Stanton Peele writes refreshingly once again in Psychology Today this month, about a remarkable development from SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), in the States. This agency is charged with “formulating drug and alcohol abuse treatment policy, [and] after surveying the leading specialists in the mainstream of the field, has created “Recovery Defined– A Unified Working Definition and Set of Principles.”" Peele goes on to enjoy the fact that SAMHSA actually ends up at his view of recovery — not AA’s and the 12 Steppers– 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.”
Quoting the article “The definition [of recovery] is the product of a year-long effort by SAMHSA and a wide range of partners in the behavioral health care community and other fields to develop a working definition of recovery that captures the essential, common experiences of those recovering from mental disorders and substance use disorders, along with major guiding principles that support the recovery definition”
Please do click the link at the bottom of this blogs section to find the article in its entirety, but just to summarise things here -and I have to add, I feel this is a very well good definition of recovery and alludes to what many of us have been saying for a long time. That it benefits to shift the focus off drug use per say and embrace the fact that it is about positive, meaningful change, wherever that may take you and whatever that may look like.
But back to the SAHMSA definition – Here is the resulting formulation:
Working Definition of Recovery
Recovery is a process of change whereby individuals work to improve their own health and wellness and to live a meaningful life in a community of their choice while striving to achieve their full potential.
Principles of Recovery
Occurs via many pathways;
Is supported by peers;
Is supported through relationships;
Is culturally-based and influenced;
Is supported by addressing trauma;
Involves individual, family, and community strengths and responsibility;
Is based on respect; and
Emerges from hope.
Furthermore SAMHSA’s Recovery Support Initiative identifies four major domains that support recovery:
Health: overcoming or managing one’s disease(s) as well as living in a physically and emotionally healthy way;
Home: a stable and safe place to live that supports recovery;
Purpose: meaningful daily activities, such as a job, school, volunteerism, family caretaking, or creative endeavors, and the independence, income and resources to participate in society; and
Community: relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope.
Click below for the rest of the article and hear more from Stanton’s engaging summary.