Guiding Principles of Recovery

Recovery from alcohol and drug problems is a process of change through which an individual achieves abstinence and improved health, wellness and quality of life.

Guiding Principles

There are many pathways to recovery. Individuals are unique with specific needs, strengths, goals, health attitudes, behaviors and expectations for recovery. Recovery is a process of change that permits an individual to make healthy choices and improve the quality of his/her life.

Recovery is self-directed and empowering. The process of recovery leads individuals toward the highest level of autonomy of which they are capable. Through self-empowerment, individuals become optimistic about life goals.

Recovery involves a personal recognition of the need for change and transformation. The process of change can involve physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual aspects of the person’s life.

Recovery is holistic. Recovery is a process through which one gradually achieves greater balance of mind, body and spirit in relation to other aspects of one’s life, including family, work and community.

Recovery has cultural dimensions. Each person’s recovery process is unique and impacted by cultural beliefs and traditions.

Recovery exists on a continuum of improved health and wellness. Recovery is not a linear process. It is based on continual growth and improved functioning.

Recovery emerges from hope and gratitude. Individuals in or seeking recovery often gain hope from those who share their search for or experience of recovery. They see that people can and do overcome the obstacles that confront them and they cultivate gratitude for the opportunities that each day of recovery offers.

Recovery involves a process of healing and self-redefinition. Recovery is a holistic healing process in which one develops a positive and meaningful sense of identity.

Recovery involves addressing discrimination and transcending shame and stigma. Recovery is a process by which people confront and strive to overcome stigma.

Recovery is supported by peers and allies. A common denominator in the recovery process is the presence and involvement of people who contribute hope and support and suggest strategies and resources for change.

Recovery involves (re)joining and (re)building a life in the community. Recovery involves a process of building or rebuilding what a person has lost or never had due to his/her condition and its consequences.

Recovery is a reality. It can, will, and does happen.

Source: Natl. Summit on Recovery, Conference Report – SAMHSA – September 2005  Published at   

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