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Models to Promote Recovery from Substance Use Disorder

Individuals may need additional support during and after treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) to maintain long-term recovery. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration's working definition of recovery states that:

“Recovery is a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential.”

Many recovery programs focus on peer support. Peer-based recovery support programs are available throughout the continuum of care and may be provided by either nonprofessional, nonclinical peers who are in recovery themselves or by specialized community health workers (CHWs) who are in recovery, known as recovery or peer specialists. Recovery specialists have been trained and received a certification in providing assistance to people with substance use disorders.

A major benefit of using a network of peer support is the sense of community that is established between peer providers and others in recovery. People in recovery report feeling shame, guilt, and low self-esteem, which is often easier to address when working with peers who have had similar experiences.

Promising Models