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ADPH recognizes National Recovery Month

he Alabama Department of Mental Health (ADMH) recognizes September as National Recovery Month, a national observance held to educate individuals and families that substance use treatment and mental health services are available, assist with recovery and help to promote healthy and rewarding lifestyles. This year’s theme, “Recovery is for Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community.”

During this month, ADMH celebrates individuals in recovery and recognizes the dedicated professionals who provide the prevention, treatment, and recovery support services.

The ADMH welcomes everyone to recovery by decreasing barriers to recovery support, creating inclusive spaces and programs, and broadening the understanding of what recovery means for people with different experiences. Recovery Month works to inspire people across the country to transform the “I” into “we” and build bridges between families, communities, and groups. Mental health and substance use disorder are not one-size-fit all conditions, nor do they affect everyone equally.

Recovery Month celebrates the gains made by those living in recovery, like Aubin Cawthon, a R.O.S.S. Outreach Specialist in Madison County!

“My name is Aubin Cawthon, and I am a person in long term recovery. For me that means I have not found it necessary to use substances since September 2016. For seventeen years I struggled in active use. The first time I used I was 13 years old, and by 16, I found myself in treatment for the first time. In three short years it was clear that I reacted differently to substances. My dad found me passed out on the porch with bruises and a black eye, and once again I couldn’t remember what had happened. I have been to treatment six times and once to an inpatient mental health facility.

I have been misdiagnosed and overmedicated. I have struggled with self-harm, contemplated suicide, and made several attempts. In September 2016, after many failed attempts at complete abstinence, I decided to try Medicated Assisted Treatment (MAT). Once I began MAT, I worked on finding support to help me walk through recovery. I connected with people in a twelve-step program and started meeting supportive people around my community.

Over the course of that first year, and with the help of my newfound support system, I decided to try complete abstinence again. In November 2017, I finished my MAT program and began my journey with complete abstinence. In the past four years I have worked on my mental, emotional, and physical self. As a result of that work, I have become a productive member of the community.

In my personal life I have built healthy friendships with amazing people, and maintained a healthy relationship, I’ve learned how to be a responsible adult with integrity. In addition, I’ve bought a home, and participated in the growth of my community and I’ve even had the opportunity to travel and see new places. I get to be a supportive and loving person instead of a destructive and angry one. In my professional life, I have learned a strong work ethic and had the opportunity to work with many community-based organizations assisting the underserved members of the community.

In December 2020, I received my Recovery Support Specialist certification and began
working with R.O.S.S. Over the last nine months I have worked closely with members in the community struggling with substance use disorders and broadened the scope of outreach in the community. Recovery, for me, looks like the ability to walk with my head held high and my voice be heard. I spent too many years not knowing who I was or where I fit into this world and recovery has given me the opportunity to find my place in life and live it to its fullest.”

Now in its 32nd year, Recovery Month celebrates the gains made by those in recovery. reminds people in recovery and those who support them, that recovery belongs to all of us. While every journey may look different, we are all in this together.