Each year, Recovery Month celebrates the achievements of people in recovery from addiction. It’s an opportunity to promote new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices, the emergence of a strong and proud recovery community, and the dedication of service providers and community members across the nation who make recovery in all its forms possible.
Recovery Month is also an important reminder that the addiction crisis is far from over. Tens of thousands of people die from the disease of addiction each year. Drug overdose deaths increased again in 2019 in the United States, according to new preliminary data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in July. The CDC predicts that the final count for 2019 will be close to a record 72,000 overdose deaths, while 2020 is widely expected to exceed even that number because of the impact of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
The theme for this year’s Recovery Month is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Celebrating Connections.” Addiction is frequently driven by intense stress, trauma, extended periods of anxiety, prolonged grief, depression, and isolation.
Connections are crucial for a sustained recovery and COVID-19 has seriously disrupted traditional ways of connecting in recovery. With physical distancing measures and other restrictions in place across the US, meetings and counseling sessions for those who struggle with addiction had to be moved online in many cases. But that situation has also presented new opportunities.
“With the help of modern technology, we have the chance to be more connected than ever before,” says Michael Arnold is the director of alumni and recovery support services at Harmony Foundation. “The time COVID-19 is giving us at home is actually the greatest gift that our recovery can receive. If you are concerned about being isolated at home, pick up the phone, tablet, or use your computer to reach out to someone.”
Michael also found another engaging way to help people in recovery snap out of any dark moods they may be experiencing. In May, she started a podcast called “Monday State of Mind” to give the recovery community a positive start into the workweek. “I know the good that happens when I choose to be consciously aware of my state of mind,” she says. An alumna of Harmony herself, Michael continues to use the tools that were given to her while she was there as a patient.
The federal government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is also utilizing the internet, offering a number of webinars during Recovery Month that cover medication-assisted treatment, employment support, communities supporting recovery, and the importance of integrating recovery support services.
Millions of lives in America have been transformed through recovery. Unfortunately, these successes in the battle against addiction frequently go unnoticed. Recovery Month gives everybody a chance to celebrate these accomplishments.
Harmony Foundation continues to serve clients during the COVID-19 outbreak and is taking new precautions to ensure staff and client safety. These include strict hand-washing protocols, heightened and ongoing disinfection of all areas at facilities, as well as updated admission assessments to consider previous travel, potential exposure, and health status. All new admissions will have additional medical screening upon campus arrival.