Reflections on Recovery Month

Just what does it look like to live in recovery from a substance use disorder? How does one travel the road from being driven to use alcohol and other drugs despite the consequences, to living a life free from that isolating place? Recovery is possible for any one of us addicted to substances. It means connection. It means freedom. And it is vital that those in recovery share with others what they know about how to stay sober. By showing up and speaking out, we break down the stigma and shame that surrounds addiction and share what we know about living a life free from substance use. We show others the way.

September was Recovery Month. Across the country and state, men and women who have crossed the bridge from fear to freedom spoke out and shared what it means to be a person in recovery. Recovery, it turns out, does not need to look one specific way. For one person, it may mean attending 12-Step meetings.  Another person may choose medication assisted treatment. Yet another might use a sober active community, recovery coach, or peer recovery center. Some use a combination of all these supports. Recovery is a personal, ever-changing process suited to the person on that journey.

Although recovery may look different for each person, there are some themes you will hear people in recovery repeat: While addiction is isolation, recovery creates connection. While addiction lacks hope, recovery creates a new sense of peace. And while addiction means powerlessness, recovery brings a new awareness of inner potential. There are some things that people in recovery do to live a successful and fulfilling life free of alcohol and other drugs:

  • Make your recovery a priority on a daily basis: stay active in your recovery!
  • Stay connected with others in recovery as well as family and friends to keep you motivated and grounded in your new way of life.
  • Practice gratitude: look for the positive even in difficult situations.
  • Avoid comparisons: focus on yourself and how far you’ve come, not on where others may be.
  • Practice open-mindedness: explore the different options available to help you in your recovery.
  • Ask for help: no one can or should do recovery alone. Asking for help can help you grow and connect with others. It also gives someone else the opportunity to be helpful!
  • Help someone else: even the simplest action to help a friend or a stranger can create connection and a feeling of usefulness.
  • Practice acceptance of yourself, others, and your current circumstances.

Thousands of people across Massachusetts this past month have celebrated their sobriety and the community of recovery, as well as grieved those lost to addiction. Every person who spoke up at each event held helped to break down the stigma surrounding addiction. You can begin your recovery at any time: use our Helpline to find out how to access recovery for yourself or someone you love.