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Dr. Eric A. Levine

Talking within our community about the concept of Recovery

I have spent the past few weeks talking within our community about the concept of Recovery; its language, principles and belief systems. In addition to the staff meetings at both of our campuses, there has been much discussion about how we define Recovery, its relationship to community and the role of relationships as the bonding agent that holds it all together.

Staff Conversations

Below are two views on Recovery which capture many of the themes, concepts and belief systems at CooperRiis.

“Often the ideas of recovery and healing go hand in hand. Often, recovery is thought of as an event….you recover, you’re healed, end of sentence. But, this is not how the universe works.  Recovery ​is a process, not an event.

Recovery is a road trip, with lots of stops along the way. A trip with new sights (new insights), new friends, new experiences, new ways of looking at experiences you’ve had. This trip is fueled by your desire to change what’s not working, by the desire to be relaxed in your own skin as well as the world at large.  The trip isn’t always fun or comfortable. Sometimes there is a breakdown, your engine blows, your transmission goes kaput, you throw an axle. Recovery is the trip you take to  “your best self”; not be be perfect, but to be the best YOU that you can be.

Recovery takes you from disease to ease, from disorder to order (in your mind and behavior), from discomfort to comfort (Dr. Ronee Aaron, 9/2019).”

Putting it all in perspective

“For me, recovery refers to how each of us walks our path in life. We tend to call the process “recovery” particularly when the obstacles on that path include mental health or addiction challenges, but all of us humans are building our lives and striving to live them in a way that aligns with our values and feels meaningful to us.

All of us feel stuck sometimes. Recovery is about finding a way to tolerate that awful stuck place, while working hard to keep it as short as possible, learn whatever we can, and manage the stuckness in a way that will make it easier next time.

Recovery is your journey, yet paradoxically we have learned that letting others help is an important step on that journey. So how can CooperRiis help you with your recovery? First and foremost, we set a goal of treating everyone with kindness and respect. It is hard to recover in isolation, so we all work together to create a healing community of people; both staff and clients, helping one another to grow and learn.

Then we have interventions designed to support your recovery. We ask you about your life and we really try to understand all we can about how your life journey looks to you. We ask you to articulate your current “dream statement;” your idea about where you want to head. Then we ask you to set goals that will help you get there.

As you participate in our program and community, we will discover together what obstacles come up for you and address them with you (Dr. Jennifer Pasternack 9/19).”

It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey

These shared conversations are to remind us all that a recovery journey does not necessarily have a destination or an endpoint. Everything that we do in our various roles and relationships with one another help define the experience, and the experience will be unique to each individual. We here at CooperRiis want to commend those that show up each and every day for their own recovery journey, as well as those who bear witness to these journeys.

Check out SAMHSA’s working definition on recovery, “A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”

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