Importance of Hope & a Solid Support System
Recovery is about consumers learning how to manage their illness in order to ultimately manage their lives. Recovery is an individualized process that can be measured via domains that reflect life outcomes (finding and maintaining a job, keeping a home, feeling connected to the community) as well as through equally valuable measures about an individual’s perception of their self-confidence & self-esteem, how empowered the individual feels, and how hopeful the individual is or is becoming
Developing a definition of recovery and establishing guiding principles enable both individuals and systems to measure progress toward realizing levels of successful recovery or facilitating that achievement in the lives of others.
In recognition of the importance of hope and the benefits of a solid support system, Magellan Health Services recommends the following revisions to the guiding principles:
Recovery emerges from hope: The belief that recovery is real 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. Hope is internalized and can be fostered by peers, families, providers, allies, and others. Hope is the catalyst of the recovery process.
Recovery involves making choices: Self-determination and self-direction are the foundations for recovery as individuals define their own life goals and design their unique path(s) towards those goals. Individuals optimize their autonomy and independence to the greatest extent possible by leading, controlling, and exercising choice over the services and supports that assist their recovery and resilience. In so doing, they are empowered and provided the resources to determine appropriate coping mechanisms, make informed decisions, initiate recovery, build on their strengths, learn how to manage chronic conditions, and gain or regain control over their lives. For children, youth, and adults, families, caregivers and friends play a key and sometimes primary role in shaping and supporting their path to recovery.
Recovery occurs via many pathways: Individuals are unique with distinct needs, strengths, preferences, goals, culture, and backgrounds including trauma experiences that affect and impact their pathway(s) to recovery. Recovery is built on the multiple capacities, strengths, talents, coping abilities, resources, and inherent value of each individual and the family and community context in which they live. Recovery pathways are highly personalized and non-linear in that they are characterized by continual growth and improved functioning that may involve setbacks along the journey of progress. Because setbacks are a natural, though not inevitable, part of the recovery process, it is essential to foster resilience for all individuals and families. Abstinence is an important choice for individuals with addictions. In some cases, these pathways can be enabled by creating a supportive environment; this is especially true for children, who may not have the legal or developmental capacity to set their own course.
Recovery is all-encompassing: Recovery encompasses an individual’s whole life, including mind, body, spirit, and community. This includes addressing: self-care practices, family, housing, employment, education, addiction and mental illness treatment, services and supports, primary healthcare, dental care, complementary and alternative services, spirituality, creativity, social networks, recreation, and community participation. The array of services and supports available should be integrated and coordinated.
Recovery is supported by peers and allies: Recognition and acceptance of the need for support is an important consideration. 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. Peers encourage and engage other peers and provide each other with a vital sense of belonging, supportive relationships, valued roles, and community. Through helping others and giving back to the community, one helps one’s self. Peer-operated supports and services provide important resources to assist people along their journeys of recovery and wellness. One of the fundamental tenets of peer support is that it is grounded in choice – enabling an individual to determine who can best assist them based on any number of individualized factors. Professionals can also play an important role in the recovery process by providing clinical treatment and other services that support individuals in their chosen recovery paths. While peers and allies play an important role for many in recovery, their role for children and youth may be slightly different. Peer parent supports for families are very important for children with behavioral health problems and can also play a supportive role for youth in recovery, into their journey to adulthood and as their ongoing support system as an adult.
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. Peers, family members, providers, faith groups, community members, and other allies form vital support networks. Through these relationships, people leave unhealthy and/or unfulfilling life roles behind and engage in new roles (e.g., partner, caregiver, friend, student, employee) that lead to a greater sense of belonging, personhood, empowerment, autonomy, social inclusion, and community participation.
Recovery is 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. Services and supports should be culturally grounded, attuned, sensitive, congruent, and competent, as well as personalized to meet each individual’s unique needs. Engagement should occur in a culturally responsive way in order to help facilitate increased *********** and access to the services and supports to meet the identified needs.
Recovery is supported by addressing trauma: The experience of trauma (such as physical or ****** abuse, domestic violence, war, disaster, and others) can sometimes act as a precursor to or become associated with alcohol and drug use, mental health problems, and related issues. 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. In addition, individuals have a personal responsibility for their own self-care and journeys of recovery. Individuals should be supported in speaking for themselves. Families and significant others have responsibilities to support their loved ones, of all ages in recovery. Communities have responsibilities to provide opportunities and resources to address discrimination and to foster social inclusion and recovery. Individuals in recovery also have a social responsibility and should be afforded the opportunity to practice the ability to join with peers to speak collectively about their strengths, needs, wants, desires, and aspirations. The role of peers, professionals, and informal supports are critical in coaching and mentoring individuals to build their voice and participation into action and leadership which fosters their journey to recovery.
Recovery is based on 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. There is a need to acknowledge that taking steps towards recovery may require great courage. Self-acceptance, developing a positive and meaningful sense of identity, and regaining belief in one’s self are particularly important.
Barbara Rhoads commented
people on the street and those in back wards of hospitals do not have access to such glamorous remedies. we need to deal with the dark night of the soul in real time.