Recovery is for Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community
By Nancy Markoe, LICSW
National Recovery Month (NRM) promotes awareness about addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery, encouraging the hopeful and inspiring message that treatment is effective and people can and do recover. This observance highlights the strength and humanity of individuals who have fought for their lives, reclaimed their health, and are prospering in long-term recovery.
The goals of NRM are to:
- Reduce stigma by educating the public
- Celebrate individuals in recovery from a substance use disorder or mental illness
- Honor prevention, treatment and recovery support service providers, and
- Encourage individuals and communities to take action to help expand the availability of effective prevention, treatment, and recovery support services for families and individuals in need.
The theme of NRM 2021, Recovery is for Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community, resonates with social workers across the United States, reminding us that treatment should be available and accessible to everyone and no one is alone on the road to recovery.
Social work’s holistic, strengths-based approach and evidence-based methods are essential to successful treatment and sustained recovery. As behavioral health providers in numerous settings from hospitals and schools to clinics and community, social workers are uniquely qualified to diagnose, educate, support and treat patients in recovery. Understanding the role of the individual in environment allows social workers to navigate the complex social factors involved in both the creation of substance use disorders and in their successful treatment.
While the stress and isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic have imposed enormous challenges on people living with substance use disorders and mental illness, the growth of telehealth platforms and virtual spaces have nonetheless helped patients access support in new ways. This disruption to school, work and social life has also allowed some to embrace and sustain positive change – even in the face of undeniable adversity.
Social workers recognize that substance use disorders and mental illness are every bit as deserving of our attention, compassion and healthcare investments as any chronic condition including breast cancer, diabetes, or heart disease. No other illness carries the stigma and shame associated with substance use disorders and mental illness and those in the recovery community are working hard to change that. Not just during NRM, but every day of the year. NASW encourages its members to support NRM and help combat the social stigma around addiction, celebrate recovery, and promote awareness.
SAMHSA’s National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
A free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental illness and/or substance use disorders.