What Is The Definition of Being “In Recovery”?

Highest Standards, Nationally Recognized:

Man in glasses smiling

The following quote was found on The MightyYou wake up every morning to fight the same demons that left you so tired the night before, and that, my love, is bravery.”

Yes, it’s true that recovery is quite subjective – if you can recall personal accounts from celebrities, friends, family, or others who are recovering from a mental illness or addiction, you will find that each story is different. Each person may be at a different “level” in life – for some, recovery means simply waking up each day and taking it one minute at a time. For others, recovery is centered around being sober. Sure, there are “criteria” that several research studies have conducted with mentions of social network, life purpose, community engagement, stability and more – but what truly matters is how you perceive your own recovery – and it could even entail a plethora of things.

In 2015, a few researchers from California sought to explore this very concept – when individuals say they are “in recovery”, what do they mean? Overall, five typologies were identified:

12-Step Traditionalist: strongly focused on abstinence, supportive of spirituality elements, strong belief in being honest with oneself, handling negative feelings without using, and more.

  • 12-Step Enthusiast: like the traditionalist type, abstinence is considered a strong focus, along with spirituality; however, individuals in this group prioritized some aspects less than traditionalists (for example, giving back, feeling connected to a spiritual force, etc.)
  • Secular: the main belief with this type is that recovery is physical and mental and does not have a connection to religion or spirituality
  • Self-Reliant: lower scores were found for helping others, getting support, being able to have relationships, and more; in addition, many people felt that spiritual elements “somewhat belong” in recovery
  • Atypical: individuals in this type typically described recovery as being either abstinent or abstinent only from non-drugs but not prescription drugs. In this group, there is a high intolerance for recovery being religious or spiritual in nature.  

In reading these, is there a particular group you fall into? The beauty is that these groups are not definitive, they are merely from one study, from one group of researchers. You get to decide what your recovery entails and what works for you.

Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you.

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