National Recovery Month
National Recovery Month (Recovery Month) is a national observance held every September to promote and support 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 the nation who make recovery in all its forms possible.
In 2020, the federal government turned the reins over to the recovery community for the sponsorship and management of the Recovery Month observance. Faces & Voices of Recovery, a long-standing Recovery Month Planning Partner and active member of this community, is now hosting the Recovery Month website, managing the social media outreach, developing and dissemination of the promotional materials as well as the central location for all Recovery Month events.
How to talk to someone about substance use
Before talking to loved ones about your concerns, understand that they may not be ready to hear what you have to say; they might deny that there is an issue; they might find it difficult to accept your help. The best thing you can do in these situations is listen — asking guiding questions to keep the conversation going when necessary, but also really allowing your loved ones to talk about what’s going on in their lives.
Opening up the channels of communication may help your loved ones feel less alone and start working toward acknowledging that they have a problem.
Here are some ways you can gently start a conversation with someone you’re concerned about, focusing on your own observations:
• I wanted to check in with you because you haven’t seemed yourself lately.
• I’ve noticed you’ve been acting differently lately, and I’m wondering how you’re doing.
• I’ve been worried about you lately.
• I’ve noticed you’ve been drinking a lot lately, and I’m wondering how you’re doing.
• I’ve noticed you’ve been using [insert drug name], and I’m worried about you.
Once you’ve started the conversation, you can begin to ask questions such as these:
• When did you first start feeling like this?
• Do you feel like you’re trying to escape or forget something?
• Do you feel like your drug use/drinking is a problem?
• Do you think you could go 24 hours without using drugs/drinking? A week?
• What can I do to best support you right now?
• Have you thought about getting help?
Remember, you’re there to provide support, not to fix the situation or dominate the conversation. It’s important to listen and respond, when appropriate, with encouraging words,
• I want you to know that you are not alone — even if that’s how it feels to you.
• I am here for you, and I want to help you in any way that I can.
• It may not seem like it right now, but you can be in control of your life again.
• I may not be able to understand exactly how you feel, but I love you and want to help.
The best thing you can do in these situations is listen — asking guiding questions to keep the conversation going when necessary, but also really allowing your loved ones to talk about what’s going on in their lives.
How to help a loved one with addiction:
• Seek professional help. Contact a local addiction or mental health professional, such as a therapist or counselor, or meet with your family doctor. Your doctor may have experience treating people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol or be able to refer patients to someone who does. There are physicians and programs that specialize in the treatment of substance use disorders. Even an initial evaluation is a big step.
• Get local support. Visit Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous to find local support for drug and alcohol addiction. These groups provide a network of encouragement and solidarity for those who are working to overcome their addictions.
• Follow up on treatment. If a therapist or counselor recommends a change in your loved one’s treatment, social habits, exercise routine, or other activities to help cope with their addiction, be sure to support your loved one in making this change. Be aware that everyone is different and that it typically takes time and patience to find the “right fit” when it comes to treatment.
• Be encouraging. People who are addicted to drugs or alcohol may think they’ll never recover or that they’re unworthy of help, so they need someone in their lives who can constantly remind them that things can and will get better.
Official page for Recovery Month, provided by SAMSHA
A service provided by Mental Health America. Visit their site for resources on local treatment hubs, health, housing and education in recovery and much more.
For more help contact our Behavioural Health team