Perspectives on Long-Term Recovery

The goal of addiction treatment is recovery. Recovery is not just abstaining for a lifetime from any use of alcohol, marijuana and other drugs but far more. This reality is visible every day all over the country and the world. The evidence that this goal is achievable for all people with substance use disorders is apparent in the lives of of the millions of people who are spending their lifetimes joyfully in recovery. They are quietly and gently sharing their recovery with everyone to whom they relate. There are no hopeless cases of addicted people; just individuals yet to enter long-term recovery.”
— Robert L. DuPont, President, Institute for Behavior and Health

In many health settings "recovery" is used routinely to mean "getting better”, from something as simple as “recovering from a sore knee” to something as serious as “recovering from metastatic cancer.” And while this general, vague sense of recovery is sometimes used in the context of addiction to alcohol and other drugs, here at IBH we use the word to mean something far better and more profound.

When people “recover” from a sore knee, they simply go back to their life before knee pain. With addiction, however, people who successfully “recover” do not go back to being the people they were before their addiction. Instead, they become far better people as a result of their ongoing "recovery" work.

IBH did not invent this specific and widely used definition of “recovery from addiction”, but rather we adopted it from the 25 million strong American recovery community, from the people who through their own sustained hard work have created this special definition of a common word.

Our colleague Bill White has recently begun to regularly blog for the Faces and Voices of Recovery website, and he has posted a remarkable selection of thoughts on the many people that he and Galen Tinder have met over the years who have achieved this true recovery from addiction. Please have a look - it is an inspiring and wide-ranging view of what the recovery community - and IBH - mean when we use the word “recovery”.

Reflections on Long-Term Recovery by Galen Tinder & Bill White

Addiction recovery is far more than the removal of drugs from an otherwise unchanged life...The authors have carried on a decades-long interest in what has been christened full recovery or amplified recovery—a state of enhanced quality of life and personal character in long-term recovery. We each know individuals we believe have achieved such status and have asked ourselves what unique characteristics distinguish such persons. Here are some of our initial reflections on this question, offered here as an expression of gratitude to such people who have enriched our own lives.
— Galen Tinder and Bill White

Click here to view their full thoughts.

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