Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced a working definition of recovery:
“Recovery is a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”
Whether you are on a path of recovery from the complexities of addiction or trauma, or simply from a tough spot or transition in life, the following principles are a guide to the healing process:
- Recovery emerges from hope. The belief that recovery is real provides the essential and motivating message of a better future– that people can and do overcome the internal and external challenges, barriers, and obstacles that confront them.
- Recovery is person-driven. Self-determination and self-direction are the foundations for recovery as individuals define their own life goals and design their unique path.
- Recovery occurs via many pathways. Individuals are unique with distinct needs, strengths, preferences, goals, cultures, backgrounds including trauma experiences, that effect and determine their pathway to recovery.
- Recovery is holistic. Recovery encompasses an individual’s whole life, including mind, body, spirit, and community.
- Recovery is supported by peers and allies. Mutual support and mutual aid groups, including the sharing of experiential knowledge and skills, as well as social learning, play an invaluable role in recovery.
- Recovery is supported through relationship and social networks. An important factor in the recovery process is the presence and involvement of people who believe in the person’s ability to recover; who offer hope, support, and encouragement; and who also suggest strategies and resources for change.
- Recovery is culturally-based and influenced. Culture and cultural background in all of its diverse representations including values, traditions, and beliefs are keys in determining a person’s journey and unique pathway to recovery.
- Recovery is supported by addressing trauma. Services and supports should be trauma-informed to foster safety (physical and emotional) and trust, as well as promote choice, empowerment, and collaboration.
- Recovery involves individual, family, and community strengths and responsibility. Individuals, families, and communities have strengths and resources that serve as a foundation for recovery.
- Recovery is based on respect. Community, systems, and societal acceptance and appreciation for people affected by mental health and substance use problems are crucial in achieving recovery.