09/09/2014 06:37 pm ET Updated Nov 09, 2014

Celebrating National Recovery Month

For the past 25 years, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the U.S. Department of Health have both planned and sponsored National Recovery Month in September.

During this month, the country is encouraged to hold a nationwide observance of addiction recovery, as well as obtain more education about addiction and recovery as a whole. National Recovery Month focuses on championing prevention and treatment, and showing the country that recovery is possible and attainable.

What first started in 1989 as TreatmentWorks! Month, National Recovery Month has come so far in terms of how many people it reaches, how much it educates the public, and how negative stigma has been drastically reduced. With a number of resources, including hundreds of ways to get involved in your local community, National Recovery Month is certainly something to celebrate.

On a personal note, this month really helps me to reflect on my own personal journey. In July, I celebrated four years of sobriety and am grateful for that amazing gift of recovery. I look at National Recovery Month and feel proud of my accomplishments in my own recovery. I also view this month as a celebration of reducing negative stigma, as doing so has helped so many people get help and find peace in their sobriety.

As a whole, it's so inspiring to see that the addiction and recovery community is going in the right direction through the use of events such as National Recovery Month. I know in my community here in Orange County, hundreds of people are observing this month, as there have been dozens of speakers, walks, and other events to promote recovery. Next year, I will be hosting my own local event to raise awareness for National Recovery Month. All proceeds of the event will go to non-profits and addiction research, and I am excited to bring something new and groundbreaking to my community. Doing this is incredibly important to me, as I look up to and am grateful for all the people who are already participating, and I cannot wait to join them!

To me, the best part about National Recovery Month is that everyone in every corner of the country can participate -- and is welcomed to do so! Just by visiting the National Recovery Month website, you can find local events in your community to attend, as well as read articles about addiction and recovery. You can also add widgets to your own website to help promote National Recovery Month. The more people involved, the better!

Need help with substance abuse or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.