17 who suffer from a serious mental illness. In addition, mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Canada. Many people suffer from more than one mental disorder at a given time. Nearly half (45 percent) of those with any mental disorder meet criteria for 2 or more disorders, with severity strongly related to co-morbidity.

Celebrating National Recovery month is a dedicated focused opportunity announcing that there is help available to those who desire and are motivated to address their issues and improve their lives. There is no stronger message than when people step forward together to celebrate the gift of life.

While the road to recovery may be difficult, the benefits of preventing and overcoming behavioral health conditions are significant and valuable to individuals, families, and communities. In many instances, feelings of shame, guilt, poor self image and low self esteem are present and those suffering begin to isolate or self medicate as a coping mechanism. Recovery means restoring our feeling of personal dignity.

The individuals and organizations being honored have paved the way before and stand ready to lend a helping hand. Recovery is a new set of coping skills and way of life. Please do not neglect your health and well-being.

I dedicate this blog and my life to honor all the heroes  who continue to succeed in finding a better more productive life. It is possible to experience peace of mind and serenity that is worth working for. Read about those who have achieved success on my Testimonials page.

I welcome all inquiries and questions and can be reached at:, or 609-333-1096.

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