Elements of Recovery

Image of word hope spelled with scrabble pieces - Elements of Recovery - hired power breakawayRecovery from a mental health disorder, including addiction, is a process that occurs over time. The process of recovery is deeply personal and is often referred to as a “journey”.  As a person adopts various elements of recovery into his life, he develops an overall attitude or philosophy of recovery.


Hope is one of the elements of recovery. In fact, hope is the key to recovery. In recovery, a person must find hope and keep it strong. Hope involves developing a belief in oneself and having optimism. It involves trusting and taking risks. It involves disappointments and failures. And it must always be supported by perseverance.

Ability to Cope

Elements of recovery involve learning responsible coping skills, self-management, problem-solving skills and the ability to help oneself. Taking appropriate medication, getting necessary therapy or counseling, joining therapeutic recovery groups, improving communication skills and reducing stress and anxiety are just some of the ways a person can strengthen his ability to cope.

Forming a Secure Base

Security is another one of the elements of recovery. Having a secure base means having a safe foundation from which to recover and grow. Having a reasonable income, having access to adequate food and healthcare and working to build a safe, stable family and home in which to live are some of the things that form a secure base for a person in recovery.


Every person must have a sense of meaning or purpose to feel fully alive. One of the elements of recovery is identifying one’s purpose in life and work and engaging in meaningful activities. Adopting a guiding philosophy or blueprint for living adds to one’s meaning and purpose in life.

Sense of Self & Empowerment

A person must develop a clear sense of self as one of the elements of recovery. Developing a sense of self is a multi-dimensional task that takes time. Understanding oneself, identifying one’s interests, values and beliefs, and growing one’s spirituality are some of the dimensions of a healthy sense of self. Empowerment, self-determination and self-control are elements of recovery too. One must develop the confidence to make decisions on his own and to be assertive in getting his needs met and asking for help.

Social Support & Belonging

The task of surrounding oneself with supportive individuals is important in the elements of recovery. When a person can share his values, perspectives, experiences and struggles with another person who will relate and/or be of support and encouragement, his hope and sense of self are strengthened. Practicing social skills, forming new healthy relationships and rebuilding broken ones add to a social “safety net” that a person in recovery must have in place. When a person feels acceptance and a sense of belonging, he comes to realize that he is not alone and that many others are on their own journeys of recovery too.