Recovery is defined as “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential.” (United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

The dimensions of recovery include:

  1. Health—overcoming or managing one’s disease(s) or symptoms (for example, abstaining from use of alcohol, illicit drugs, and non-prescribed medications if one has an addiction problem) and for everyone in recovery, making informed, healthy choices that support physical and emotional well-being;
  2. Home–having a stable and safe place to live;
  3. Purpose—conducting 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
  4. Community—having relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope.

SAMHSA has identified the following Guiding Principles of Recovery:

  • There are many pathways to recovery.
  • Recovery is self-directed and empowering.
  • Recovery involves a personal recognition of the need for change and transformation.
  • Recovery is holistic.
  • Recovery has cultural dimensions.
  • Recovery exists on a continuum of improved health and wellness.
  • Recovery is supported by peers and allies.
  • Recovery emerges from hope and gratitude.
  • Recovery involves a process of healing and self-redefinition.
  • Recovery involves addressing discrimination and transcending shame and stigma.
  • Recovery involves (re)joining and (re)building a life in the community.
  • Recovery is a reality. It can, will, and does happen.