When in recovery from addiction or mental health issues -- or both -- telling one's story is an essential part of the healing process.
That's the message the Fairfield County ADAMH Board is imparting in September, otherwise known as National Recovery Month, as part of a nationwide campaign to "Join the Voices of Recovery."
Throughout the country, communities are galvanizing efforts this month to spread awareness that prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover.
In celebration of National Recovery Month, Fairfield County ADAMH is sponsoring a workshop, "Learn to Tell Your Story," Sept. 19 by noted speaker and author Dave Sky.
The free event will be held at the Crossroads Event Center, 2095 W. Fair Ave. in Lancaster from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and includes a complementary lunch at noon.
Those interested in attending the recovery summit are asked to RSVP by Sept. 12 by registering on the website fairfieldadamh.org
Jamie Cook, public relations assistant at Fairfield County ADAMH, said Sky offers his expertise in helping individuals give voice to their experiences.
Sky is also the author of See the Forest, Hear the Trees: The Art of Storylistening and Sky Stories: A Storybook for Grownups.
"David's a unique kind of guy," Cook said.
"This year, we wanted to do something that would apply to people in recovery from either addiction or mental health issues or for their family members or caregivers," she said.
"(Sky) will teach people some basic storytelling techniques."
For people in recovery, telling a story can be a liberating, powerful and productive exercise, Cook said.
"I know that being able to work through your story and being able to tell it has very therapeutic properties," she said.
Storytelling also serves to "de-stigmatize" the underlying issues and can open doors to getting help, Cook said.
"Unfortunately, there still is a stigma about addiction or having mental health issues," she said. "We don't want to create a barrier to a person's access to care.
"We don't have enough positive ways of talking about (addiction or mental health issues) in our culture," Cook said.
Also in September, Fairfield County ADAMH will team up with the Fairfield County Mental Health Consumers Group for a "Partners in Recovery" open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 24 at 1663 E. Main St. in Lancaster.
"It will kind of be a recovery fair where people can learn about what services are available in our area," Cook said.
She said the Mental Health Consumers Group "does a wonderful job. It's run by consumers for consumers for people experiencing mental health issues."
For more information about both National Recovery Month events, go to the Fairfield County ADAMH website or call 740-654-0829.