THE GUIDING PRINCIPLES OF RECOVERY
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“…a huge part of getting better does not come from doctors but, comes from peers… I am touched by how much peer workers save lives.” -Dialogue participant
- emerges from hope
- is person driven
- occurs via many pathways
- is holistic
- is supported by peers and allies and through relationships and social networks
- is culturally based and influenced
- is supported by addressing trauma
- involves individual, family, and community strengths
- is based on respect.
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. Hope is internalized and can be fostered by peers, families, providers, allies, and others. Hope is the catalyst of the recovery process.
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(s) towards those goals. Individuals optimize their autonomy and independence to the greatest extent possible by leading, controlling, and exercising choice over the services and supports that assist their recovery and resilience. In so doing, they are empowered and provided the resources to make informed decisions, initiate recovery, build on their strengths, and gain or regain control over their lives.
Recovery occurs via many pathways
Individuals are unique with distinct needs, strengths, preferences, goals, cultures, and backgrounds. Recovery is built on the multiple capacities, strengths, talents, coping abilities, resources, and inherent value of each individual. Recovery pathways are highly personalized, they may include professional clinical treatment; use of medications; support from families and in schools; recovery is non-linear, characterized by continual growth and improved functioning that may involve setbacks Because setbacks are a natural, though not inevitable, part of the recovery process, it is essential to foster resilience for all individuals and families.
“It is important to embrace all pathways to recovery.” -Dialogue participant
Recovery is holistic
Recovery encompasses an individual’s whole life, including mind, body, spirit, and community. This includes addressing: self-care practices, family, housing, employment, education, clinical treatment for mental disorders and substance use disorders, services and supports, primary healthcare, dental care, complementary and alternative services, faith, spirituality, creativity, social networks, transportation, and community participation. The array of services and supports available should be integrated and coordinated.
Recovery is supported through relationships and social networks
An important factor in the recovery process is the presence and involvement of people who offer hope, support, and encouragement; and who also suggest strategies and resources for change. Family members, peers, providers, faith groups, community members, and other allies form vital support networks. Through these relationships, people leave unhealthy and/or unfulfilling life roles behind and engage in new roles (e.g., partner, caregiver, friend, student, employee) that lead to a greater sense of belonging, personhood, empowerment, autonomy, social inclusion, and community participation.
Recovery is culturally-based and influenced
Culture and cultural background is an essential element in developing a successful pathway to recovery. Services should be culturally grounded, attuned, sensitive, congruent, and competent, and personalized to meet each individual’s unique needs.
Recovery is supported by addressing trauma: The experience of trauma (such as physical or sexual abuse, domestic violence, war, disaster, and others) is often a precursor to or associated with alcohol and drug use, mental health problems, and related issues. Services and supports should be trauma-informed to foster safety (physical and emotional) and trust, as well as promote choice, empowerment, and collaboration.
I gained insight to understand that my problem was unresolved trauma
and that that existed before I started using drugs. -Dialogue participant
Recovery involves individual, family, and community strengths and responsibility
Individuals, families, and communities have strengths and resources that serve as a foundation for recovery. In addition, individuals have a personal responsibility for their own self-care and journeys of recovery. Individuals should be supported in speaking for themselves. Communities have responsibilities to provide opportunities and resources to address discrimination and to foster social inclusion and recovery. Individuals in recovery also have a social responsibility and should have the ability to join with peers to speak collectively about their strengths, needs, wants, desires, and aspirations.
“…a huge part of getting better does not come from doctors but, comes from peers…
I am touched by how much peer workers save lives.” -Dialogue participant
Recovery is based on respect
Community, systems, and societal acceptance and appreciation for people affected by substance use problems – including protecting their rights and eliminating discrimination – are crucial in achieving recovery. There is a need to acknowledge that taking steps towards recovery may require great courage. Self-acceptance, developing a positive and meaningful sense of identity, and regaining belief in one’s self are particularly important.
“Public truth telling is a form of recovery, especially when combined with social action. Sharing traumatic experiences with others enables victims to reconstruct repressed memory, mourn loss, and master helplessness, which is trauma’s essential insult. And, by facilitating reconnection to ordinary life, the public testimony helps survivors restore basic trust in a just world and overcome feelings of isolation. But the talking cure is predicated on the existence of a community willing to bear witness. ‘Recovery can take place only within the context of relationships,’ writes Judith Herman. ‘It cannot occur in isolation.”