“For me, recovery is about creating a better life for myself and for my family and ultimately for my community. Because when I’m better, they’re all better.” – Tom C.
Recovery is Possible.
The Chance to Change Your Life
Your addiction has given you the opportunity to change your life. Changing your life is what makes recovery both difficult and rewarding. Recovery is difficult because you have to change your life, and all change is difficult, even good change. Recovery is rewarding because you get the chance to change your life. Most people sleepwalk through life. They don’t think about who they are or what they want to be, and then one day they wake up and wonder why they aren’t happy.
If you use this opportunity for change, you’ll look back and think of your addiction as one of the best things that ever happened to you. People in recovery often describe themselves as grateful addicts. Why would someone be grateful to have an addiction? Because their addiction helped them find an inner peace and tranquility that most people crave. Recovery can help you change your life.
Recovery from addiction to alcohol or drugs benefits everyone – families, friends, neighbors, and the person who gets into recovery. It is a reality for thousands of New Mexicans of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, and economic and social classes. We must accord dignity to people with addiction and recognize that there is no one path to recovery.
Recovery is a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.
GUIDING PRINCIPLES OF RECOVERY
- There are many pathways to recovery
- Recovery is self-directed and empowering
- Recovery involves a personal recognition of the need to change and transformation
- Recovery is holistic
- Recovery has cultural dimensions
- Recovery exists on a continuum of improved health and wellness
- 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 is supported by peers and allies
- Recovery involves (re) (re)joining and (re)building a life in the community
- Recovery is a reality
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. Hope is internalized and can be fostered by peers, families, providers, allies, and others. Hope is the catalyst of the recovery process.
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) towards those goals. Individuals optimize their autonomy and independence to the greatest extent possible by leading, controlling, and exercising choice over the services and supports that assist their recovery and resilience. In so doing, they are empowered and provided the resources to make informed decisions, initiate recovery and build on their strengths.
Recovery occurs via many pathways.
Individuals are unique with distinct needs, strengths, preferences, goals, culture, and backgrounds— including trauma experience — that affect and determine their pathway(s) to recovery.
Recovery is built on the multiple capacities, strengths, talents, coping abilities, resources, and inherent value of each individual.
Recovery pathways are highly personalized.
They may include professional clinical treatment; use of medications; support from families and in schools; faith-based approaches; peer support; and other approaches. Recovery is non-linear, characterized by continual growth and improved functioning that may involve setbacks. Because setbacks are a natural, though not inevitable, part of the recovery process, it is essential to foster resilience for all individuals and families. In some cases, recovery pathways can be enabled by creating a supportive environment. This is especially true for children, who may not have the legal or developmental capacity to set their own course.
Recovery is holistic.
Recovery encompasses an individual’s whole life, including mind, body, spirit, and community. This includes addressing: self-care practices, family, housing, employment, transportation, education, clinical treatment for mental disorders and substance use disorders, services and supports, primary healthcare, dental care, complementary and alternative services, faith, spirituality, creativity, social networks, and community participation. 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. Peers encourage and engage other peers and provide each other with a vital sense of belonging, supportive relationships, valued roles, and community. Through helping others and giving back to the community, one helps one’s self. Peer operated supports and services provide important resources to assist people along their journeys of recovery and wellness. Professionals can also play an important role in the recovery process by providing clinical treatment and other services that support individuals in their chosen recovery paths. While peers and allies play an important role for many in recovery, their role for children and youth may be slightly different. Peer supports for families are very important for children with behavioral health problems and can also play a supportive role for youth 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. Family members, peers, providers, faith groups, community members, and other allies form vital support networks. Through these relationships, people leave unhealthy and/or unfulfilling life roles behind and engage in new roles (e.g., partner, caregiver, friend, student, employee) that lead to a greater sense of belonging, personhood, empowerment, autonomy, social inclusion, and community participation. 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. Services should be culturally grounded, attuned, sensitive, congruent, and competent, as well as personalized to meet each individual’s unique needs.
Recovery is supported by addressing trauma.
The experience of trauma (such as physical or sexual abuse, domestic violence, war, disaster, and others) is often a precursor to or associated with alcohol and drug use, mental health problems, and related issues. 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. In addition, individuals have a personal responsibility for their own self-care and journeys of recovery. Individuals should be supported in speaking for themselves. Families and significant others have responsibilities to support their loved ones, especially for children and youth in recovery. Communities have responsibilities to provide opportunities and resources to address discrimination and to foster social inclusion and recovery. Individuals in recovery also have a social responsibility and should have the ability to join with peers to speak collectively about their strengths, needs, wants, desires, and aspirations.
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.
There is a need to acknowledge that taking steps towards recovery may require great courage. Self-acceptance, developing a positive and meaningful sense of identity, and regaining