“Recovery is for Everyone:” National Recovery Month 2021
September is National Recovery Month. This is a time when we celebrate the people living in recovery, and the loved ones and addiction professionals that helped them get sober and support them.
It’s also a time when people with addictions that are still using drugs or drinking alcohol are encouraged to get help, and a time for people without addictions to educate themselves on this disease and ways to better support the people battling it.
The 2021 Theme for Recovery Month: “Recovery is for Everyone”
Each year, recovery month has a theme to guide us in reflecting on a certain aspect of addiction recovery. This year’s theme is “Recovery is for Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community.”
The purpose of the theme is to:
- Highlight how addiction is a disease that does not discriminate: practically everyone has been affected by addiction, either directly or indirectly.
- Encourage recovery spaces to review their policies and strive for more inclusivity.
- Encourage people working in the field of addiction treatment and recovery support to increase accessibility to these resources.
- Educate people on better, less stigmatizing ways to talk about addiction, so that people who need help and support feel more comfortable seeking and accepting it.
Ways to Avoid Stigmatizing Language Toward Addiction
One of the simplest and easiest ways we can support people in recovery and subtly encourage people suffering from substance use disorder (SUD) to get help is in the words we use. In surveys conducted among people struggling with addiction that don’t get the help they need, the fear of judgement and the stigma around SUD is frequently cited as one of the main barriers to treatment.
Are you using stigmatizing language in regard to addiction without realizing it? Consider:
- Avoiding terms that imply addiction is a choice and not a serious chronic medical condition. For example, words like “habit” should be replaced with more accurate terms like “addiction” or “substance use disorder.”
- Using person-first language. Instead of saying someone is an “addict, alcoholic, junkie, etc.,” say “person with an addiction, person with alcohol use disorder, person with a heroin addiction, etc.” This underscores that SUD is an affliction, not someone’s entire identity.
- Avoiding stigmatizing language like “dirty” or “clean,” when discussing people in remission or recovery. This tacitly bolsters the myth that addiction is a moral failing instead of a disease. These words are better replaced with “currently using drugs” or “in recovery.”
How Addiction Treatment Works
Addiction treatment is a very individualized process. However, there are evidence-based methods that help millions of people from all demographics lead fulfilling lives in recovery.
Addiction treatment typically starts with detox, which allows patients to safely and more comfortably withdraw from drugs and alcohol. This is often an important first step but is by no constitutes the entirety of addiction treatment.
Addiction is much more than merely physiological dependency. To achieve success in long-term recovery, people must learn to repair maladaptive coping mechanisms and thought and behavioral patterns, as well as form and maintain positive interpersonal relationships. This is done primarily through various forms of therapy and cultivating a network of peers that is conducive to sobriety.
Following rehabilitation, many people benefit from joining a continuing care program, such as a 12-step or secular support group. This helps maintain focus, motivation, and the support of likeminded peers.
While addiction is a serious and devastating disease, there is hope for those battling it: millions of people lead fulfilling lives in recovery. There is no shame in seeking help.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please reach out to an admissions navigator at to discuss treatment options at Greenhouse Treatment Center. You can also use the tool to verify your treatment is covered by your health insurance plan.