HARRISBURG, Pa. (ErieNewsNow) - National Recovery Month is officially underway in Pennsylvania after a kickoff event at the State Capitol.  

The annual recognition throughout September highlights the progress made in the lives of those living in recovery. It also shows that everyday people can and do recover from substance use disorder. 

“I was sitting in my cell, had lost everything- home, house, car, family, children, everything was gone. I've witnessed degradation. I've witnessed homelessness. I've witnessed what it feels like to be on the streets. And if I can be healed and delivered, you can too,” said Pastor Reggie Hunter, Founder of Recovery House of Worship in York, Pa. “I never knew that if drugs were my answer, what was my question? I didn't understand that there was something else deeper that needed to be addressed,” he added. 

Pastor Reggie has been in recovery for 32 years. As a certified recovery specialist, he’s now sharing his message and providing hope to others.  

“You can regain your life; you can regain your dignity. You can regain the very things that the drugs have taken away from you,” said Pastor Reggie. 

But Pastor Reggie's words of wisdom were not the only sounds echoing throughout the capitol dome this week.

“As long as there is breath in my lungs, there is hope. I truly live by that motto,” said Chas Smith, who shares his road to recovery through rap music. Smith, who’s been clean for eight years, hopes his versus about past experiences resonate with individuals who are currently experiencing addiction. 

The 2023 National Recovery Month theme is “Recovery Is for Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community.” Those who are living proof agree. 

“Anybody can turn their life around. Anybody can become an example of hope. Because what we understand is this, that not once an addict, always an addict anymore,” said Pastor Reggie. 

The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) and Governor Shapiro also highlighted resources available to those who are struggling. They say everybody can help play of role by ending stigma. 

“At the crux of our efforts is eliminating stigma and clearing a path for someone to take that first step on their road to recovery, and to remind them that no one is alone on that journey,” said DDAP Secretary Dr. Latika Davis-Jones. 

"My Administration is taking a multidisciplinary approach to the overdose and opioid crisis, one that embraces support for recovery and treatment services – across all our agencies and offices here in the Commonwealth. Because we all know that addiction is a disease, not a crime - and that we cannot simply arrest our way out of this crisis. I will continue to stand with all Pennsylvanians, during Recovery Month and long after,” said Gov. Shapiro. 

You can find additional recovery resources here, or by calling the state’s Get Help Now Line: 1-800-662-HELP (4357).