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Every Person. Every Family. Every Community.

We love this message about recovery. September is always a special month at AKA because we get to celebrate National Recovery Month. Recovery month is about elevating recovery and educating people that recovery is possible for every person, family, and community. This month we celebrate more than 20 million Americans who are in recovery from substance use disorder.

Even though we are celebrating recovery this month, we must also recognize that mental health and substance use disorders threaten the well-being of individuals and futures.

1 in 4 Americans report having a mental health diagnosis such as anxiety or depression or experiencing emotional distress


Addiction impacts individuals, families, and communities.

  • Addiction is the most neglected disease in America. A Columbia University study found that 40 million Americans over the age of 12 are addicted to nicotine, alcohol, or other drugs. Addiction is more prevalent than heart disease, diabetes or cancer in the US.

  • Addiction costs the US government more than $468 billion annually.

  • Death from addiction accounts for more deaths than motor vehicle accidents, homicide, and suicides in the US. Overdose deaths from opioids are the fastest growing public health problem in the US.

  • The impact of addiction on families and children is perhaps the greatest tragedy. Addiction increases domestic violence, child abuse, unplanned pregnancies, and motor vehicle accidents. Addiction causes financial and legal problems and many face incarceration due to alcohol and drug-related crimes.

What we have learned about recovery…

  • Recovery is a spiritual process, it comes from suffering or loss.

  • Recovery is based on spiritual connections, meaning, purpose, relationships, awareness, and beliefs in higher powers (Treatment Program Evaluation Ch. 7).

  • Spirituality influences what we value, what we assign meaning to, and how we find purpose.

  • Spirituality and values influence our behaviors, and what we do, think, act, and know.

  • Faith or the need to believe in something that cannot be seen is a significant requirement for transformation and recovery (Treatment Program Evaluation Ch. 7)

How individuals, families, and communities heal…

  • Believe in God or a higher power

  • Know that healing is possible and all are deserving

  • Be mindful and aware of your thoughts

  • Practice forgiveness to self and others

  • Offer unconditional love to self and the world

  • Be grateful

Working in recovery, with recovery programs, and being in a place of recovery, I see that recovery is a step every day on a healing path, and it’s a choice that I make. What steps or choices are you making today to heal?


We are just finishing a book, Clinical and Practical Applications to Healing from Trauma and Substance Abuse with Routledge. This has been years in the making, many prayers, many paths, and we are nearing the end. Dr. Delores Big Foot has led this process, teaching me along the way, about how we heal from addiction, trauma, grief, loss, and abuse. She reminds me that we have free will. Free will gives us choice. We must have the choice, even if that choice is not good for us, our families, or our communities. Every choice has a consequence. Many choices that others make are out of our control… It is their decision. The choices we make impact seven future generations.

Healing is a choice that we make

Healing is a choice for every individual

Healing is a choice for every family

Healing is a choice for every community



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