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September Is National Recovery Month

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

April 9, 2019

Committing to recovery is often a hard road for many to travel, a problem that has inspired the creation of National Recovery Month. This month-long celebration in September is designed for educational and motivational purposes and its focus on proactive events and activities has become a tradition across the nation for many members of the addiction rehabilitation community.

What Is National Recovery Month?

National Recovery Month was created by the Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services Administration as a way of encouraging addiction recovery and to help promote long-lasting sobriety. It highlights not only those who have recovered from addiction, but those who have helped make it possible. It spreads the message that recovery from addiction is obtainable, and that it is a positive and enriching experience.

However, National Recovery Month also has another purpose—to educate people on addiction treatment. New treatment methods are often discussed, as are positive statistics and breakthroughs in therapy techniques. National Recovery Month also discusses treatment options, including payment methods and other skills that are necessary for effective treatment. In this way, addiction recovery is not just celebrated, but actively promoted.

In the nearly 30 years since its inception, National Recovery Month has spread across the nation in a variety of local and state-based celebrations and events. Over 200 different organizations host recovery events every year in September, focusing on the theme that fuels each year’s events.

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What Is The Focus Of This Year’s Celebration?

This year’s National Recovery Month focus is “Our Families, Our Stories, Our Recovery!” This theme highlights the ways that families help support addiction recovery, including by interventions, creating sobriety groups, and providing loved ones with focus, accountability, and support. Events during this year’s recovery month focus on sharing recovery stories to give others encouragement, insight, and support in their recovery.

Past event themes include, but aren’t limited to, the following:

2015 – “Visible, Vocal, Valuable!” This event highlighted the importance of discussing addiction recovery in positive and constructive ways.
2014 – “Speak Up, Reach Out.” People who participated in 2014 learned how to reach out for help and speak up about their addiction.
2013 – “Together on Pathways to Wellness.” Learning how to work together with others, including other people in recovery, was the focus of 2013’s events.
2012 – “It’s Worth It.” The positive effects of addiction recovery were focused on in 2012, in order to embolden more people to treatment.

These themes make each year more informative than the last. People who attend multiple National Recovery Month events will receive a variety of educational materials that teach themes about addiction recovery and how to implement that information in their own treatment or in that of a loved one.

What Kind Of Events Are Happening?

Events for National Recovery Month come in a wide variety. The first is a “proclamation signing,” which is an event that includes a public official signing a document that proclaims National Recovery Month and the town’s dedication to that year’s events. Other proclamations may include discussing ways to promote recovery, managing treatment options, and highlighting additional events that may be taking place in the area. These events bring together a large group of people to generate awareness and overall community enthusiasm.

Another common event is a “walk, run, or rally.” These are typically fundraising events wherein people pledge a certain amount of money towards addiction recovery and walk or run to raise it. They are social events and include meals, the chance to meet new people, and to experience the community in a new way. Rallies may be held at these events, and may include speakers who discuss addiction recovery projects and share their own recovery stories.

Community-based cookouts and picnics are also regular National Recovery Month events. Volunteers provide food, such as hot dogs, potato salad, hamburgers, potato chips, and soda, so those in the community can mingle, meet people in recovery, discuss common recovery experience, or even support an individual who has finished with their treatment. The focus of these events can vary.

The above-mentioned events are typically generated by members of the community and create a broader understanding of recovery. However, media outlets, such as newspapers and television stations, may run a variety of stories that highlight National Recovery Month. They often require being informed of the event, but most news outlets will be more than happy to cover them, preparing a press release may be helpful

Beyond these outlets also lies a variety of online events, such as live Tweeting, webinars hosted by addiction recovery specialists, online chats with those in recovery, and even posts on forums. Creating such a comprehensive series of activities brings in a larger group of people and spreads the positive word of recovery beyond those who are currently experiencing it. It may even help those on the fence about recovery to seek help and commit.

Can You Plan Your Own Event?

Planning your own National Recovery month event is not only possible, but encouraged. Those who take the initiative to create their own personalized activity or event are the backbone of this celebration. However, planning an event is a comprehensive process, and one that may take months. For example, you’re likely going to need to create a planning committee that not only overseas the idea behind the event, but raises money, develops a timeline, plans promotional outreach, and creates workable goals.

As a result, you’ll also need to determine a budget for your event, including all important aspects of executing it. For example, if you decide to host a run, it’s important to raise money to cover event licensing, advertising, hiring professional speakers, renting equipment, food costs, and creating shirts and other apparel that can be worn at the event. Typically, businesses and organizations in the community will donate money or goods for events of this type, but that requires a lot of legwork.

After creating a budget and raising money, you need to plan the event logistics, such as when it will take place and where. Try to avoid picking a date on which another local event is taking place, such as a popular football game. You should also post your event on various online forums to make sure that members of the community know that is happening.

Other advertising methods include printing logos, banners, and fliers which you can hand out to people and display in the community. In this way, you can raise awareness and interact with members of the community at the same time. There’s a chance you might even meet someone who is either in recovery or who has successfully recovered and wants to help.

Can Events Be Promoted Online?

Beyond the methods mentioned above (such as posting on forums), events can also be shared via downloadable banners that can be integrated onto social media sites, such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Other social media sites, like Snapchat, can be a fun way to share the progress of your event, including its planning and execution.

Another way to promote National Recovery Month events online is to create a blog for people involved in your event. Blogs are a great way to alleviate stress and anxiety, which makes them useful for those who are in recovery. However, they are most useful as a way for those involved in the event to share their stories and help educate others who may be going through the same problem. This makes blogs a particularly useful idea for this year’s theme.

Celebrate National Recovery Month With Us!

National Recovery Month is a positive way to celebrate the importance of recovery. It can also serve as a wake up call for someone struggling with addiction and might just be the nudge they need. So if you or someone you know is suffering from an addiction and needs help, please contact us today at

Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services Administration – About Recovery Month
Recovery Month – Find Events
Recovery Month – National Recovery Month Press Kit
National Recovery Month – Annual Themes
Scientific American – Blogging – It’s Good For You
The University Of British Columbia – Blogging as Social Action: A Genre Analysis Of The Weblog

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