September is National Recovery Month, an observance held annually in the United States during the month of September to raise awareness and celebrate the successes of individuals who have overcome substance use disorders. It also promotes the understanding and acceptance of addiction as a treatable disease.
To observe the month locally, as well as support and encourage those who have battled, or are battling addictions, a Walk for Recovery was held Saturday morning, Sept. 30, at the DeSoto County Veterans Park near the Landers Center.
Vertava Health daily works with people who are dealing with substance abuse. North Mississippi account executive Stacy Dodd said it was important to hold the walk at the Veterans Park as part of the National Recovery Month observance.
“We wanted to honor all of our veterans that come through our program and veterans across the country,” Dodd said. “We have veterans in our care on a daily basis and their lives are being impacted by our program. We stick with our patients for life in our alumni program.”
Dodd said the walkers Saturday were primarily current patients who are able to go for an outing each week, as well as program alumni, through either Vertava’s outpatient program or are graduates.
“Once any patient is admitted to Vertava, they are part of our alumni program forever,” Dodd said. “We believe in them and we are here to support them.”
Those who took part received some encouragement and inspiration ahead of the walk from DeSoto County Sheriff-elect Thomas Tuggle and podcaster/inspirational speaker Chris “Coach” Camp.
In a 30-year law enforcement career, Tuggle said he has done 15 years of interventions with the philosophy that you can’t arrest people out of addictions.
“It’s going to take prayer, it’s going to take dedication, commitment, but, most importantly, it’s going to take believing in people,” Tuggle said. “You don’t care about the criticism of the decisions that you made but what you did focus on is courage. It brings tears to my eyes to see people like you that have started this journey, but most importantly, you did not quit. You kept going, and now you’re here.”
Camp also encouraged those at the walk to remember the fight is not done alone.
“Whenever we understand that we are not in this by ourselves, suddenly you start to find hope,” Camp said. “Whenever you fall down you know there’s going to be somebody there to pick you back up. That is what we have to do together and we can’t do it by ourselves.”
National Recovery Month was first established in 1989 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It was created to commemorate the achievements of those in recovery and to encourage individuals with substance use disorders to seek treatment. issues. It also provides an opportunity to showcase the effectiveness of evidence-based treatment and recovery support services.