A successful recovery journey hinges on an individualized, comprehensive, and integrated approach to the healing process. A variety of methods exist to help people in their process of recovery, and while some people are able to recover on their own, others recover through treatment and/or the assistance of self-help, mutual-aid groups, or medication-assisted therapies. A holistic and recovery-oriented approach to overcome substance use disorders uses a range of age, gender, drug, faith, and culturally appropriate services to help people recover physically, mentally, and spiritually. By working with a person’s physical, environmental, and spiritual background and any mental health issues surrounding a person’s addiction to provide individualized care, we have an opportunity to improve a person’s success in recovery.

In particular, some people might be using as a coping mechanism for other emotional and health diagnoses. Addressing these potentially underlying problems can help to repair the deeper issues associated with addiction and substance abuse. For example, in 2007 the percentage of adults aged 18 or older with serious psychological distress who were also abusing substances was 22.1%.

Numbers like these could potentially be improved if the medical community adopted the approach that recovery should be specific to each individual person, and should involve that individual’s family and friends when possible. Elements of this approach may include:

  • Receiving medicial attention through detoxification and individual and/or group therapy in an inpatient or treatment setting
  • Focusing on improving overall health and refining onself
  • Exploring spirituality through faith-based communities
  • Changing social interactions and expanding social networks – particularly to include others in recovery and participate in mutual support groups
  • Empowering oneself by helping others

A well-rounded recovery support network complements this process and is central for successful rehabilitation from addiction. Family, friends, employers, and other concerned community members must be supportive, as recovery and resilience involve a lifelong process of healing.


  1. Venner, K.L., Matzger, H., Forcehimes, A.A, Moos, R.H., Feldstein, S.W., Willenbring, M.L. et al. (2006). “Course of recovery from alcoholism.” Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, 30, 1079-1090.
  2. National Summit on Recovery Conference Report, pp. 5, 7, 8, 9.
  3. Results From the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings, pp. 87, 89.
  4. National Summit on Recovery Conference Report, pp. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 49.