Final principles of recovery

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Jul 11, 2014

In past blogs I have presented eight of the principles of recovery and now we are at the final remaining two principles that the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services of America (SAMSHA) have listed for their ten core principles for recovery.

These ten principles represent an overview of current thought but as with any human endeavor the principles will be added to and changed as future situations and problems warrant. The ability to remain open minded in regards to such complex problems that substance abuse and mental illness presents are essential for a true recovery to occur. Individuals who have found solace in recovery will most probably believe that their path is the best way. Yet, because of the diversity of life there may be alternative avenues that will need to be explored to answer these complex problems that substance abuse and mental health issues presents. It also remains that total abstinence is the “gold standard” for substance abuse problems. The old adage of “one is too many and a thousand is not enough” is brought to mind as I write these words. So let’s begin.

A critical and essential component for recovery is the ninth principle respect. Mental health and substance abuse issues have been in the past viewed with discrimination, stigma and disdain. Society and the medical profession today are in the process of looking at these issues differently. Substance abuse and mental health issues are a complicated bio chemical problem seated within the brain fueled by nature and nurture challenges that affect a certain percentage of our population. Regaining a belief in oneself fosters an inner self-respect that is essential for a sense of identity, helps develop coping strategies and aspires the individual to return to family and community with a new found relationship of strength, hope and courage. Therefore respect by others and self-respect must be key ingredients for those seeking the serenity that recovery will bring. The courage that is displayed by those in recovery is to be admired and applauded. Therefore, respect is a key component to the recovery process. 

Finally, I have saved Peer Support for the last principle to be discussed because it is one of the most critical aspects to recovery. Since the inception of the twelve step programs it became apparent that those persons who had found a way out of their respective mental health or substance abuse problem could be highly valuable in helping those who were still battling theirs. According to the statistics cited in the recent documentary film “The Anonymous People” there are over 250 different groups using the word Anonymous in their name. These various groups realized the inherent value of the wisdom of their members who had and are successfully combating their respective issues with substance abuse or mental illnesses. The peer support individual’s experiential knowledge, skills and social learning play an invaluable piece to the newly recovering person’s ability to be successful in their journey to recovery. The State of Ohio through the auspices of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services realized this inherent value and has implemented a certification program. This certification program includes an integrated curriculum for mental health, substance abuse and a certification exam. The Ohio Certified Peer Supporter is to be a self-indentified individual in recovery from mental illness, substance abuse or both. Sandusky Artisans Recovery Community Center is an established training center for this certification program. 

As more is being revealed about mental health and substance abuse problems the more we are, as a society, understanding the complexities involved in the recovery process. These ten principles that I have described are guideposts to what can be.  They are learning tools for those whose compassion, dedication and perseverance will help lead us to a better understanding about mental health and substance abuse problems. Sandusky Artisans Recovery Community Center remains committed to “Living in the Solution” and not the problem. So, come and join us in helping those who will need our help.