Letter: Many pathways to a successful recovery

To the editor:

Recovery from substance misuse disorders is a process of change through which individuals and their loved ones improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential. Hope is the catalyst of the recovery process. 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. Taking steps towards recovery from addiction requires great courage and deserves acknowledgement.

Recovery occurs via many pathways, is highly individualized, and is built on the multiple strengths, talents, coping abilities, resources, preferences, goals, culture, and inherent value of each person. Fostering resilience is essential, as setbacks are a natural, though not inevitable part of the recovery process. Additionally, as Dr. Elizabeth Weinberg states, "Recovery involves finding a way to live with messy, painful, human experiences." In other words, participating in mindful recovery, and accepting the fluidity of life's sufferings as equally a part of the human experience as joy.

Another important factor in the recovery journey 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. 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, empowerment, autonomy, social inclusion, and community participation. Family members, peers, faith gatherings, educational outlets and community groups form vital support networks.

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. In honor of National Recovery Month, Center for Healing Interventions is offering free substance abuse assessments during September to community residents who think they or a loved one may have an alcohol or drug problem. The assessment involves completing a questionnaire and meeting with a counselor for a session at our office in Pittsfield. Call 413-449-3329 for an appointment, or schedule through the About section at www.healinginterventions.org.

Karen Fisher,


The writer is executive director, Center for Healing Interventions.


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