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Borough recognizes September as Recovery Month

Kachemak Bay Recovery Connection President Jaclyn Rainwater (middle) receives proclamation from Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Peter Micciche (right)
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Kachemak Bay Recovery Connection President Jaclyn Rainwater (middle) receives proclamation from Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Peter Micciche (right)

NationalRecovery Month is a nationwide observance held every September to promote and support substance use recovery practices, the recovery community and their families, and service providers who make recovery possible. It celebrates the gains made by those who are in recovery, and reinforces the message that people can and do recover from substance use and addiction.

Last week, the Kenai Peninsula Borough adopted the observance on the peninsula, proclaiming that drug and alcohol addiction are “a public health issue of concern to all Alaskans.” The proclamation is intended to recognize those in recovery and dispel the myths and stigma surrounding substance use disorders.

“A lot of people are often scared to say they are struggling with addiction,” said Jaclyn Rainwater, President of the Kachemak Bay Recovery Connection. The organization was instrumental in bringing the proclamation to fruition.

“When we’re not ashamed to say ‘I’m struggling with this and I need help,’ we have community support,” she said. “To see the mayor and people on the city council who are saying ‘yes, we believe in your journey, yes, we want to be a part of the solution and not the problem,’ it kind of ends that stigma that comes with the shame of addiction.”

“Many of us know the parent, or the aunt, or the uncle, or the cousin of someone who did not survive to the point of enjoying the benefits of recovery,” said Peter Micciche, Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor. “I think the importance of recognizing those that have arrived at that realization and are going through the effort one day at a time, is that we do recognize and support them.”

While the proclamation calls for support and compassion for those struggling with substance use disorders on the peninsula, it also recognizes the importance of guiding those in need to local recovery and treatment options. The region is home to several recovery centers, as well as 12 step programs..

The Kachemak Bay Recovery Connection was formed last year to support individuals and families in recovery by creating connections and building community. Rainwater says the organization hosts social events and activities that are drug and alcohol free.

“When you enter recovery, it’s something to be proud of,” she said. “One of the council members said ‘let us know how we can help you in promoting recovery.’ That feels like you’ve got a team behind you, that you don’t have to do it alone.”

Following the tagline “Every Person, Every Family, Every Community,” National Recovery Month emphasizes the importance of knowing that recovery is possible for everyone. Advocates say it serves as a reminder that nobody is alone in the struggle against substance use.

“It’s about compassion, it’s about understanding the struggle, and it’s about an open, honest, and supportive dialogue about the effects of substance abuse in our communities and supporting those programs to ensure that a greater proportion of those individuals suffering from substance abuse can ultimately recover and reach their full potential,” Micciche said.

“It’s really great that recovery is being talked about, just because for so long, there was so much shame involved with addiction,” said Rainwater. “When we’re able to keep the conversation open and talk about what we’re struggling with, then it takes away that power behind it and we’re able to ask for help, we’re able to say what we need.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website, which has treatment options and resources for coping with substance use and addiction.

Hunter Morrison is a news reporter at KDLL
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