You’ve probably seen them on Facebook – even Twitter or Instagram. Memes, photos or posts about a random “holiday” you’ve never mentioned before: National Dog Day, anyone? Siblings Day?

It seems like there’s a day, month or week for everyone and everything. But as silly and strange as these celebrations and events may seem, in some strange way, they often bring people together.

The month of September honors something neither silly nor strange, but something that certainly brings people from all walks of life together.

September is National Recovery Month. Now over a quarter Century in practice, Recovery Month is a national observance to increase awareness about addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery.

At Vertava Health of Texas, seeing our patients, graduates, and their families celebrate this month means everything.

You see, alcohol and drug addiction impact millions of families across the country. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an estimated 20 million Americans 12 years of age and older used an illegal drug in the past 30 days — representing roughly 8% of the U.S. population.

According to the Mayo Clinic, nearly 1,500 people addicted to drugs and alcohol die every week across the country — accounting for nearly 20,000 fatalities each year.

Addiction is a disease with many stigmas, internal barriers and external barriers that prevent people from seeking substance addiction treatment. For example, the labels of “addict” or “alcoholic”; denial; psychological distress such as anxiety and depression; lack of understanding of the disease and its treatment options.

Despite addiction being such a widespread disease, millions of lives have been transformed through mental health and addiction treatment.

National Recovery Month reiterates the fact that regardless of barriers and roadblocks – recovery is possible.

This September, celebrate your victories and your loved one’s victories over addiction. If you or a loved one are still in active addiction, talk about addiction openly and reach out for help. Break down the internal and external barriers, bury the stigmas and shed light on what’s really going on in our country.

Recovery Month isn’t just another bizarre “holiday," but it is worth talking about with those we love, in group settings, and on social media. Recovery matters to millions of individuals and families, so why not recognize it?

Dr. David Henderson is a board certified psychiatrist, author, speaker and Medical Director at Vertava Health of Texas, formerly The Treehouse.

Help can be reached at or the 24-hour helpline at 888-951-1939.

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