Recovery: A Philosophy of Hope and Resilience
By Meredith Hogan Pond
A person’s early days in recovery might be compared to a climber’s first steps up a great mountain. There’s a lot of work ahead. As time passes, healing occurs not only for the person in recovery but also for relatives, coworkers, business associates, and the community at large.
At its core, the philosophy of recovery embraces and encourages an individual’s capacity for change and personal transformation. But that change does not happen overnight. Challenges can and often do crop up every step of the way.
As part of its mission, SAMHSA supports the concept of recovery on multiple levels Agency-wide. The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), and the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) offer specific services and support to individuals and community organizations through discretionary grant programs, Web sites, policy resources, publications, data, and more.
This issue of SAMHSA News highlights CSAT’s recovery-related programs and recent white papers on research, case studies, and lessons learned. Future issues will focus on activities related to prevention and mental health.
Programmatic support for recovery takes many forms at CSAT—clinical services, peer-to-peer support, outreach materials and Recovery Month activities, and vouchers for faith-based treatment and recovery services. At the heart of each program is the nonjudgmental, holistic, overarching concept of recovery as a means to improve quality of life for individuals struggling with substance abuse and the disease of addiction.
“We’ve come to understand that recovery is a process, different for each person,” said H. Westley Clark, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., CSAT Director. “Seeking help for a substance abuse problem is just the beginning of the recovery process.”
Person-centered and community-oriented, recovery “exists on a continuum of improved health and wellness,” according to the Guiding Principles of Recovery, which were developed at the National Summit on Recovery in 2005.
With those principles in mind, CSAT’s goal is to support individuals as they make every effort to transform their lives.
“Focusing on recovery gives us a way to conceptualize services that meet people’s holistic needs in the context of their community,” said Dr. Clark. “Whatever path individuals choose to take for their recovery, they typically need an array of services, such as access to treatment, peer support, housing, jobs, and education. CSAT programs have a lot to offer.”
CSAT currently funds five major recovery-related programs, including the Recovery Community Services Program, Targeted Capacity Expansion/Local Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care, Access to Recovery, Partners for Recovery, and National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month.
In addition, CSAT runs a national helpline for treatment information and referrals for substance use disorders. That number is 1-800-662-HELP (1-800-662-4357).