Celebrating 30 Years of Recovery Awareness Month

National Recovery Month logo

This September marks the 30th anniversary of National Recovery Month and is a big focus at Highland Springs Specialty Clinic. Also known as Recovery Awareness Month, this observance began in 1989 and was created by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Before becoming National Recovery Month, it was known as Treatment Works! Month and later as National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month before its official moniker stuck. SAMHSA began this observance to raise awareness of both mental health issues and substance abuse disorders in order to create a safe environment and encourage those who needed help to seek it. So, as a way to celebrate this important month and monumental anniversary, we thought we would break down how Recovery Awareness Month can help you or a loved one.

Navigating Mental Health This National Recovery Month

Can you recover from mental illness? This month is a time to stop and consider the resilience of the human body, mind, and spirit. Mental illness may happen to you, but it doesn’t have to rule your life. You can take steps towards recovery. Like any journey, you usually get farther faster if you have a good plan. There are four building blocks to focus on when planning your recovery and these will help build a solid foundation for your future.


An important aspect of mental health is physical health. According to Psychology Today, a healthy lifestyle can help your chosen treatment work more effectively and help develop a more rapid change. So, strive to make informed, healthy choices that support physical and emotional wellbeing. One example of doing this is to identify and reduce sources of stress where possible. Another important method is to avoid drugs and alcohol. Many people “self-medicate” with these substances, but they will not help you recover. If anything, they will make things worse. There are evidence-based treatment options available today to help you recover from substance abuse. Recovery is hard by yourself, but with the assistance of Highland Springs Specialty Clinic’s mental health services, we can help make it easier. If you have found yourself self-medicating, we offer an outpatient substance abuse recovery program that will help you shift your focus back to addressing your mental health.


While this can sometimes be difficult or out of your control, it’s an important building block of recovery to have a stable and safe place to live. Home should be a place of refuge, support, and rest. It’s important to have a safe space that you feel comfortable in and can recharge. If your home life causes problems for you, talk with a mental health professional, such as our team of experienced behavioral health therapists.

A man resting at home during Recovery Awareness Month.


Another important part of recovery is to engage in meaningful daily activities, such as a job or school, volunteering, caring for your family, or being creative. It’s also critical that you work for independence, income, and resources to participate in society. When working towards recovery, you should ask yourself “Why do I get up in the morning?” While this is a seemingly simple question, it’s a question you should be cognizant of and work towards having a healthy purpose to work toward. If you are struggling to find your purpose, we can help. It is often a simple problem of not realizing all your options.


This aspect of recovery revolves around building relationships and social networks that provide support. Recovery becomes more difficult if you are detached from those around you. So, take control of your recovery and reach out. You’ll be surprised how easy it can be to find a good friend. Additionally, a professionally trained therapist can help you with how your brain thinks about things, and if needed, a prescriber can help you with medications. The importance of friends is they help you explore and share all the wonderful interests and aspects of yourself that are not part of your mental illness.

Utilizing Mental Health Services Beyond National Recovery Month

A woman participating in mental health services.

Part of recovery requires the use of mental health services. It’s important to recognize this during Recovery Awareness Month, but should also be remembered after the month has ended. So, while 30 years of National Recovery Month is an important milestone that should be celebrated, it’s important to keep this awareness and movement going for another 30 years and beyond. If you or a loved one is seeking help, contact us today for a consultation. With locations across the Intermountain West, we can help you. At Highland Springs Specialty Clinic, we are dedicated to helping our clients find happiness again. Take the first step to recovery today and keep working towards recovery even after Recovery Awareness Month is over by contacting us today. 

AUTHOR: Dr. Todd Thatcher

Dr. Todd Thatcher has worked at Valley for 8 years and has been the Chief Medical Officer for 5 years. He is triple board certified in forensic psychiatry, general psychiatry, and addiction medicine. Currently, Dr. Thatcher is passionate about the high-quality training of our employees and generating and tracking as much clinical data as possible to improve processes and procedures for increased ease, accessibility, and ultimately to better serve our clients and provide the best care possible.

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