King County, Washington, Celebrates Recovery Month

king county proclamations
Many of the 29 Reclaiming Futures sites helping communities break the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime celebrate Recovery Month, hosted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) each September. They, along with our King County site, which includes Seattle, Washington, are spreading the positive message that prevention works, adolescent substance abuse treatment is effective and people do recover. 
King County convenes a multi-disciplinary planning committee (chemical dependency, mental health and community mobilization) to reach people across cultures and disciplines to reduce the stigma for people in recovery.
They actively develop the Recovery Oriented System of Care model, starting with mental health and gradually including substance use disorders. This year, King County is working with their County Council to include substance abuse disorders in the recovery ordinance so that it becomes a behavioral health recovery oriented system of care. (The recovery ordinance ensures that the publicly funded mental health system in King County is grounded in mental health recovery principles.)

In addition to King County and the State of Washington, 29 out of 39 King County cities and towns have proclaimed September Recovery Month. (The proclamations are pictured above.)
Some of the most heartfelt work occurs on an individual level, in community discussions about self-care and support.
For ten years, King County has sponsored an annual Exemplary Services Awards to publicly honor those who are promoting and supporting recovery. They recognize achievements and advocacy by individuals and programs providing mental health or substance abuse services. 
On September 27, King County will honor the poets and artists in recovery who submitted their work for Recovery Month. Christina M. Johanneck's poem below will be featured at the event:

Becoming Real
Is a process of Discovery
Is the healing Hope instills in me
My transformation
Is a beautiful affirmation
This adventure
Is an unexpected detour
Every curve, every corner
I yearn to push back a border
Every voice in me
Is a symphony
Repeating, beginning
Harmonizing, Living
Pursuing, believing
My reward is our meeting
We take turns learning, teaching
Connections are earned
By reaching, needing
Giving beyond what is asked
On the path of a bond unmasked.
-By Christina M. Johanneck

We would appreciate hearing from you. How is your community celebrating recovery? How are you using the Recovery Month Toolkit?

Susan Richardson is national executive director for Reclaiming Futures. Formerly, she was a senior program officer in the health care division of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust in North Carolina, where she led a three-year effort involving the state's juvenile justice and treatment leaders to adopt the Reclaiming Futures model by juvenile courts in six North Carolina counties. She received her B.S. in Public Health, Health Policy and Administration, from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Updated: February 08 2018