MONTGOMERY, AL – Events will be held statewide throughout the month of September celebrating the 21st anniversary of National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month (Recovery Month). These events will seek to honor people in recovery from substance use disorders, as well as those who provide treatment and recovery services, and promote the need for treatment access and long-term recovery.
More than 23 million people aged 12 or older needed treatment for a substance use disorder in the United States in 2008. In Alabama alone, there are an estimated 300,000 people with some form of a substance use disorder. Recovery Month is celebrated annually to help raise awareness that substance use disorders are treatable and recovery is possible. Treatment and other recovery support programs are as effective as treatment for other chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease – yet nationally, only 10 percent of Americans who need treatment for substance use disorders actually receive it, according to the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
Each year, Recovery Month focuses on a specific issue that relates to addiction and recovery. This year, Recovery Month is raising awareness about the increasing level of stress in society and the impact it has on addiction. Nearly half of Americans reported in 2008 that their stress level had increased over the past year, with as many as 30 percent rating their average stress level as extreme, according to the American Psychological Association. Stress and other external circumstances can lead to the onset and relapse of addiction, particularly among specific groups who face stressful life situations. That's why this year's theme, "Join the Voices for Recovery: Now More Than Ever!," emphasizes the urgency of educating individuals about the potential impact stress has on a person dealing with addiction.
In preparation for Recovery Month, the department's Substance Abuse Services Division, in partnership with several advocacy groups and community partners, has been busy coordinating events to celebrate this observance. A Rally for Recovery in Gadsden will kick-off the month's celebrations on September 11. On September 14, a Recovery Breakfast will take place in Mobile, and on September 16, a Walk for Recovery will be hosted in Decatur. On September 18 and 19, Celebrate Recovery Rallies will be held in Birmingham and Montgomery, respectively. A 5K Sobriety Run will take place in Montgomery on September 24. Finally, on September 26, Celebrate Recovery Sunday will take place in Montgomery.
Kent Hunt, Associate Commissioner for the Division of Substance Abuse Services, said, "All the events will be fun, uplifting, inspiring and educational. I encourage everyone to find an event to participate in because the more we learn about the possibilities and realities of addiction recovery, the more likely we will be to seek recovery for ourselves or to help guide someone else toward recovery."
To find out more about more about Recovery Month and the events going on statewide, visit the department's Web site at www.mh.alabama.gov, or contact the Substance Abuse Services Division at 334-242-3961.