September is National Recovery Month and one Mississippi woman is taking her message to as many people as possible.
Forty-seven year old Monica Walters says she's living the life she always wanted. But it hasn't been easy. Walters has a bi-polar disorder. There's been times when she didn't take her medicine and she says she's been hospitalized. Walters says she tried to use alcohol to numb the manic spells but she doesn't tolerate alcohol well. Plus she says saw a lot at home.
"I've been able to stay away from hard substances because my parents were drug addicts at one time and I saw the repercussions.
Despite Walters' mental health challenges, she says she's graduated from Mississippi College with a degree in biology. Now, she's a peer support specialist with the state department of mental health. Walters is part of a team of mental health experts who provide services to people with disorders in communities.
"Telling them that I have to take medicine too, just like they do and being a role model they see me working. They see me doing activities and living my life. They want that too," said Walters.
Trost Friedler is with Harbor House Chemical Dependency Services in Byram. He says many people they treat for substance abuse also have mental health disorders. He stresses drug addiction is a disease. He says the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration designated September National Recovery Month to draw attention to these disorders.
"The idea is to increase awareness and understanding of mental health and substance use disorder and to celebrate the people in recovery," said Friedler.
A celebration that provides hope and encouragement to those who want to live out their dreams.