September is Recovery Awareness Month, and at Sanford Behavioral Health, recovery is a word that is near and dear to our hearts. One of the tenets of our mission is to support and educate those in recovery, their families, and communities, but what does recovery awareness mean? The dictionary defines recovery as a return to a
normal state of health, mind, or strength. I have edited the Oxford edition, as recovery and the concept of normalcy are both subjective. Especially when recovering from addiction, eating disorders, and mental health conditions.
Recovery is a lifestyle, not a destination. I have a family again: one that trusts and supports me. There are many pathways to recovery, and none are right or wrong. One of my elders told me there are many paths to the top of the mountain, but the view is always the same.
Jordan Higby, Sanford Behavioral Health, Admissions Specialist
Recovery Awareness Month
There is certainly a return to wellness in recovery, but there is also the potential for a better life than we had before. And so, improvement, growth, and enrichment are also integral to the definition. One thing I have learned after working for Sanford Behavioral Health for seven years and talking to thousands of people in recovery and hundreds of therapists is that everyone has a different path to addiction, eating disorders, and mental health conditions: a different story. And likewise, every individual has a unique recovery journey. That may seem simplistic, but it is important to remember because even the SAMSHA definition of recovery is subjective. My recovery will look different than yours, except we are all more self-directed and healthier.
Recovery is a journey shared with other alcoholics and addicts by which you live your way into better thinking rather than trying to think your way into better living. It is the process of uplifting mind, body, and spirit. Recovery has helped me become a better version of myself, allowed me freedom and the gift of choice, and given me a blueprint for a better life.
Garrett Dunn, Group Facilitator/Credentialing Specialist, Sanford Behavioral Health
Four major dimensions that support a life in recovery (The Association for Addiction Professionals NAADAC.org)
The ability to manage one’s disease and improve overall health and wellness.
At Sanford Behavioral Health, we want to see our patients succeed and improve their lives in recovery. It begins by trusting the process. Our detox team helps patients decrease cravings for addictive substances while also trying to understand how symptoms may tempt them back to increased use. Lastly, our clinical and medical team provides a full continuum of care and aftercare. It’s a rigorous experience but well worth achieving.
Dr. Gilbert Masterson, Sanford Behavioral Health Chief Medical Officer
Home means a safe and stable place to live. At Sanford, Residential Treatment provides structure and accountability 24/7 with 24-hour medical support. Supportive Housing is a safe and structured place to live while in Day Programs (PHP) and Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP). Likewise, from the beginning of treatment, our professionals help to integrate our patients back into their home environment. The signature Sanford Family Program educates our patients’ loved ones and provides long-term support.
Meaningful and independent activities, such as school, work, child caretaking, and volunteerism, provide a sense of purpose.
Relationships that promote and support recovery. From individual therapy to 12-step meetings to treatment and beyond, a rich support community is vital to a new life in recovery.
A few weeks ago, a patient told me she was very nervous to come to treatment. She said that she found the staff to be compassionate, professional, knowledgeable, and happy once she was here. The word happy resonated with me because I strongly believe that as a behavioral healthcare organization, our workplace culture impacts patient outcomes and long-term recovery.
Katie Vokes, Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Sanford Behavioral Health
Recovery Awareness Month – You Are Not Alone
We celebrate recovery awareness because addiction and mental health treatment enable those with substance use disorders or mental health conditions to restore and live healthy and fulfilling lives. National Recovery Month celebrates the efficacy of mental health treatment and sends a positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, there is hope and help available, and recovery impacts every person, every family, and every community.