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People can and do recover from addiction. 1 in 10 Americans identifies as having previously had a substance use disorder.


Recovery is a journey— different for each person— that often begins with addiction treatment but lasts well after the treatment period is over.

There is no single definition of recovery and there are many paths to finding long-term wellness.  It’s important that people seeking recovery from SUD are given guidance from care providers and empowered to choose a path that supports their health and wellbeing.

Like other chronic diseases, such as cancer or heart disease, recovery support for SUD helps patients manage their condition. Most people recovering from severe SUD need ongoing monitoring and long-term recovery support.

Four Dimensions to Recovery

There are four main dimensions to recovery:

  • Health—overcoming or managing one’s disease(s) or symptoms and making informed, healthy choices that support physical and emotional well-being.

  • Home—having a stable and safe place to live.

  • Purpose—engaging in meaningful daily activities and having the independence, income, and resources to participate in society.

  • Community—having relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope.

Like other chronic diseases, such as cancer or heart disease, recovery support for SUD helps patients manage their condition. Most people recovering from severe SUD need ongoing monitoring and long-term recovery support.


Multiple Pathways to Recovery

Just as treatment for SUD should be crafted to meet the specific needs of each patient, so should recovery support. Increasing awareness among patients, families, providers, policymakers and the general public about the multitude of recovery pathways and supports will help increase access to them. 


There are nine categories of recovery support:


  1. Recovery Housing: Living environments that promote abstinence-based, long-term recovery. After treatment for SUD many patients return to high-risk environments or stressful family situations. Returning to such settings without a network of people to support recovery increases the chances of recurrence. Recovery housing can provide one another with abstinence support, guidance, and information that may reduce the probability of a relapse. 

  2. Recovery Community Organizations: Local nonprofit organizations that support recovery through services, education & outreach. Recovery is facilitated by a continuum of comprehensive, community-based services that can be tailored to individual needs and help them recover “in place”.

  3. Mutual Aid Support Groups: Free peer support provided in a community setting (such as AA, NA, and SMART Recovery). 

  4. Peer Support Services: Provides mentorship, coaching, & connection to others in recovery. Because peer support services are designed and delivered by peers––persons who have experienced a substance use disorder and recovery––they embody a powerful message of hope, as well as a wealth of experiential knowledge. 

  5. Activity-Based Recovery: Therapeutic activities to support recovery. Research supports physical activity as an effective recovery support as well as a healthy way to build community. 

  6. Recovery High Schools: Designed to support high school students in recovery. Research supports recovery high schools as an important approach to support youth struggling with substance use and has shown significant reduction in substance use as well as in mental health symptoms among the students.

  7. Collegiate Recovery: Designed to support college-age students in recovery. Supporting young people in recovery to handle the personal and academic stress of college life in healthy ways and succeed in achieving and/or maintaining recovery and building supportive communities. 

  8. Online Support: Peer support and mutual aid groups available online. Transportation is a major barrier to service access for many Americans, and people living in rural communities often have limited access to treatment and  recovery resources. The number of Americans who have access to the internet is increasing, making proven telehealth and online resources an important means of ensuring these populations have access to resources that they may not be able to engage with in-person. 

  9. Faith-Based: Programs informed/guided by faith-based practice. Research has shown that, for some individuals, spirituality is an important component of recovery. 

Recovery Support


(301) 769-5966


11810 Grand Park Ave, Suite 500
North Bethesda, MD 20852

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