By Sheilah M. Powell
If there ever was a time to fully embrace and celebrate every pathway of recovery, it’s now. Over 100,000 people died from overdose and drug poisoning last year; it’s time to support any way a person embraces wellness. Today, I challenge everyone to authentically and radically help people recover from addiction in any way they choose.
There are so many beautiful ways to recover from Substance Use Disorder (SUD). I often say that a garden with all different types of flowers is more beautiful than a garden with just roses, or just daisies. A variety of things is always better – in my opinion.
Recovery is the same way – when there is a bevy of strength-based and affinity-based supportive communities, it is so much more beautiful because that means more people can get better. Every person is different, so there should a pathway of recovery for all.
Addiction and recovery are intimately significant and personal parts of people’s lives. Furthermore, people are free to make their own choice about how and when they will recover. Often, people make this decision based on their individual circumstances, experiences, culture, needs and wants, and availability to pathways, among a host of other factors. As advocates and mobilizers, it is even more important to celebrate all types of recovery solutions.
So what is out there? Well, there are a lot of supports out there. Let’s take a look! Types of pathways include natural recovery, recovery mutual aid groups, medication-assisted recovery, peer-based recovery supports, family recovery, technology-based recovery, and alternative recovery supports. This is far from all-inclusive, and however a person chooses to recover from SUD is a personal, intimate decision that should be supported and celebrated.
Natural recovery – or sometimes referred to as Self Managed Recovery – is a common recovery pathway where recovery from substance use disorder is achieved without the support of professional or non-professional intervention in individuals. Mutual aid groups are small-scale community-organized groups that meet and provide support to one another. These types of groups can be 12-step programs or other abstinence-based pathways, Harm Reduction focused, or faith-based fellowships. Specific examples of mutual aid groups are Wellbriety, Harm Reduction, Moderation Management, Recovery Dharma, LifeRing, and Celebrate Recovery. Some pathways are based on culture like Millati Islami, which is an Islamic fellowship of people joined together on the “Path of Peace” recovering from addiction to substances. Another lesser-known fellowship is The Satanic Temple Sober Faction, which offers a Satanic approach to recovery from addiction. Another alternative pathway is Medication Assisted Recovery Anonymous (MARA), which is a fellowship for those who use medication to treat various drug and alcohol use disorders. There are SO many more – there is something for everyone.
Some other non-traditional ways to recover are creativity, technology, and digital recovery supports like WEconnect Recovery, and affinity-based groups like those who do cosplay (more on that in a future blog). Thanks to Mobilizer’s feedback, here are some other examples of recovery pathways – The Artist’s Way, pro-social activities like 5ks and sober dodgeball leagues, and fitness-based programs like The Phoenix and The Recovery Gym. Recovery is NOT just for church basements anymore! Millions of folks are in recovery and each person deserves a space where they can be their true selves and find wellness.
Recovery looks different for everyone, just as SUD manifests differently in each person’s life. A recovery-oriented system of care must embrace multiple pathways so more people can find and sustain their recovery.
As Mobilizers, we must embrace and elevate all pathways to recovery, even if we don’t understand it OR think that it will work. People need radical support now more than ever. Be that support system for folks today – it could save a life.
If you want to learn more about 2022 Mobilize Recovery Across America, click here! We embark on a nationwide tour in just a few weeks to highlight the recovery experience in over 20 cities and towns in the country. We wrap up the Mobilize Recovery experience with a dynamic virtual three-day conference at the end of September. Don’t miss out!