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SAMHSA Asks for Feedback on Definition of Recovery


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is seeking feedback on its working definition of recovery. The definition aims to portray the essential, common experiences of people recovering from substance use and mental disorders, and includes 10 guiding principles of recovery.

SAMHSA developed the new definition, in conjunction with the behavioral health field, as part of its Recovery Support Strategic Initiative.

The definition is as follows:

Recovery From Mental and Substance Use Disorders: A process of change through which individuals work to improve their own health and well-being, live a self-directed life, and strive to achieve their full potential.

You can comment on the definition and on the guiding principles, which can be found here, until August 26, 2011.

6 Responses to this article

  1. Avatar of Bill James
    Bill James / August 31, 2011 at 9:15 am

    recovery is not about gaining control. if we could control anything we would have done it and controled our intake of substances so as to not have to experience the negative consequences of over indulgence. Recovery is about letting go.
    But we had to let go to something.
    That something was a power greater than ourselves.
    All the professional ‘words’, skirt the concept that has been the most important to me.
    Find a power that:
    1.we could believe in greater than ourselves
    3.could restore us to sanity
    4.we could make a decision to turn our lives over to the care of
    5.we could understand
    6.we could admit our wrongs to
    7.we could become ready to have remove our defects
    8.we could humbly ask to remove our shortcomings
    9.we could, through prayer and meditation, seek to improve our conscious contact with
    10. might provide us with knowledge of its will for us
    11. might provide us with the power to carry that out
    12.provide us with a spiritual awakening.

  2. Avatar of mike Halligan
    mike Halligan / August 26, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Recovery happens after a series of two events, the first after we deal with our trauma, abuse, neglect and pain, inflicted on those who perpetrated the events.
    the second, after we deal with those we traumatized, abused, neglected and hurt. That’s much more difficult that the first, but much more healing. After part 2, there’s no reason to hide or lie or cheat or hurt others. I seems like the provider world has many who haven’t quite reached recovery. i once thought that there are two types of people, those who enjoy hurting others and those who appreciate being hurt. I found i didn’t like either of those positions. Recovery.

  3. notwhatyouthink / August 22, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    When we don’t seem to have the solution or path to substantive change and recovery as evidenced by our numerous treatment failures, we just change the definition of improvement to suit our needs. You would think abstinence, or at a minimum, the elimination of destructive lifestyle choices would at the top of the criteria list. Could you imagine having your automobile brakes fix only for them fail again a month later, and than, be told by the shop owner it was a successful break job cause it lasted 30 days.

  4. Avatar of Charles Bishop, Jr.
    Charles Bishop, Jr. / August 21, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Looks like SAMHSA has discovered “recovery”
    after many decades of professional ignorance
    and antagonism toward 12 Step Fellowships.
    NEXT,after several MORE decades of bureaucratic “professionalism” and scientific blindness, SAMHSA will discover SPIRITUALITY !

    The American taxpayer has paid untold billions of dollars for professional,
    “scientific” studies that recommend more

    A.A., and I’m not a spokesperson for them,
    discovered the answer back in 1935. Thank
    Opps, there’s that unscientific word again…

  5. Avatar of William Knack,Ph.D.
    William Knack,Ph.D. / August 18, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Any definition definition of recovery from addiction must include abstinence. Any difinition of recovery from mental illness must include symptom change/remission.

  6. Avatar of Rose O Driscoll
    Rose O Driscoll / January 30, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    hi there , saw your name and was wondering if u are mike halligan , someone i used to know , when i was young i met many people through my parents, well sort of, unconventional lifestyle , so of them i liked and some i loathed , some were lovely gentle souls like a guy called mike , long blond hair , a rugsac and written conversations , if u are the mike of my childhood i just wondered how you doing ,how it worked out for you? my dad was peter and mother johanna , I am Rose ,I was nobody really ,still nobody really , but unbelievably im ok !

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