Seven Ways to Celebrate Recovery Month
For the last 31 years, September has been nationally recognized as National Recovery Month.
National Recovery Month was created by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
This month is all about educating Americans about substance abuse treatment and mental health services to help those living with substance abuse issues to live healthy lives.
National Recovery Month is also about celebrating the accomplishments of those who are in recovery.
Whether you are in recovery yourself or know someone who is, here are seven ways to celebrate.
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1.) Attend an Event Virtually to Educate Yourself
Every year there are events in to educate people and honor those in recovery.
Past events span from Art Shows, Candlelight Vigils, Comedy Shows, to films.
You can learn about Overdose Education, Assisting Your Community in Recovery Initiatives.
If you’ve lost someone to addiction there are support groups, you can share your grief in.
There is a great resource to find events for families that are supporting their loved ones in recovery.
Check out the 30 day calendar of events found on Faces and Voices of Recovery.
You can find events every day of the week on this calendar.
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2.) Do the 30-Day Awareness Challenge
If you are in recovery this event is packed full of meaningful events to pass your month. If you want to stand in solidarity with those who have committed to living a sober life, this is the way to do it. SAMSA publishes a calendar for National Recovery Month. Each day there is a challenge. Some include sharing your recovery story, focusing on mindfulness, and sharing an activity that helps keep you sober.
My favorite activity is “Eat a meal without distractions.” It’s simple. That’s why it’s important. Being sober is all about learning to enjoy the simple things. When you can sit down and enjoy a healthy cooked meal you are tapping into a secret. The secret is that life can be enjoyed in all its beauty and simplicity. Another one from fun example from the 2020 calendar is “Dance to the music you listened to in High School.” Who doesn’t want to jam out dancing to the TLC and reminisce? Just make sure you dance like nobody is watching!
3.) Do a 5K
Remember that rush you got when you were using? You can feel the same way sober, but in an incredibly healthy way. According to a study done by the NIH, “Endorphins, endocannabinoids, monoamines, and neurotrophins have all been implicated in the euphoric response to endurance running, known as a runner’s high (RH).” In other words, you can experience a high from doing something that is completely healthy for your body.That’s why signing up for a 5K is the perfect way to celebrate National Recovery Month. There are dozens of options to attend a 5K during National Recovery Month. This is a goal to work towards while in recovery, or to support others who are. It doesn’t matter if you walk or run, what matters is that you try.
If you finish it will be something to feel accomplished about. And even if you don’t make it all of the way you can say you tried and go again the next year. Do it with some friends or go solo and try to set a goal for a time. If you are runner supporting a person in recovery, or supporting the cause in general, this is a great way to set an example and inspire others.
4.) Share your Story
Your story is unique and important. Nobody else has your perspective. Whether you are in recovery or know someone who is, it’s important to share your story. You also inspire others to share their stories by sharing yours. Even if it is in your own personal journal, write it down. There are several events that facilitate sharing your story.
Some are catered towards people in recovery. There are events for friends and family of those in recovery. There are also events for people who have lost someone due to addiction. No matter what your situation is there is a way to share your story, there’s also someone who can benefit or learn from hearing it.
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5.) Celebrate by Doing Something Different
National Recovery Month is the perfect place to try something new. There are yoga classes, dance classes, and several exercise classes to get involved with. There are open mics, writing classes, and workshops. Choose something that you wouldn’t normally do. Choose something that makes you a little uncomfortable. National Recovery Month is the perfect time to celebrate a part of yourself that needs a little push.
It’s the perfect time to celebrate all the progress you have made in your sobriety by taking the next step. Even if you crash and fall, you will be surrounded by people familiar with your journey. They will help you get back on your feet. So, go put on your dancing shoes and do your celebration dance! Every day is sober is an excuse to celebrate.
6.) Volunteer your time
Find out how you can contribute in your community. Learning to give your time towards something meaningful is an important part of moving forward in your sobriety. Pick a cause that matters to you. If you aren’t sure what matters to you, use this month to research a cause that interests you and see how you can get involved.
There are plenty of events through National Recovery Month that offer ideas. The best place to start researching is in your own community. Look up organizations that exist offering services. See if they have volunteer opportunities and what can be done to get involved. Nothing feels better than putting time towards making someone’s day a little brighter or fighting for a cause you think is important.
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7.) Learn Overdose Training
Wherever you are in your recovery, learning to help others is an important step.
One way you can do this is helping prevent someone’s death due to overdose.
According to the NIH, “Naloxone is a medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose.
It is an opioid antagonist—meaning that it binds to opioid receptors and can reverse and block the effects of other opioids.
It can very quickly restore normal respiration to a person whose breathing has slowed or stopped as a result of overdosing with heroin or prescription opioid pain medications.”
National Recovery Month is a great excuse to learn how to distribute this drug.
There are classes where you can learn how to distribute Naloxone to someone who is overdosing.
If you are in recovery for opioids this could be extremely useful as perhaps you will know someone close that still uses.
Maybe you have a family member who uses, or a friend.
You could run into someone overdosing simply going to get groceries.
If you had Naloxone and the ability to distribute it, you could save their life.