September is National Recovery Month—a time when people whose lives are touched by addiction, alcoholism, and substance use disorder come together to celebrate stories of hope and change.
Every year, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration sponsors Recovery Month to bring attention to substance use disorders and honor those who have recovered. Treatment centers, community organizations, and non-profits are joining in, with events around the country to mark the occasion. To the still suffering alcoholic or addict: let this remind you that you are not alone, and there are thousands out there fighting for you.
We here at SLO Recovery take special pause this month to honor the grace, sweat, and commitment it takes to break free from the grip of addiction.
The statistics bear out our experience. Addiction is rife in America today. There are some 23 million people affected by it, and that number grows exponentially when we include all the lives that are touched by an alcoholic or addict. This is why recovery month is for everyone. Families and communities who have borne witness to the struggle and fought alongside us, you deserve equal recognition this month.
Incredibly, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic threw gasoline on the fire, worsening addiction and overdose statistics across the board, making our work more vital than ever. The pandemic brought increased anxiety, isolation, and depression, plus the closure of many clinics, treatment centers and support facilities, and an unparalleled amount of collective grief and loss.
Here are the facts about addiction in America today:
- More than 87,000 Americans died of drug overdosesover the 12-month period that ended last September
- Almost 23 million Americans have at least one addiction, yet only 10% of them receive treatment
- One in eight American adults, or 7 percent of the U.S. population, now meets diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorder
- 13% of Americans reported starting or increasing substance use as a way of coping with stress or emotions related to COVID-19
- The early months of the pandemic brought an 18% increase nationwide in overdoses compared with those same months in 2019
- More than 40 U.S. states have seen increases in opioid-related mortality along with ongoing concerns for those with substance use disorders.
- Surveys of drug users and people in treatment in 11 states during the pandemic found that many had used drugs more often during that time — and used them alone more often
- Those with substance use disorders (SUD) are both more likely to develop COVID-19 and experience worse COVID-19 outcomes, including higher risk of hospitalization and mortality
Now more than ever, helping people find a way out is a matter of life and death.
For us, Recovery Month is a vital reminder to let the work we do shine brightly as a beacon of hope to those who are still suffering. This month—as every month— we work hard to be a vital demonstration that change is possible. No alcoholic or addict is a write-off, and we are fighting like crazy for each life that walks through our doors.
We use this occasion as a reminder to safeguard our own recovery, so we can be a help and comfort to those still struggling, as well as their families, and the community at large. Let us remember to carry this work to our friends who are still sick and tormented by the pain of desperately wanting to change but being unable to.
Let us bring them stories of hope, change, and possibility.
So for us, Recovery Month isn’t an empty platitude. It’s a call to action. We are part of the lucky few who know that there is another way to live—free from addiction and all the horror that goes along with it. It takes work, but everything good is worth fighting for.
If you think you have a problem, reach out. We are here to help you find a fresh start, and recreate a life worth living. Reach us at 503-594-4750, or https://www.slorecoverycenter.com/contact/