Recovery Month! Huh?
September is national recovery month. A declaration at a federal level to support and celebrate the more than 20 million Americans who identify themselves as “in recovery”. It’s also a chance to communicate and engage the additional 20 million in need of treatment. Take the ripple further and there are the more than 15 million children living with an impaired parent. Add it all up and drug use, addiction, and recovery is an issue that touches all American lives. Few other issues do. So what’s with the la luster response? Recovery month is about as exciting as horrible coffee at an AA meeting. Sure, you’ll drink it because it’s there but it’s generally pretty awful.
Compare recovery moth efforts to other disease. Say, Breast cancer. Breastcancer.org reports about 1/8 American women will have some range of the disease in their lifetime. Tragic, and certainly deserving of our time and attention. As a little known side bar, 1/1000 men will also have the disease. To be clear, it’s never a competition for which cause is more deserving but it is a curious phenomenon that addiction, impacting every American life receives so little attention. There was a time when women lived in shame and secrecy about breast cancer. It was whispered about or avoided. Today, the NFL wears pink cleats, MLB uses pink bats and Central Park becomes a sea of fundraising advocates wearing pink bras. Addition? Do we have a ribbon? A color? A walk in Central Park? What do we have? The answer is: not much. We don’t have a lobby, a PAC, we have some well meaning people bouncing along.
High Sobriety started in 2017 and it’s been a journey. As with any pioneering effort, there have been some surprises. At some point Lewis likely said to Clarence “bears? Did you ow there were bears!?” There is solace in knowing we have been correct about some things on which we speculated. We seem to have been correct that harm reduction and alternative to abstinence are needed and wanted. We have had a massive response from consumers. We knew we would take our hits from the current paradigm. Fire away, it’s fine, we get it. We also thought that we would create a dialogue within the community and develop a voice in the media. We have.
Recovery month rolled around and I reached out to every writer, producer, and TV interviewer I could to cover the story and show what recover does and could mean. Also a call to action. How can we possibly advocate for all the people in need without a lobby. Peanut growers have one, so do condiment distributors. The typical response was “huh?” . What I can say is many of the potential stories were killed by hurricanes. Recovery month doesn’t have to be something spoken about by High Sobriety, but it does have to be spoken about. To be clear, we aren’t just “the weed guys”. We support all ranges of recovery and whatever pathway is needed to get there. Medication assisted, faith based, 12 step, clinically facilitated. Whatever helps people, High Sobriety supports. What we don’t support is apathy.
A few years back, I begged, literally begged anyone I could to cover recovery month. Andy Cohen of Bravo TV was was the one and only to step up. This year, I didn’t want to bug him, but maybe I should have.
Author: Joe Schrank, Editor-in-Chief