The process of recovery is different for everyone, while the methods may be similar across the board, the experience of changing one’s life can have its own individual meaning. That being said, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has been working over the last year to come up with a comprehensive definition that would encompass recovery for both mental disorders and substance abuse.
The new working definition of Recovery from Mental Disorders and Substance Use Disorders is as follows:
A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.
"Over the years it has become increasingly apparent that a practical, comprehensive working definition of recovery would enable policy makers, providers, and others to better design, deliver, and measure integrated and holistic services to those in need," said SAMHSA Administrator, Pamela S. Hyde. "By working with all elements of the behavioral health community and others to develop this definition, I believe SAMHSA has achieved a significant milestone in promoting greater public awareness and appreciation for the importance of recovery, and widespread support for the services that can make it a reality for millions of Americans."
Through the Recovery Support Strategic Initiative, SAMHSA has laid out four major dimensions that support a life in 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.
- 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
- Community: relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope.