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New Ulm Medical Center

Recovery month is a time for celebration and awareness

For more than 25 years, New Ulm Medical Center (NUMC) has helped in the recovery of those struggling with substance-use disorders. And, with September being National Recovery Month, it's time to celebrate the hard work and milestones that come with tackling addiction.

The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration defines recovery as a "process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential." That’s why it’s important to promote the benefits of prevention, treatment and recovery, and celebrate people in recovery as well as treatment professionals.

James Johnson, Jr., manager of the Substance Abuse Program at NUMC and its satellite location in Mankato, said Recovery Month is a time to raise awareness throughout the community.

"A primary goal is to help minimize the stigma around substance-use disorders and to recognize addiction as a chronic health condition that affects millions of people across the country," Johnson said.

To celebrate Recovery Month, mayoral proclamations will be issued in New Ulm and Mankato, Johnson said. Also, NUMC will host a Recovery Month picnic on September 26 for alumni of its treatment programs and any community members who'd like to attend.

In addition, New Ulm is taking part in the Southern Minnesota Recovery's Got Talent Competition, which is modeled after "American Idol." Preliminary competitions took place in August and early September, leading to the finale on September 20 at Daybreak Community Church in Owatonna.

"Success in recovery can be defined in many different ways," Johnson said. "Recovery Month is a time to celebrate those accomplishments."

New Ulm's Substance Abuse Program treats patients ages 14 and older, offering both outpatient and residential services. Between the two locations, the program handles about 160 outpatient visits each week, Johnson said. Patients work with a team of professionals to overcome their addiction issues, including licensed alcohol and drug counselors, mental health practitioners, nurses and physicians.

The program and its staff also work closely with drug courts in Brown, Blue Earth and Watonwan counties. Drug courts divert eligible non-violent drug offenders into treatment rather than incarceration. The New Ulm program is intimately involved in determining the appropriate treatment course for drug court participants and receives many of the court's referrals.

Johnson said the program strives to be "holistic. We look at the whole person.” He explained that involves the medical aspects of health, spirituality and social involvement. "We've seen incredible transformations," he said.

For more information about the Substance Abuse Program at NUMC, call 507-217-5118. To learn more about Recovery's Got Talent, email eblackwell@smnrc.org or call 507-386-5728.