Each year, National Recovery Month informs Americans that addiction treatment and mental health services can help people struggling with substance abuse lead healthy, rewarding lives. The celebration’s 2013 theme was “Join the voices of recovery on a pathway to wellness.”
Recovery Month celebrations have been in full swing this month here at the Phoenix House Academy in Los Angeles, and our staff has a lot to be proud of. On Tuesday, September 24, 2013, a large wooden stage was nailed together and a special room was colorfully decorated for the Recovery Month presentations by the Academy teens. In preparation for this event, teens were divided into groups and attended workshops prepared by their counselors, who talked about what recovery means and as well as how drugs can damage the body and mind. Then they painted banners to show what recovery means to them. They also prepared speeches, tailoring their recovery experience presentations to their posters.
There was a lot of deep symbolism depicted in the paintings. Many drew hearts, peace signs, and families, indicating that you need peace, love, and family support respectively, to fight through addiction. Others drew spiritual symbols, books, and magnifying glasses, expressing the importance of spirituality, knowledge, and humanity’s optimism for discovery, collectively fueling their perseverance through sobriety. They also discussed how discovery and knowledge, paired with the tools they have gained in treatment, will help them stay clean.
Guest speaker, Peter Morales, a crisis intervention worker at Communities and Schools in the San Fernando Valley, helped spread the word about sobriety. Morales shared his recovery story and left attendees with a couple of moving words to consider: “Find a purpose in life so big it will challenge every capacity to be at your best.”
Additionally, teens presented speeches with the theme “What Recovery Means to Me.” Many young clients delivered raw, emotional talks that were straight from the heart. Teens spoke about their goals and ambitions, some saying they couldn’t wait to get back on the path of becoming a nurse, a rapper, or a record manager. Others looked forward to returning to high school, graduating, and going to college. It was truly touching to witness what they have learned at Phoenix House Academy in Los Angeles and their eagerness to move forward with their lives.
Perhaps even more moving was our teens’ ability to articulate what recovery means. Their personal declarations showed how much they treasure being sober, and re-gaining family respect, self-respect, and friends. As one young man declared during his group’s presentation, “I don’t like the way we’ve been looking at addiction. I’m addicted to being sober.”
For more information about our substance abuse and mental health treatment programs, or to refer someone in need for admission to our residential or outpatient services for teens with co-occurring disorders at the Phoenix House Academy in Los Angeles, please call our Call Center at 1 888 671 9392. We are here to help you find the information and services you need.