At Arrow Health Tomorrow Starts Today

Recovery is defined as:

A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life and strive to reach their full potential. (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: SAMHSA)

Beyond abstinence, recovery is an ongoing process of learning, growing, and healing—mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. The above definition captures the essential, common experiences of the recovery process.

SAMHSA has identified the following, as the guiding principles of recovery. They highlight the many facets of the recovery process.

  • 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.

  • 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).

  • Recovery occurs via many pathways: Individuals are unique with distinct needs, strengths, preferences, goals, culture, and backgrounds including trauma experiences that affect and determine their pathway(s) to recovery. Abstinence is the safest approach for those with substance use disorders.

  • Recovery is holistic: Recovery encompasses an individual’s whole life, including mind, body, spirit, and community. The array of services and supports available should be integrated and coordinated.

  • Recovery is supported by peers and allies:Mutual support and mutual aid groups, including the sharing of experiential knowledge and skills, as well as social learning, play an invaluable role in recovery.

  • Recovery is supported through relationship and social networks: An important factor in the recovery process is the presence and involvement of people who believe in the person’s ability to recover; who offer hope, support, and encouragement; and who also suggest strategies and resources for change.

  • Recovery is culturally-based and influenced: Culture and cultural background in all of its diverse representations  including values, traditions, and beliefs are keys in determining a person’s journey and unique pathway to recovery.

  • Recovery is supported by addressing trauma: Services and supports should be trauma-informed to foster safety (physical and emotional) and trust, as well as promote choice, empowerment, and collaboration.

  • Recovery involves individual, family, and community strengths and responsibility: Individuals, families, and communities have strengths and resources that serve as a foundation for recovery.

  • Recovery is based on respect: Community, systems, and societal acceptance and appreciation for people affected by mental health and substance use problems – including protecting their rights and eliminating discrimination – are crucial in achieving recovery.