Recovery: Consumer Resources

Recovery is possible at all stages of a mental illness or substance use disorder. The earlier action is taken the easier it is to get better. 

Six tips for tackling recovery

  1. Embrace the idea of change. Making lifestyle changes is difficult for everybody, but you will need to prepare yourself for the fact that change is necessary (and worth it) in order to achieve recovery.
  2. Understand the resources available. Therapy and medication are the two most widely known treatment options, but recovery is about more than treatment. Other resources and services include: case management, supported employment, supported education, family supports, warmlines, peer support specialists, and psychoeducation. 
  3. Engage peer support. Peer support services put someone in your corner who has “been there, done that” and can help you find your own way through the recovery process. 
  4. Establish a support network. Think about who among your friends and family members you can turn to for support. The person or people you choose should care about you, believe in you and believe in your worth. Having someone you can call or meet up with if you are feeling lonely or starting to struggle can help you to feel better and stay accountable to yourself and your recovery goals.
  5. Set yourself up for success. Create recovery plans that you are confident you can stick to. Try this exercise: Think about a change you want to make to help you reach a recovery goal. Now rate your confidence in your ability to make that change on a scale of 1 (not confident) to 10 (positive you can do it). If you aren’t confident at a level of 7 or higher, revise your plan. Start with smaller changes that you are sure you can make, and build up to tougher changes to reach your goals over time. 
  6. Forgive yourself for failure. Recovery doesn’t happen overnight, and there are going to be days that are going to go really well, and other days that are going to be crappy. Having a crappy day, or showing signs of relapse or recurrence, doesn’t mean that you haven’t made any progress or that you should give up trying to get better. Be kind to yourself and keep fighting for the life you want.

Eight dimensions of wellness

Embracing these eight dimensions of wellness as identified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration can improve the quality of your life. 

Emotional

Coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships

  • Be aware of and listen to your feelings
  • Express your feelings to people you trust

Financial

Satisfaction with current and future financial situations

  • Be thoughtful and creative about your budgeting and spending
  • As needed, meet with financial professionals who provide free or low-cost services for guidance

Social

Developing a sense of connection, belonging, a well developed support system

  • Make at least one social connection per day by calling, e-mailing, or visiting someone
  • Get active in a support group

Spiritual

Expanding our sense of purpose and meaning in life

  • Make time for practices that enhance your sense of connection to self, nature, and others 
  • Take time to discover what values, principles, and beliefs are most important to you

Occupational

Personal satisfaction and enrichment derived through one’s work

  • Work toward a career in a field you are passionate about or a volunteer activity that has meaning for you
  • Communicate with your supervisor regularly and get support when needed

Physical

Recognizing the need for physical activity, diet, sleep, and nutrition

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator; replace driving with walking or bicycling when possible
  • Get enough sleep—your body needs it to rejuvenate and stay well

Intellectual

Recognizing creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills

  • Research a topic that interests you and share what you learned with others
  • Find creative outlets that stimulate your mind and sense of curiosity

Environmental

Good health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environments that support well-being

  • Appreciate nature and the beauty that surrounds you
  • Seek out music and other experiences that have a calming effect on your well-being

Recovery resources

Mental health

Substance use

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Tools to measure mental health, substance use recovery

Use these tools to gauge the quality of your recovery and to gain perspective on your recovery.

Last Revised: September 3, 2019