In recognition of National Recovery Month we asked people with different lengths of recovery time what this time of year means to them as sober individuals.
BY PAULO MURILLO
“I’m in recovery and I also have a mental health diagnosis, so it is very important to me to have people made aware of people in recovery and substance abuse issues as well as mental health issues, because a lot of times they’re intertwined. This month makes me more reflective of my own recovery and the people I’ve lost in recovery. My ex-boyfriend was a heroin addict and he took his own life about two years ago. Now I work in recovery and I wish the government used this month as an opportunity to invest more money to help more people recover.”
—Eric Almond, sober since August, 2013.
“Honestly I never know what month National Recovery Month falls on because it is not publicized very much. The way I see it, my recovery is always with me. I think about it every day, so this month doesn’t impact me individually. I think it brings awareness to our community across multiple levels of recovery whether it’s over-eating or alcohol, but it’s just another day for me. I’m just trying to get through the day, one day at a time and at the end of the day I thank God I’m still sober.”
—Jason Frazier, sober since January, 2007.
“Recovery is a big umbrella term that means so many different things. If more people are aware of the many conditions people have in our society that we need to recover from—not just from drugs and alcohol, but depression and other mental issues as well, like depression and PTSD, we’d see more people seeking recovery. What comes to mind during National Recovery month is first of all, gratitude for the support network in the community where I live, because I don’t have to go more than say 50 feet to find someone who is sober.”
—Brian Hamilton, sober since June, 2003.
“For me, being sober was the only other option left in a life that had become sad, lonely and full of fear. In the beginning it was definitely scary. I never thought I’d build such a strong support and desire to remain sober. Today staying sober is easy. I get to enjoy life in all of its beautiful aspects. My sobriety has consistently challenged me, whether it be by returning to school to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in finance or discovering passions I never knew I had. I stay sober by being honest with myself, attending meetings, working with my sponsor and being of service to others suffering, much like I was many years ago.”
—Jose Garcia, sober since May 8, 2008.
“National Recovery Month is a wonderful thing. Celebrating recovery forces people to see it. I get a little relief knowing that carrying out the message of recovery has been delegated on a national level. It is truly amazing to see people celebrating sobriety—especially when they’re young—like 20 or 25—and they’re sober and they’re able to have careers and are able to go out in public as sober individuals without facing a stigma that they are in recovery. The idea of keeping sobriety secret has been misinterpreted. Back in the day, you could get fired for being an alcoholic. Today we celebrate it.
—Donald Layman, sober since January, 1999.