Each year in September, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) sponsors National Recovery Month to increase awareness about substance use disorders and to celebrate the successes of those who are in recovery.  This year, we are celebrating the 30th year of National Recovery Month.  The theme of Recovery Month in 2019 is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Together We Are Stronger.”   This year in particular, the observance of Recovery Month not only celebrates individuals in recovery but also focuses on those who support recovery, including community members, first responders, the healthcare community, and youth and emerging leaders.

In 2018, we lost 354 people in the state of Maine to overdoses.  Many of us have been impacted in some way by this issue.  Sometimes it may feel like it is hard to make a difference as an individual, but we are stronger when we all come together for a common purpose.  By showing your support during Recovery Month, you can help to bring awareness to this issue in our community, an issue that impacts all of us.  You can help to reduce stigma around substance use disorder and celebrate as a community the fact that recovery is possible.

In honor of National Recovery Month, the Western Maine Addiction Recovery Initiative will be hosting the 4th annual Western Maine Recovery Rally on September 22nd.  The Recovery Rally will bring people from across Western Maine together to support and celebrate recovery from addiction.

The Recovery Rally will begin at 11:00 a.m. at Longley Square at 413 Main St. in Norway where we will gather for the march.  Signs to carry during the march will be provided and free t-shirts will be available on a first-come, first served basis.  At 11:30, we will march to Moore Park in South Paris where there will be free food, resources, games, and speakers.  Police escorts will accompany us on the march to keep everyone safe.  If you are unable to join the march, feel free to join us at Moore Park at 12:30.  The speakers will be sharing personal stories about how their lives have been impacted by addiction, loss, and recovery.  After the speakers, we will play lawn games and visit with one another as we celebrate recovery.  In an effort to support people from across Oxford County to join us, transportation will be provided from Fryeburg and Mexico.  There will also be busses to transport people back to Norway after the rally.  For more information, visit WMARI’s website at www.wmari.org or contact me at [email protected] or 739-6222.

For more information about the rally, please contact [email protected].  We hope you will join us at this year’s rally to support those who are in recovery or are seeking recovery.  WMARI encourages anyone posting about the rally on social media to use #NEVERGIVEUP207 so that posts can be linked together and easily found.

Hollie Legee-Cressman is a Community Nutrition Educator for Healthy Oxford Hills, your local Healthy Communities Coalition and a project of Stephens Memorial Hospital. You can connect with her at 739-6222 or at [email protected]org. Like us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/HealthyOxfordHills

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