March 1, 2021
March is Alaska's statewide ode to sobriety awareness and celebrating our friends, neighbors, relatives, and all who are in recovery. As we approach the fourth year of the state's Sobriety Awareness Month, it is important to acknowledge how we can and should support Alaskans in recovery from addiction to alcohol and drugs.
Every Friday in March, the Consortium is sharing a video series featuring five individuals who are living sober. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to hear their stories of recovery, how culture has played a positive role in their lives and how they are thriving in sobriety.
We also encourage everyone to wear a white ribbon throughout the month to promote awareness of substance misuse disorders, celebrate individuals in recovery, and acknowledge the work of prevention, treatment and recovery support services.
The health impacts of alcohol and substance misuse are felt community-wide, as indicated in our statewide alcohol-use data. We can come together as a statewide community to be a part of the solution.
There are as many different paths to recovery as there are different people in recovery. But regardless of how people achieve recovery, their lives, and the lives of those they touch - their families, friends and community members - are vastly improved as a result. Those in long-term recovery are the living proof that recovery happens and that there are real solutions to the problem of drug and alcohol addiction.
As we recognize Sobriety Awareness Month this March, here are three reasons to promote recovery in your community:
Alaskans support Alaskans: Alaska has a long history of supporting statewide efforts to help those with substance misuse disorders. Despite decades of grass-roots sobriety movements, including the transport of over 10,000 sobriety pledges during the March 1995 Iditarod, it was not until 2018 that Alaska legislation permanently designated March as Sobriety Awareness Month. Alaska Native people persevered in advocating for this legislation and supporting each other through recovery - it is important we continue that commitment and honor this legacy.
Taking care of others is an Alaska Native value: The COVID-19 pandemic has, and continues, to disrupt our health, economy and ability to connect. The stress of the pandemic and the impact of social isolation may have an even greater effect on people in recovery from substance use disorders. As we approach another year of physical distancing, it becomes increasingly more critical to stand up for recovery and reach out to loved ones to let them know you care. Communities across the state are innovating and adapting services to better serve those with substance use disorders, ensuring recovery is still possible during COVID-19. When we speak up, we show people in recovery that they are not alone.
To reimagine sobriety: As we spend more time at home, a lot of us are watching more TV and scrolling through social media. There are constant images, ads, and memes that showcase alcohol use or joke about ditching sobriety movements like 'Dry January.' But what if we reimagine how we talk about substance misuse? Alaskans are thriving in sobriety and recovery and it is important we see that too. How we see and talk about substance use matters - by using language that supports recovery we are elevating the stories and joy that exists within the recovery community. Sharing and celebrating recovery stories connects community members and empowers those who are still struggling to know they are not alone. It also helps us to eliminate the stigma people in recovery often face and educate the public that recovery is possible.
There are many pathways to recovery and ways to get involved in supporting others. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Support Yourself and Loved Ones: If you, or a loved one, needs help, you are not alone and there are many statewide resources available.
For feedback, questions, or support for Sobriety Awareness Month please contact ANTHC's Substance Misuse Prevention Program at [email protected].
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