Guiding Principles of Recovery

Principles of RecoveryRecovery is a process of change through which people improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential. There are four major dimensions that support recovery:

Health—overcoming or managing one’s disease(s) or symptoms and making informed, healthy choices that support physical and emotional well-being.

Home—having a stable and safe place to live.

Purpose—conducting meaningful daily activities and having the independence, income, and resources to participate in society.

Community—having relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope.


Recovery emerges from hope:  The belief that "recovery is real" provides the motivating message of a better future – that people can and do overcome the internal and external challenges, barriers and obstacles that confront them. 

Recovery is person-driven: Self-determination and self-direction are the foundations for recovery as individuals define their own life goals and design their unique paths. 

Recovery occurs via many pathways: Individuals are unique with distinct needs, strengths, preferences, goals, culture and backgrounds including trauma experiences that affect the pathway to recovery.

Recovery is holistic: Recovery encompasses an individual’s whole life, including mind, body, spirit and community. The array of services and supports available should be coordinated and work with each other.

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.

Recovery is supported through 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. 

Recovery is culturally-based and influenced: Culture, in all of its diverse representations including values, traditions, and beliefs, are key in determining a person’s journey and unique pathway of recovery.  

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

Recovery involves individual, family and community strengths and responsibility: Individuals, families and communities have strengths and resources that serve as a foundation for recovery.

Recovery is based on respect: Recovery works best when individuals are free to enjoy the full array of human rights and are not subjected to discrimination, stigma or marginalization.

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