“Recovery from a substance use disorder is more the norm than an anomaly” -William White
This September marks the 23rd anniversary of National Recovery Month, which celebrates those that have reclaimed their lives from the grip of addiction.
“Recovery surrounds us in our neighborhoods, our businesses, our schools, and our houses of worship, but we do not see it,” writes today’s foremost researcher and historian of recovery, William White.
He continues: “We see instead the highly visible fruits of the problem. The pessimism flowing from such selective attention feeds misunderstanding and fuels stigma and its far-reaching consequences.”
White points to media stories of celebrities or other public figures constantly in and out of rehab and warns that these stories give the public the impression that recovery is not common. In fact, it is incredibly common. Recent survey results shows ten percent of Americans report being in recovery from substance abuse or addiction and White’s analysis puts of the number of people in the U.S. in recovery conservatively at 25 million.
Recovery Month celebrates these individuals and the many people around them who act as recovery supports, including the addiction treatment workforce.
Recovery Month also celebrates the social good that accompanies individual recovery. As a public health issue, addiction is associated with family instability, criminal justice involvement, and physical health problems. Recovery tends to turn these problems on their heads, enhancing families and communities.
In honor of National Recovery Month, IRETA Executive Director Peter Luongo, PhD, was recognized locally for IRETA’s work improving recognition, prevention, treatment and research and policy related to addiction and recovery.
IRETA receives proclamation from Pittsburgh City Council
On September 4, Dr. Luongo accepted a proclamation from Pittsburgh City Councilman Bruce A. Kraus. The proclamation commends IRETA for all of the work it has done and officially proclaims September as National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month in Pittsburgh. View the proclamation here.
Councilman Kraus serves as a great example of the possibilities of recovery. A recovered alcoholic for almost 25 years, Kraus is open about his past struggles.
He remembers that when he decided to run for political office, he thought his past could be a hindrance. A friend counseled him otherwise, saying that everyone he would encounter as a councilman has had their own life touched by addiction in some way. Whether it is a personal struggle, or that of a parent, spouse, friend or co-worker, people encounter addiction every day.
“I learned then that addiction connects people, it doesn’t distance people,” he said.
He said National Recovery Month is a reminder to us all of the commonality of addiction and that bringing awareness to the issue that will lead to results.
Dr. Peter Luongo, Executive Director of IRETA named a Comcast Newsmaker
Dr. Luongo has also been named a Comcast Newsmaker for the month of September. In an interview with Tonia Caruso, he spoke about the work IRETA does improving addiction treatment in Southwest Pennsylvania and the significance of September as National Recovery Month, as well as the upcoming Recovery Sports Link Baseball Game on Wednesday, September 19.
Watch the five minute video here.