For the second year in a row, Inyo County residents are being asked to join the rest of the country in observing September as National Recovery Month.
Sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Recovery Month has three simple messages to spread throughout the nation: prevention works; treatment is effective; and people can and do recover.
On the homefront, Inyo County Health and Human Services, Probation and Drug Court have united to not only spread these messages, but also encourage the community at-large to support and encourage fellow residents currently in recovery.
These groups will hold a Second Annual Celebrate Recovery event at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27 at the front of Bishop City Park. This year’s theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: It’s Worth It,” emphasizes that while the road to recovery may be difficult, the benefits of preventing and overcoming substance-use disorders are significant and important to everyone, said Karen Kong of Inyo County Health and Human Services Prevention.
“People in recovery can achieve physically and emotionally healthy lifestyles; they can participate in their communities in positive ways,” she added.
According to Kong, substance-use disorders are an especially intimidating and overwhelming problem in Inyo County and throughout the entire Eastern Sierra. She noted it is challenging to rally around people with substance-use disorders, get them the help and treatment they need and provide recovery support services.
“These are challenges that, in the long run, affect not only the substance abuser and their families, but the health and wellbeing of all Inyo County communities,” she said.
In 2010, 2.9 million people aged 18 or older – 1 percent of the U.S. population – received treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem at a specialized facility in the past year. However, according to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, there are 23.1 million people, ages 12 and older, who need treatment but are not getting it.
The gap between people who need treatment and those who get treatment is one of the reasons for the creation of National Recovery Month in 1989.
“September is a time for Eastern Sierra residents to come together and acknowledge that people in recovery are self-sufficient, contributing members of society … to join together for a common cause, supporting those with substance-use disorders, those struggling to achieve sobriety and those continuing to live in recovery everyday,” said Inyo County Health and Human Services Director Jean Turner.
The second annual Celebrate Recovery event will pay tribute to those in long-term recovery and to those new in recovery. Participants will share stories of struggles and triumphs and enjoy camaraderie in an alcohol- and drug-free setting.
The event is open to all community members, whether or not they have lived through, or with, addiction.
“Inyo County does a terrific job at supporting its residents and providing for their needs. Whether it is a fundraiser for ICARE, volunteers for AYSO, or a MOMS Club pack for our soldiers abroad, we see what is needed and we support it. Supporting people in recovery is no different,” Health and Human Services Addictions Supervisor Merry Brown said. “By attending this Celebrate Recovery event, Inyo County residents are telling the recovery community they are valuable and we admire their hard work to overcome substance abuse and become healthier individuals.”
The celebration of recovery will continue throughout the month as professionals and people in recovery share their insights, information and inspiring stories on the radio, television, newspaper and in presentations around Inyo County.
The public is invited to share their recovery stories, in writing. “You may remain anonymous, if you wish,” Kong said. Drop off or mail stories to Health and Human Services, 163 May St., Bishop, CA 93514 or e-mail it to at firstname.lastname@example.org . Envelopes should be marked “Attention: Karen.”
Anyone interested in securing an educational group presentation or wishing to volunteer for the Sept. 27 celebration should contact Karen Kong at (760) 872-4245 or at the above e-dress.