“There are many pathways of long-term recovery, and all are cause for celebration.” –William White
The Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) defined behavioral health recovery, including recovery from a substance use disorder, as “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.” When individuals with a history of mental health or substance use disorders begin to address their challenges, they might describe themselves as being in recovery. It is important to note that recovery from a substance use disorder is not the same as recovery from a physical illness or injury—when the symptoms are gone, or the flesh has healed, your recovery is complete. Behavioral health recovery is not an event with a defined end date, but is instead an ongoing process.
As with physical illness or injury, there are many pathways to behavioral health recovery, which may begin with clinical treatment (e.g., medication and/or therapy), but then requires on-going support. Twelve-step programs, faith-based programs, talk therapy or Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) are a few of the many pathways to recovery. While behavioral health professionals or peer support specialists may assist in developing a recovery strategy, best results are achieved when individuals are in full charge of their treatment and recovery plans.
One similarity between physical and behavioral health recovery is that wellness is not always a straight line. Setbacks and relapses are not uncommon. During those times, the best medicine is often the love and support of family, friends and the community at large.
Several community-based organizations promote ongoing recovery through peer-based support groups. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and other 12-step programs meet regularly in many places throughout the community. Oxford Houses provide safe and sober housing for people in recovery. Peer-run organizations like the REACH center in Mount Vernon provide services that extend the reach of treatment beyond the clinical setting into the individual’s daily environment to empower and rebuild lives. Recovery Cafés are places where individuals can socialize in spaces that are drug and alcohol free, embrace healing, and where participants contribute to the organization’s ongoing development, management and structure. These are all examples of how the process of recovery can happen within a supportive community.
Are you in recovery? We are looking for Skagit County residents who are willing to share their stories. When you share your recovery journey and how your recovery has impacted those around you, you show people that they are not alone. Sharing your story is a great way to connect and inspire others who may be struggling. If you are interested, please share as much as you are comfortable with in the fields below.
Please remember this is a story of recovery, not of illness—focus on your wins, how you were able to overcome challenges, and how you maintain wellness.
Questions that may help you as your write about your experiences:
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