The 10 principles of recovery

Apr 25, 2014


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.



What happened to Dr. Bob and Bill? The Big Book? One Day At A Time? Who cares what some administration says? Oh wait, I get it! Follow the money!


AA doesn't like to be put in the media it's still here and still working. The more programs there are to teach people about addiction the better. The more tools available the more success there will be. Everyone has a slightly different recovery program. What works for him might not work for her. The idea is that if you're an addict like me you'll need others like yourself to in order to find recovery. Once someone enters any program of recovery hopefully they find what will work for them. I tried a lot of ways. AA is what worked for me and works on most all addiction issues. I'm a recovering heroine addict I have one year this weekend. 5A's (ALL ALCOHOLICS AND ADDICTS ANONYMOUS) 1 pm Saturdays at the Salvation Army 3333 Columbus Ave. Come met us! We may have what you're looking for!


Best wishes to you and your continued sobriety.


I don't know of anyone that willingly goes to the "program". Sounds to me like 12 steps are being promoted. The big book says attraction not promotion and aa is being promoted here. I don't know of one person that goes to aa because their ""attracted"" to it. Most are ordered by the courts. Living in meetings and giving credit to some 12 steps for a decision you made to turn your life around doesn't sound like to much living. If it was your decision to stop p***ing your life away then how can you give credit to aa? Does your sponsor allow you to have a job? Are you living, eating, and breathing the aa way? That's not living. Instead of addiction to heroin you now have a new addiction just as draining.Sorry aa doesn't work.


AA taught me a new way if life, one I never would have found without the people in it and the 12 steps. It cleansed me. I'm sorry it didn't work for you but it does for many. I'm happier and more at peace because of it. It took a long time and many hardships to become the addict I was it also took a long time and many hardships to break the chains of heroin. Hard work and consistency will bring anyone many joys!

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I am very happy to be across the street from this place and service. Not only are they great neighbors, but it is good to have such an outreach and recovery center nearby. I have learned great things there and have never felt threatened by having those in recovery (perhaps under a stereotype of being a nothing-to-lose miscreant) close to the store.


As a member of A 12 STEP GROUP while attending a meeting recently a forty year old man commented that he had been to 3 meetings and the program wasn't working.Not wanting to alienate the young man I told him that the program wasn't supposed to work for him.That he was supposed to work for the program.His reply was "huh?"