September is National Recovery Month

“Recovery is for Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community.”
- Faces & Voices of Recovery

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, numerous studies revealed an alarming uptick in substance misuse. Certain groups of New Mexicans—including healthcare workers, first responders, young women and mothers—were shown to be at increased risk for substance misuse. The stress and uncertainty of living through a global pandemic make living a balanced life difficult. We can all do our part to be healthy, inclusive, kind to others and aware of the issues that may lead to mental illness and substance misuse. 

 

September is National Recovery Month— a time to reflect on what that means for those of us who may have struggled with substance misuse or mental health challenges and the strides we’ve made towards overcoming what’s holding us back. The ways we’ve learned to manage our mental wellness can be helpful for others facing the same challenges. This month is a great time for all of us to reassess daily habits and set goals to lead healthier lives. Mental health is essential to overall health and linked to physical health—there is no difference. Substance misuse prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover.

Recovery isn’t just a vague possibility—it’s likely to happen. There are more people living in recovery than there are currently struggling with addiction. A peer-reviewed study published just last year by the Recovery Research Institute showed that 22.3 million people in the U.S. identify as being in recovery, and there are about 20 million people in the U.S. who identify as having some level of substance dependency in their life.

Mann, Brian. (January 15, 2022) "There is life after addiction. Most people recover."

Recovery Month can also be a time of joy and celebration. Recovery Communities of New Mexico (RCoNM) have put together a robust calendar of events throughout the state celebrating recovery in all its forms this month. RCoNM is an informal collaboration of our state’s local recovery advocates who promote recovery from substance use disorder and other behavioral illnesses. Their goal is to celebrate every New Mexican in recovery, reduce stigma, provide resources and encourage those struggling to seek peer support and recovery. 

Each year, more than a dozen New Mexico communities throughout the state unite and join together to celebrate recovery and healing from substance misuse, mental illness, and a myriad of other conditions. This year, a record 20 New Mexico communities are hosting Recovery Celebrations! Click here to view the event calendar, with a complete listing of events in New Mexico. Events are free and family-friendly, and range from traditional dances to art and food, car shows, movie screenings, and more diverse, engaging events that capture the spirit of New Mexican recovery culture.  

The Office of Peer Recovery and Engagement (OPRE) within the New Mexico Human Services Department, Behavioral Health Services Division (BHSD) is a vital component of many multi-disciplinary teams statewide to help bridge the gap in available recovery services by offering peer-based support. Leaning into their lived experience, Peer Workers inspire hope and belief that recovery is possible. Their Certified Peer Worker Training program engages individuals in successful long-term recovery and mental health maintenance to help others in their own recovery process. Sign up for their weekly newsletter here.

 

BHSD is actively working to expand access to substance misuse treatment, bolster the healthcare provider workforce and increase access to community-based behavioral health services for children and other underserved populations. The brand new BHSD website is the current hub connecting New Mexicans to treatment and care. The HSD/ BHSD Behavioral Health Planning Council includes volunteers from communities across the state, boosting the voice of individuals, family members, advocates and providers to improve substance use disorder prevention, treatment and recovery support services in every part of the state.

 

Our sister campaign, Dose of Reality, seeks to educate and remind us all that recovery is possible, and that it’s a chance to change your life. Recovery benefits everyone—families, friends, neighbors, and the person who seeks it. It is a reality for thousands of New Mexicans of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, and economic and social classes. Dose of Reality works to spread awareness about harm reduction methods like Narcan, help people find programs for Medication-Assisted Treatment and share hope and stories of New Mexicans in Recovery. Through their website information and resources, they accord dignity to people with addiction and recognize that there is no one singular path to recovery.

 

Lastly, the new 988 Lifeline can be a starting place for people who are curious about recovery, but who may not be ready for a therapy or treatment program yet. 988 is a way for anyone in a crisis to access free and confidential talk support for a variety of mental health and substance misuse reasons. Calling, texting or chatting #988 connects you with certified crisis counselors and peer support workers who can lead you to local supportive resources for treatment and recovery in your community.