M7D1: Experience is the Best Teacher

Reading Material:






Module Notes: Recovery

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) defines recovery (Links to an external site.) as a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential (SAMHSA, 2012).  Recovery is a process of withdrawing from the substance abuse and returning to a life free of alcohol or the substance being abused. Recovery is a personal process and everyones recovery plan is unique.

Recovery is typically associated with addictions. And yet, we have all had experiences with recovery. We may have had a loss through a break-up or death of someone close to us, perhaps a recovery from physical condition such as cancer or a brain injury, or perhaps emotional issues related to post-traumatic stress disorder or a mental health condition.
One is not cured of an addiction. Recovery is a life-long process. For professionals who are working with individuals living with alcoholism and other substance addictions, it is important to keep in mind that people in recovery will experience difficult times and may relapse. Some people relapse numerous times. As we learned last week, families and significant others can play an important role in supporting individuals in recovery. Recovery is a family affair. 

As we progress through this weeks activities, we will look at the intricacies of recovery. It is not an easy road, and even if someone relapses, the beauty of recovery is that the person is never quite the same. Lessons of recovery stay with the person through the ups and downs. Lets go to this weeks opinion/reflection based discussion question now. Then review your module learning materials and return to the discussion to begin applying our readings to the questions.


SAMHSA (2012). SAMHSAs working definition of recovery updated (Links to an external site.).

Discussion work:

M7D1: Experience is the Best Teacher

Module 7

As always, an active discussion is the key to an interesting and engaging online course. We want this discussion to be as dynamic and engaging as we see in real-time in-person classrooms. Therefore, we will go through the questions as a group, one question at a time. As you join in the discussion, read what has already been posted and then add substantively to what has been shared. Avoid mini-papers; instead, engage with your classmates and me, contributing your knowledge, insights, and lessons learned from our course materials and, as appropriate, your own experiences.

By the end of this weeks discussion, we will each be able to relate our own experiences to that of those in recovery. We will also be able to examine and speak cogently about the roles of hope, self-help, and relapse in the recovery process.

The definition of recovery as a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential (SAMHSA, 2012) illustrates that recovery is actually a core aspect of human change and growth. Recovery is a deeply personal process. Many would argue that it works so well as a tool for people with addictions because it holds universal truths about the human condition.

In your opinion:

1. We have all had the experience of recovery perhaps from a loss of a relationship through death or break up, from illness or combat-related experiences. How did you get through that process? What supports were available to you? What was helpful? Hurtful?

Experience is the best teacher. Lets apply our readings and video to explore this question in relation to recovery.

2. We started this week by discussing how we got through a recovery experience. Now, that we’ve done the readings, lets think about the experiences we have shared, applying what we have learned about the process of recovery. Everyone has had a time in his/her life in which something significant occurred that was neither expected nor pleasant, but that was life altering. What helps to come through these experiences? How do the experiences contribute to who a person becomes today? Though you may use your experiences as a frame of reference, please avoid sharing too much personal information; just focus on the process.

3. What are some parallels between the experiences shared so far this week in terms of the recovery process and that of alcohol/substance abuse recovery?

4. SAMHSA has described four dimensions to support recovery: health, housing, purpose, and community. What tools can support these dimensions and what are some risks for relapse around these areas? Be sure to consider the important inter-relationships of recovery with hope, self-help, and mutual support as you engage in conversation.

Note: We will be discussing each question together as a group, one at a time. As you create your posts, remember that the goal is an informed, dynamic conversation. Be creative in your headings and responsive to others who have posted before you. As you create responses to others, create new and descriptive titles to your post. Dont simply put “re:” or type in a person’s name that is already clear from the thread. Instead, if you type a full sentence or long enough phrase that the point of your post will be clear. This tip for using the subject line effectively will make navigating all discussion threads easy and meaningful. There is no right or wrong response, but you should demonstrate an ability to relate the module materials to the discussion questions in an articulate, well-reasoned manner.

Two minimum References needed.

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