The statistics around addiction and mental health issues are staggering. In 2021, the year of the most recent Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Survey on Drug Use and Health, almost one in three adults “had either a substance use disorder or any mental illness,” and for young adults from ages 18 to 25, that statistic jumped to nearly one in two. Apart from substance abuse, we know that addiction as a disease can manifest in a number of different ways and behaviors, such as gambling or dysregulated eating. Whether you know it or not, you know and love people who are living with addiction or who are in recovery.
September is National Recovery Month, offering us a chance to honor as holy the work of recovery, healing and reconciliation. SAMHSA reminds us that, “With the right treatment, support, and resources, recovery is possible for everyone.” And as members of the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement, we know that the “liberating, lifegiving love of God” is broader and deeper than we could imagine and certainly encompasses the liberating work of overcoming addictive diseases.
Each week all month long, we’ll be sharing resources with you to use in your parishes and communities so that you’re able to remind people in the throes of addiction that hope is not lost and able to better support people who are in recovery. The stigmatization of addiction is certainly a major factor in preventing people from seeking help. By sharing these resources openly and encouraging ongoing conversations about recovery and healing, we can help to break down stigmas, joining in the liberating and lifegiving love and work of God.
Here are some resources to get you started:
- We’re happy to share with you an example of a Recovery Service that takes its form from 12-step recovery programs. This service was shared with us by Rev. Kay Drebert.
- Rev. Kay herself has offered to be a resource as well! As a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) and a deacon in the Episcopal church, Rev. Kay can bring a unique perspective to conversations about and work around recovery and she has graciously offered to visit parishes who wish to learn more and grow in their support for addiction and recovery communities. If you’d like to connect with Rev. Kay, please let Rachel know.
- All are welcome to attend a 12-Step Eucharist on Sunday, September 17 at 5:00 p.m. at Christ Church, Binghamton. This service is one way that the Christ Church community supports individuals in recovery as well as all who love and care for them. It will also be a time to remember those who have lost their lives while seeking recovery. If you’re unable to attend the service on-site, you can attend online through Christ Church’s YouTube page.
- Recovery Ministries of the Episcopal Church exists with the mission of helping people in recovery integrate that journey into their faith lives in such a way that highlights the grace of recovery and raises awareness of and sensitivity to issues of addictive illnesses and recovery in our church communities. The Recovery Ministries website includes several resources that would benefit individuals and parishes alike.
- With the help and direction of Rev. Kay, we’re developing a CNY Recovery Resources folder for all to use here. Individuals and parish leaders alike can access the materials there at any time and we’ll continue to add to it, not just this month, but in perpetuity, to support the gospel work of recovery and healing. Currently, this folder includes links to learn more about addictive diseases and treatment options available, as well as a worship program blurb about recovery month. If you know of good resources to include, please contact Rachel so that she can add them to the folder.
- We invite you to join us in prayer this day, this month, and always for those who are struggling with addiction. This prayer from page 831 from the Book of Common Prayer is an excellent place to start:
O blessed Lord, you ministered to all who came to you: Look with compassion upon all who through addiction have lost their health and freedom. Restore to them the assurance of your unfailing mercy; remove from them the fears that beset them; strengthen them in the work of their recovery; and to those who care for them, give patient understanding and persevering love. Amen.
We’ll continue to share resources all month long through email and on our social media pages, following a pattern of emphases developed by SAMHSA. Here’s what you can look forward to:
- Week 1 (September 4 – 10): This week we highlight supporting youth and young people in recovery and the crucial role that families and caregivers play in supporting individuals who are already in recovery or are seeking to start their recovery journey.
- Week 2 (September 11 – 17): This week’s focus is ensuring that people of color, youth, older adults, LGBTQI+, rural residents, veterans, and people with disabilities have equitable access to recovery resources.
- Week 3 (September 18 – 24): Our focus this week is promoting a whole-person approach to wellness that addresses the social determinants of health in addition to physical and mental symptoms.
- Week 4 (September 25 – 30): This week we highlight the importance of peer support and peer support services in guiding individuals, families, and caregivers through recovery.