CULLMAN, Ala. – President Joe Biden and Alabama Governor Kay Ivey have each signed National Recovery Month proclamations, committing to support the more than 20 million Americans and hundreds of thousands of Alabamians undergoing treatment for substance abuse disorders, their families and their health care providers.
Starting in 1989, National Recovery Month was established by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to support and applaud recovery service practitioners and promote evidence-based treatment modalities. A division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), SAMHSA’s goal is to aid in national mental health and substance recovery for the welfare of all Americans. By normalizing discussions and increasing public awareness of the prevalent disorders, the organization seeks to battle increased overdose deaths and substance abuse disorders.
The recovery community in Cullman is vast, with 12-step meetings held daily, dozens of therapists and counselors, sober living facilities and in-patient treatment.
When local members of the Cullman recovery community were asked what recovery means to them, their answers were awe inspiring.
Michelle R., 36, has 10 months clean and sober. She shared, “My recovery is everything to me. If I’m not clean and sober, I can’t take care of my mental health. Less than a year ago, my life was in the toilet, and I wanted to go to sleep and never wake up. I was drinking every day just to feel normal, or what I thought was normal. Even though I had friends and family, I felt completely alone and like no one understood the war going on inside my head. They loved me, but they couldn’t fix it. Church couldn’t fix it. Nothing helped until I reached out for help.
“Life can still be hard some days, but it is also full of beauty and opportunities. Recovery gives me the chance to see that, to experience and participate in life again. My foundation is recovery is rooted in 12-step meetings, working steps with my sponsor, being of service, seeing my therapist and learning to identify my feelings, which I couldn’t do for a long time. Without that support system, I am not capable of dealing with life on life’s terms.”
In his National Recovery Month proclamation, Biden stated, “Today, more than 20 million Americans are recovering from substance use disorder. Whether they are parents, children, siblings, neighbors, co-workers or friends, many of us are close to someone working to overcome drug or alcohol addiction. In celebration of Americans on the road to recovery, this National Recovery Month we recommit to helping prevent substance use disorder, supporting those who are still struggling, and providing people in recovery with the resources they need to live full and healthy lives.”
He went on to say, “This National Recovery Month, we thank peer recovery support professionals, counselors, addiction specialists, first responders, scientists, family members and everyone who works tirelessly to help our fellow Americans recover from substance use disorder. We offer strength to our loved ones at every step of their recovery process. And we rededicate ourselves to protecting our families and communities so all Americans can enjoy health and happiness.”
Bill M., another Cullman resident on the road to recovery, said his recovery can be summed up in four words, “Freedom. Hope. Living. Happiness.”
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