Self-Care and Support: Navigating Recovery Awareness Month in September*

Self-Care and Support: Navigating Recovery Awareness Month in September*

The National Drug Hotline at (844) 289-0879 is available 24/7. You can call for yourself or your loved one. Seeking help for yourself, a friend, or a family member can make a big difference.

September is National Recovery Month. Recovery Awareness Month, often called National Recovery Month, is a nationwide observance held every September in the United States. Its primary purpose is to increase awareness and understanding of substance use disorders and mental health issues, celebrate the achievements of those in recovery, and promote the availability and accessibility of treatment and support services. This month-long campaign helps reduce the stigma associated with addiction and encourages individuals to seek help and support.

The Importance of Raising Awareness

Reducing Stigma. One of the significant hurdles individuals with addiction face is the pervasive stigma associated with their condition. Recovery Awareness Month seeks to break down these barriers by fostering empathy and understanding. Educating ourselves and others about the nature of addiction can help reduce the shame and judgment that often prevents people from seeking help.

Encouraging Help-Seeking. Awareness campaigns like Recovery Awareness Month highlight the importance of seeking help. Many people struggling with addiction may not be aware of the available resources or may be reluctant to ask for support. By providing information and showing compassion, we can encourage individuals to take the first steps toward recovery.

Celebrating Recovery. Recovery is an ongoing process filled with small and significant victories. Recognizing and celebrating these achievements during Recovery Awareness Month boosts the self-esteem of those in recovery and inspires others. Success stories can instill hope and motivation.

Ways to Support Someone Battling Addiction

According to the United States Department of Human and Health Services, 46.3 million Americans are struggling with or have struggled with addiction. Making it likely that you, or someone you know, has been affected by addiction. Continue reading for ways to support someone in your life who is battling addiction, which can be a lifelong journey, and ways to care for yourself so you can continue providing support.  

Educate Yourself. Understanding the nature of addiction and recovery is fundamental to offering practical support. Knowledge equips you with the tools to empathize better and assist your loved one.

Seek Professional Help. Addiction is a complex issue that often requires professional guidance. Encourage your loved one to seek treatment and therapy and consider attending therapy yourself to navigate the emotional challenges.

Attend Support Groups. No one should face addiction alone. Support groups are available for both those battling addiction and the loved ones affected. These groups provide a safe space to share experiences, exchange coping strategies, and find solace in the shared journey.  

The Addiction Group website offers resources to find the right group for you.  

Practice Active Listening. Being there for your loved one means offering a non-judgmental and empathetic ear. Active listening allows them to express their thoughts, feelings, and fears without fear of criticism.

Promote Healthy Choices. Encourage your loved one to adopt healthy habits and activities supporting recovery. Physical fitness, mindfulness practices, and creative outlets can be beneficial.

Celebrate Milestones. Recognize and celebrate your loved one's progress and milestones in their recovery. Acknowledging their achievements is a powerful motivator, whether a day, a week, a month, or a year of sobriety.

Self-Care Strategies While Supporting Someone with an Addiction

“To Take Care of Others, Start by Taking Care of Yourself”

To begin, make sure you are prioritizing self-care. Caring for yourself is not a luxury; it's a necessity, and at specific points in our lives, our self-care strategy needs to go beyond face masks and bubble baths.  

Here are some tips for providing yourself with extra support.  

Build a Support System. Seek support from friends, family, or support groups for loved ones of individuals with addiction. Connecting with others who share similar experiences can provide solace and understanding.  

Set Realistic Expectations. Understand that recovery is a process filled with ups and downs. Be prepared for setbacks and maintain realistic expectations for your loved one's journey.

Manage Stress. Develop stress management techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga to cope with the emotional challenges that may arise.

Keep Personal Goals. Don't neglect your own goals and aspirations. Maintaining a sense of purpose and accomplishment outside your caregiver role is essential.

Utilize Your Available Resources. Many companies have EAPs available to provide the extra support we mentioned. Wellworks For You offers learning series such as “Addiction and Recovery” and “Family Trauma and Recovery,” which aim to provide insight and education into the recovery process.  

Monitor Your Emotional State and Ask for Help When You Need It. Pay attention to your emotional state, and watch for repeated feelings of depression, overwhelm, and burnout. The amount of support, or “self-care,” you require will fluctuate. At times, the above options may be the right balance, and at other times, you may require professional help. Be sure to ask for help,  

Recovery Awareness Month in September is a vital reminder of the struggles individuals battling addiction and their loved ones face. Remember that regardless of how you are being affected by addiction, you are not alone. Resources and communities are available to help you navigate this challenging journey.  


If You Are Struggling with Addiction

If You Have A Loved One Struggling with Addiction

Kellie O'Keefe
Kellie O'Keefe

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