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.

9 Things We Wish We'd Known - A Letter from Families Who Have Lost a Loved One to Addiction

Addiction Policy Forum, a nationwide non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating addiction as a major health problem, released a letter from families as part of the #192aDay awareness campaign to honor those lost to drug overdose and other complications of substance use. In their letter, families explain, “This letter to you is about the things we wish we had known — the things we’ve learned since we suffered our losses and wish we had done differently.” From learning the signs of a problem to paying attention to early substance use, to finding quality treatment and finding support, these hard-learned lessons can help other families across the country facing addiction. Read more.

IBH President Featured on Podcast From Drug Prevention Summit

IBH President Robert L. DuPont, MD served as the plenary speaker at the 7th Annual Southeastern US Regional Drug Prevention Summit. Following his presentation, he was interviewed by The Addiction Podcast - Point of No Return, reviewing his work in the field of addiction treatment and national drug policy and advocating for renewed focus on youth prevention and defining the goal of substance use disorder treatment as long-term recovery.


The new film “Beautiful Boy” depicts the experiences of a father and son, David and Nic Sheff, as Nic dives deep into a methamphetamine addiction. Not only is this film based on David’s and Nic’s pair of best-selling memoirs, Beautiful Boy and Tweak, the film mirrors the experiences of millions of Americans whose brains have been hijacked by addiction. In this review, IBH President, Dr. Robert DuPont discusses this film and the parallels between Nic and David’s experience and the experiences of the many people with substance use disorders and their families Dr. DuPont has seen throughout his 50 year career. IBH commends David, Nic and all of those involved in making this film, on producing a striking cautionary tale as well as a compelling reminder that recovery is possible for everyone. Read Dr. DuPont’s review here.


The Fix features a powerful statement of a person struggling recovery who unexpectedly found recovery support in Alcoholics Anonymous. “As time went on, I quickly realized that the reasons I believed that AA wasn’t for me weren’t just misguided, they were completely wrong. While I wish I’d had these realizations sooner, I’m grateful now for the fellowship I found when I was finally able to open my heart and mind.” Read more.


At a time when the nation is searching for ways to save lives from opioid and other drug overdoses as well as how to reduce the burden of addiction on individuals, families and communities, IBH President Robert L. DuPont, MD has written Chemical Slavery: Understanding Addiction and Stopping the Drug Epidemicfor parents, teachers, physicians and for everyone afflicted by addiction.  The book also guides leaders in public policy and planning positions, as well as drug abuse treatment. Chemical Slavery covers two crucial topics: First, the national drug epidemic including an understanding of its evolution to become a national emergency, and the science of addiction and recovery. Second, Dr. DuPont presents his experience-based guide to the intimate, day-to-day struggle with the disease of addiction from prevention to lasting recovery. This book shows the ways in which these two domains of addiction, the national and the personal, are intertwined and can be both understood and managed. Read more.

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