In the past two articles I have given the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration’s definition of recovery but I thought I would see what Merriam-Webster dictionary’s definition might employ as well. For the purposes of this blog I will apply a part of their definition that is applicable. Merriam-Webster dictionary states in part that “recovery is: the act or process of becoming healthy after an illness or injury: the act or process of recovering: the act or process of returning to a normal state after a period of difficulty”. It is useful and practical to garner as many descriptions as possible in helping to continue this conversation about recovery.
The last blog contained the first three principals of recovery that I purposed. The next principal I wish to discuss involves employing a holistic approach. Substance abuse addictions have a chronic aspect indicating that the problem is life long. A holistic approach is therefore necessary in insuring total abstinence. As long as the person suffering from an addiction remains abstinent the symptoms are alleviated. The recovery process will encompass the person’s entire life including body, mind, spirit and every interaction the person has with family, friends and community. One cannot totally recover in isolation. It may be briefly necessary to harbor the individual for a period of time in treatment but the recovery process will last a lifetime and will eventually occur outside of treatment. Recovery may begin in treatment but recovery will inevitably be in community.
That is why the holistic principle is so very important. Every facet of the recovering person’s life will need to be addressed to foster and insure recovery. Supportive holistic systems may include family, physical and mental heath care, housing, social networks, community involvement, faith/spirituality and learned self-care practices. These holistic supports may include various self-help 12 step programs, employment, transportation, counseling, educational opportunities, creative outlets and all other complimentary and alternative services. In treating substance abuse all recovery options should and must be explored.
The next principle speaks of the impact that trauma has on a person’s ability to experience recovery. Trauma can be an often under-reported explanation why a person is experiencing difficulty in securing a pathway to a full recovery from substance abuse. The causes for trauma are many and they may include the following reasons: physical or sexual abuse, domestic violence, disasters, war and incarceration. These examples describing trauma are but just a few that can occur to inhibit and frustrate the recovery process. These traumatic illustrations that I have mentioned here are not the full and complete representation of all the potential problems a person can encounter that will stunt the growth of a fully realized recovery but they often surface more often than other causes. Trauma is often associated with and a precursor to problems with alcohol, drug abuse, mental health problems and other connected challenges for recovery. Trust, confidence and surety that recovery is real and can happen in a safe, nurturing, and secure environment that will cultivate, champion and advance a long lasting recovery is essential. So, services and supports that include a trauma informed program, plan and agenda enhance the possibilities of a positive outcome. One should not expect that all who seek recovery find it. The probability of a negative outcome will only increase if a total effort is not established. Therefore every approach, option and contingency must and should be explored.
Sandusky Artisans Recovery Community Center continues to advocate for “Living in the Solution” rather than the problem. So, help be a part of the Recovery Movement by joining us on May 17th at the Gazebo in downtown Sandusky for the “Rally for Recovery”. We also want you to mark your calendar for the 13th of September for Sandusky’s very first “Annual Recovery Walk”.
Don’t forget that September is Recovery Month. Sandusky Artisans Recovery Community Center will keep you informed of upcoming events such as “The Rally for Recovery” at the State Capitol in September and the 5th Annual Opiate Conference” in Columbus, Ohio in July.