What is the first image that comes to your mind when you hear the word recovery? Is it economic recovery, pandemic recovery, getting well after an illness, rebuilding, wellness, becoming whole? I believe recovery is about regaining, rebirthing, or getting back what we have lost in some way.

Recovery month is about celebrating these four messages…

1. Behavioral health is essential to health

2. Prevention works

3. Treatment is effective

4. People recover

At AKA most of our work involves some aspect of recovery. We are all in recovery. I say this and I mean it. I have not met anyone or any organization that has not recovered from something, this is a common ground that connects everyone, every program, community, evaluation…from all walks of life.

AKA works with funding agencies, state and local governments, tribes, recovery centers, recovery coaches, clinicians, individuals in recovery, families, youth, and communities that support recovery. This is the gift. In the process of this work, we (you, me, us) get to know about our own recovery. That is, getting back what has been lost, regaining what is ours…the right to health, prevention, effective treatment, recovery, and more.

Here are some examples of how AKA is part of the recovery process.

Documenting what has been lost so that programs can fill gaps, create policies, do better. Evaluating programs and services to find out how the recovery and regaining process is happening.

Our evaluations tell us a lot about what is working, the transforming of individuals, families, communities, and nations.

Exploring and testing what works, through evaluation and sometimes research to understand more about loss and brokenness so that wholeness is possible.

Giving voice to the people, making evaluation a platform for public discourse, truth-seeking, storytelling, and courage. This is happening through podcasts, books, reports, artwork, and more. Yes, this is part of our work as researchers, evaluators, trainers, and healers.

My last thought is that if recovery is about regaining what is lost, what is it that you want to regain?