Guiding Principles of Recovery
Source: CSAT White Paper: Guiding Principles and Elements of Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care.
- There are many pathways to recovery.
- Recovery is self-directed and empowering.
- Recovery involves a personal recognition of the need for change and transformation.
- Recovery is holistic.
- Recovery has cultural dimensions.
- Recovery exists on a continuum of improved health and wellness.
- Recovery is supported by peers and allies.
- Recovery emerges from hope and gratitude.
- Recovery involves a process of healing and self-redefinition.
- Recovery involves addressing discrimination and transcending shame and stigma.
- Recovery involves (re)joining and (re)building a life in the community.
- Recovery is a reality. It can, will, and does happen.
Are You Living in Exile?
What are you supposed to do and when are you supposed to do it? Why has everything become so hard, not just by the week or month, but daily and by the hour? How did we get to this point and is it time to seek help?
These are questions you might be asking yourself if you are a family living with a child or youth experiencing the symptoms of mental illness. By the time we seek help, we may have already isolated ourselves from family, friends, the neighbors, maybe even the local school. We isolate because we are embarrassed or believe that our child’s symptoms are the result of bad parenting, or have been admonished by well meaning friends who minimize our situation, maybe due to the little we tell them. We do this because of the stigma, still alive and well, within our families and community.
Regardless of the reasons, hiding the ‘problem’ only makes things worse and the situation will only improve once we begin to admit we can’t handle this on our own and begin to seek treatment. Treatment is a journey in and of itself but the alternative of continuing chaos and dysfunction, caused by untreated illness, can grow and develop like a cancer spreading through the family.
Its like the commercials you see on television, it hurts and there is help. Unlike the commercials, climbing out of the chaos and dysfunction is difficult and frustrating, and there are many challenges along the way. You will need support from others walking the same road, dealing with decisions that most parents will never have to make.
You will need to find the same kind of courage over and over that it took when you first sought help for your child, to deal with the ‘judges’ out there who have never walked in your shoes but are always ready with advice. Remember that family members and friends have good intentions but might not have the capacity to really understand what you are going through. You may or may not have the energy to deal with this at the same time you are dealing with decisions about medication, therapy, family functioning and school issues. But know there are those parents, caregivers and other individuals who have walked in your shoes and will not judge.
If your children are struggling with lack of peer connections, irregular school attendance, and your family is experiencing isolation from friends and family and is disconnected from the community, please contact Donna Obermeyer and the Family Alliance for Mental Health in Thurston/Mason counties at 360-790-7505 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Come meet other families with similar challenges to find strengths and look for solutions.
By Donna Obermeyer
Published April 2008 in the PAVE newsletter.