Roadmap to Recovery

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Overcoming or managing one’s disease(s) as well as living in a physically and emotionally healthy way.


A stable and safe place to live.


Meaningful daily activities, such as a job, school, volunteerism, family caretaking, or creative endeavors, and the independence, income and resources to participate in society.


Relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope.

Hope: Recovery provides the essential and motivating message of a better future – that people can and do overcome the internal and external challenges, barriers, and obstacles that confront them.

Holistic: Recovery encompasses an individual’s whole life, including mind, body, spirit, and community. The array of services and supports available should be integrated and coordinated.

Individuals, families, communities: Involves individuals, families, and communities have strengths, responsibilities and resources that serve as a foundation for recovery.

Many pathways: Individuals are unique with distinct needs, strengths, preferences, goals, cultures, and backgrounds – including trauma experiences – that affect and determine their pathway(s) to recovery. Abstinence is the safest approach for those with substance use disorders.

Recovery is supported by peers and allies: Mutual support and mutual aid groups, including the sharing of experiential knowledge and skills, as well as social learning, play an invaluable role in recovery.

Relationships and social networks: An important factor in the recovery process is the presence and involvement of people who believe in the person’s ability to recover; who offer hope, support, and encouragement; and who also suggest strategies and resources for change.

Culturally-based and influenced: Culture and cultural background in all of its diverse representations – including values,traditions, and beliefs – are keys in determining a person’s journey and unique pathway to recovery.

Person-driven: Self-determination and self-direction are the foundations for recovery as individuals define their own life goals and design their unique path(s).

Addresses trauma: Services and supports should be trauma-informed to foster safety (physical and emotional) and trust, as well as promote choice, empowerment, and collaboration.

Respect: Community, systems, and societal acceptance and appreciation for people affected by mental health and substance use problems – including protecting their rights and eliminating discrimination – are crucial in achieving recovery.

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Source: SAMHSA’s Working Definition of Recovery from Mental and/or Substance Use Disorders