22 million Americans identify themselves as people in recovery. Long-term recovery is possible and happens all the time!

Stopping the use of substances is only one part of living a life of recovery. Recovery is a process of change through which a person improves their health and wellness, lives a self-directed life, and strives to reach their full potential. There are many pathways to recovery. Some people take medication, some go to mutual support meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), some go to counseling or therapy, others try holistic treatments.

A person’s recovery journey is as unique as they are. However, there are four important areas that support a life in recovery: health, home, purpose, and community.

  • Health: overcoming or managing one’s diseases 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. (One prime example here is being employed.)
  • Community: having relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope.

There are many pathways to recovery. There is no “right” way to do recovery.

  • Clinical pathways include professional help such as medication, counseling, and inpatient, long-term residential, or outpatient care.
  • Non-clinical pathways include basic needs like health care, job training, transportation, and education, and other supports like AA, NA, and SMART Recovery or Recovery Support Centers.
  • Natural recovery includes a reduction or remission of SUD symptoms without formal help, usually along with other improvements in behavior, outlook, or identity.
  • Recognize that recovery is a process. Recovery often includes both successes and setbacks. Recurrence of symptoms can be a normal part of recovery and is not a sign of failure.
  • Promote a healthy lifestyle. Recovery is about more than just stopping use. It involves all aspects of keeping healthy—physically, mentally, and spiritually.
  • Offer help when help is needed. Learn about local services that are available to people who may need support. Treat your colleagues and employees with an SUD the same way you would treat them if they had any other chronic medical illness—with compassion, without judgement, and with a shared goal to help them get better.
  • Learn about substance use disorders. Read our fact sheet or other materials, go to a webinar or class, or read more on this website.

Work is an important factor in many people’s abilities to maintain their recovery. In fact, having a job is a top predictor of positive outcomes for people in recovery. Why is that? Jobs provide a legal income, economic security, daily purpose and meaning, and social relationships — key contributors to a life in recovery.

Are You Interested in Becoming a Recovery Ready Workplace?

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