September begins a month of education and empowerment regarding substance abuse recovery. Each year at this time, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Association (SAMHSA) kicks off National Recovery Month, a time for celebration, support and advocacy for those living with substance abuse.

This month, you can observe National Recovery Month by taking a look at your own support systems and coping skills in your own recovery. Here are a few resources or considerations to keep in mind as you continue your journey to sobriety.

Support is for friends and family too.
If you are a friend or family member of someone living with addiction, recovery applies to you as well. Addiction can affect the entire family unit, and can negatively affect friendships as well. Even if you think you have escaped the consequences of addiction, you still need time and skills to help in your own recovery. Visit a support group or a therapist to begin the work of your own recovery.

Review your self-care techniques and schedule.
Recovery can become more difficult as life stress piles on. If you are in recovery, no matter if you have been sober for 3 days or 30 years, self-care is a staple to your success. How do you take care of yourself when you are feeling stress, or when life isn’t going well? How do you take care of yourself when things are going well? If you don’t have self-care strategies you can list, you are missing a vital piece of your health.

Review your relationships.
Are your relationships encouraging and supportive, or are they relationships full of toxicity and anxiety? While you are certainly your own person and able to make your own decisions, without healthy support relationships, you are more likely to make decisions that could negatively impact your recovery. Take this month to consider cutting out relationships that are not serving you well.

Revisit support groups.
If you are in recovery, you already know the importance of support groups made up of peers who have been through the same experiences as you. Whether you choose a 12 Step Recovery program or another that suits your own sobriety, take this month to re-engage with meetings or visits. If you have been in recovery for a long period of time, consider leading a group or volunteering to support others who are new on the path.

Advocate for everyone.
Recovery is hard work, and people doing the work deserve praise from others. Use this month to learn more about addiction and to advocate for those who are living with it.

This September, and every month of the year, we honor those doing the hard work of recovery. It is our pleasure and honor to serve you, as well as your family members and friends. Keep going – we are behind you.

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