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The 10 principles of recovery

Register • Apr 25, 2014 at 11:14 PM

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has set forth 10 guiding “principles” when discussing the issue of recovery.

I thought it might help to review those principles they set forth so the idea of recovery can be better understood.

I will tackle each principle in this and upcoming blogs until all ten are discussed.

The definition of recovery that I proposed in the last blog was “recovery is a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life and strive to meet their full potential.” That is the desired outcome but how does one achieve that. Remember that recovery is a process so the recovery process is always in flux, just as life is. There will be days when all seems right and then there will be days when it may not seem so and the road traveled may feel uphill. So, a little help and insight might just be in order to help those recovering feel not all alone.

So, my first principle is “Hope” without it the recovering person cannot move forward. A better future is essential for everybody and especially a person who is recovering. That special ingredient called hope becomes the catalyst to foster the recovery process and without hope barriers, challenges and obstacles both external and internal seem insurmountable. With hope, though, everything and anything can become possible. It is of the utmost importance that the person seeking recovery believe that recovery is real. 

The next principle refers to the self-directed life that was mentioned in my definition in the first paragraph. Each individual has their own unique journey in recovery. What works for one may not work for another and might even curtail the recovery process. So a tailor made program will lay the foundation for a determined, self-directed “person driven” recovery. The second principle declares that recovery must be “person driven” in order to be successful. The individual optimizes their chances to recover when they themselves feel empowered in initiating informed decisions along with those who are assisting them to recover. The right resources, support systems and peers provide strength for the recovering person to gain or regain control of their life’s direction. Independence and autonomy are goals one should be striving for even if they can never be fully realized. The attempt is itself the marker for success. So, the second principle is “person driven”.

The third principle entails the idea that there are “many pathways” for recovery. Every person is unique. Every person’s recovery is constructed differently. Unique backgrounds, life styles, goals, strengths, weaknesses, culture, preferences, needs, wants, faith or lack of are just some of the many different facets that make a person exceptional. Each person seeking recovery will have varying degrees of talents, education, coping abilities and resources available to help them through the process of change. Recovery is non-linear and will have successes and setbacks but it is still characterized by continual growth and improved functioning. Abstinence is the gold standard for those seeking recovery from addictions. It is the final goal of abstinence that allows for a personal, spiritual and emotional metamorphosis to occur and without abstinence all is for naught. Setbacks to recovery may occur and are the norm rather than the exception but are not inevitable. So, with that in mind it may ease the process of change by knowing that the recovery journey is unique and that traveling the “many pathways” will help lead to the final goal of abstinence.

Sandusky Artisans Recovery Community Center continues to “Live in the Solution” and will be presenting the remaining principles of recovery in future blogs.

Come join us on the 17th of May at 9:30 a.m. at the Gazebo for the “Rally for Recovery”. We also want you to mark your calendar for the 13th of September of this year for the “First Annual Recovery Walk”. Together we will help stem the tide of addictions in the community by being part of the solution rather than the problem.

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