Find sobriety in Federal Way: September is National Recovery Month

Seven days a week, there is help in Federal Way for people seeking sobriety.

September is National Recovery Month for substance abuse and mental illness. Federal Way resident Pat Godfrey, vice chairman of the King County Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Administrative Board, accepted a similar proclamation by the city council.

"One person can achieve recovery, but not alone," Godfrey told the council Sept. 6. "Recovery from substance abuse and mental illness is a never-ending process, not a destination."

Substance abuse can refer to drinking and drugs as well as smoking. Nine out of 10 people with substance abuse problems started using as teenagers, Godfrey said, and children of alcoholics have a 50 percent chance of developing their own dependence. However, one of the fastest growing segments of abuse involves prescription medications for people over age 55.

A number of 12-step and support programs exist in Federal Way and King County. This month's proclamation in Federal Way was intended to raise awareness of substance abuse and recovery.

"It might not be very visible in Federal Way, but recovery from substance abuse is very strong here," said Godfrey, who voluntarily and regularly connects residents with resources that lead to sober living. "I want to call the council's attention to the necessity of raising our level of consciousness about teen substance abuse… In a budget crisis like this, a lot of our attention goes elsewhere."

Godfrey's outreach is inspired by his own 30 years of sobriety. He grew up in an alcoholic family and adopted behaviors that led to his addiction. After hitting an emotional bottom, he recognized the problem and entered a 12-step recovery program — an action that has "taken a family broken by alcoholism and healed it," he said.

"I had a number of problems over the years and never really saw alcohol as the source of the problem," said Godfrey, also noting the 24-year sobriety of his grown daughter. "We have a far better chance of our grandchildren staying clean and sober because their parents are staying sober."

Make that call

The following local resources can offer assistance with recovery from substance abuse:

• Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS): or (877) 501-2233.

• Alcoholics Anonymous: or (206) 587-2838.

• Narcotics Anonymous, South King County: or (253) 872-3494.

• Cocaine Anonymous: or (425) 244-1150.

• In 2009, 4.3 million Americans were treated for substance abuse and 30.2 million received treatment for mental illness, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. To learn more, visit

• King County Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Administrative Board recommends policies and programs to King County that will ensure the availability and accessibility of alcohol and substance abuse services, including prevention, intervention, treatment and rehabilitation. The 15-member board has diverse membership, including people in recovery. Click here to learn more.


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