September marks the start of National Recovery Month and our local community has already begun preparations for impactful events like the Recovery is for Everyone Walk. Created in 1989, this national observance aims to educate Americans about substance use treatments and mental health services. This month also focuses on celebrating people already in recovery, highlighting how treatment is successful and something one should strive towards.
“Recovery has changed my life in so many ways for the better. Today I have a sense of purpose and community that I never thought was possible while using drugs, ” Ryan Schweiger, a behavioral health community outreach specialist, said.
Mr. Schweiger, in collaboration with St. Luke’s Penn Foundation, leads the Recovery is For Everyone Walk. The 1.7 mile walk began last year and amassed over 200 participants. Through the help of staff, alumni and local students, the event offers free food, music, kids’ activities and giveaways. All these activities culminate into the 2023 Hope Festival, which occurs after the walk, whose overall goal is to bring the community together to support and provide resources for people in recovery.
“We all know someone who is either in recovery, has lost their life to an overdose or is currently struggling with a substance use disorder. This is an opportunity to come together and get further connected to others and spread awareness that Recovery is for Everyone,” Mr. Schweiger said.
Stigma around getting help can be the number one deterrent for a person struggling with substance abuse or a mental disorder.
“Individuals who are struggling with substance use and mental illness still face a lot of stigma from the community due to lack of education or a lived experience themselves,” Mr. Schweiger said.
Recovery is not an easy road. There are ups and downs, yet encouraging events like the Recovery is for Everyone Walk help a person improve their health and embrace their journey. The community coming together can motivate a person to seek help by creating a more understanding and uplifting environment.
“We need to break that stigma and make sure that individuals that are using drugs or struggling or are in recovery know that we are here for them and want to embrace them, care for them with compassion and understanding,” Mr. Schweiger said.
Asking for help may seem daunting, however, it is a vital step for recovery. For more information on National Recovery Month and the Recovery is for Everyone walk at 9:00 a.m. on September 16th at 741 North County Line Rd. in Telford.
For more information go to pennfoundation.org.
The first step may be the hardest, but it will be the most rewarding. “[You] are not alone in this and do not have to do this alone. Change can be scary for anyone, but it will be worth it in the end, ” said Mr. Schweiger.