What Are the 10 Guiding Principles of Recovery?

Valium Withdrawal and Drug Detox

Modern science has made vast steps forward into understanding the science of addiction and mental health. While these fields are complex and multifaceted, they exist in a distilled form as the 10 guiding principles to the process of recovery. When carers and patients alike understand these principles, they can incorporate them together in the journey towards self-betterment.

The Ten Guiding Principles of Recovery

A successful recovery must allow universal human needs to coexist with the unique goals, dreams, and preferences of each person. While a certain amount of rigidity in goals is necessary, it’s important to realize that setbacks are not the end of the process, but part of it. To this end, you can look toward these 10 Guiding Principles of Recovery.

  • Personally Driven
  • Person-Centered
  • Empowering
  • Holistic
  • Realistic
  • Strengths-Based
  • Supportive Social Networks
  • Respect
  • Responsibility
  • Hope

The first principle speaks to the necessity that the recovering individual is at the heart of their efforts. While others may try to drive them into recovery, only their own decisions can achieve lasting change in their lives.

The second principle acknowledges that people and their needs vary. Any program that aims to help people recover must be willing to take a person’s unique characteristics into account. Likewise, a person who’s recovering should seek out the options that are best suited to them.

Recovery must be empowering. Self-control, fulfillment, and happiness are the ultimate goals of recovery, and it’s important to keep this in mind. A recovery that relies on negative emotions or unsustainable coping mechanisms will never last if it even existed to start with.

A holistic approach that sees people and their struggles as a whole picture is essential. Mental health problems are not moral failings, but they aren’t simply chemical imbalances either. Treating trauma and acknowledging live, day-to-day problems is critical in striving to recover.

An idealistic program that expects people to never make mistakes or suffer setbacks will set patients up for failure. Relapses and setbacks need to be seen as part of the journey, rather than the end.

As a corollary to the need to play to individual needs, recovery must also play to individual strengths. A person’s talents, passions, and dreams can all play a part in their drive toward recovery.

Safe, respectful peer groups where everyone supports each other have tremendous, measurable benefits for people who are undergoing recovery. The process often feels lonely, and seeing that others are going through the same struggles can be tremendously empowering.

Respect for yourself and for others is one of the most important guiding principles of recovery. Negative self-talk and self-disrespect often result from and further fuel mental health problems. Breaking these patterns is key to achieving lasting, positive change in your life.

Responsibility speaks to the necessity to be responsible for your own life. Likewise, it also entails the responsibility to reject people who try to pressure you into self-destructive behaviors.

At the end of the day, hope is what drives people to rehab and what keeps them going when recovery is difficult. Any successful program needs to see this hope for a better future and help make it real.

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