SpiritWorks Foundation

Center for Recovery of the Soul




One of the rituals of recovery that will reverse the damage of addiction and establish new health-oriented habits, also known as acts of self-repair or acts of responsibility. These acts transcend the self centeredness that is the essence of one’s addiction.

Type of social support that facilitates contacts with other people to promote learning of social and recreational skills, create community, and acquire a sense of belonging.

After-treatment support structure designed to “follow up” patients after treatment

Regular, alone time activities that help keep one recovery focused. Such activities might include praying, meditating, journaling, taking an end of day inventory, and reading recovery literature.

The process of bringing one’s personal character into alignment with the aspirations and values embedded within the framework of recovery. It entails the transformation of the whole person not simply the removal of alcohol and other drugs. It allows the person to create a character and a lifestyle in which alcohol and drugs have no place.

Refers to the role of human will and volition in the process of addiction recovery. It is a reaffirmation that the state of recovery is a portal through which one can only pass by one’s own act of choice, thereby moving them from the state of not using to the state of being free not to use.refers to the role of human will and volition in the process of addiction recovery. It is a reaffirmation that the state of recovery is a portal through which one can only pass by one’s own act of choice, thereby moving them from the state of not using to the state of being free not to use.

Disorders whose symptoms and their severity ebb and flow over an extended period of time; often characterized by periods of remission and relapse of varying duration over an extended period of one’s life. They place a sustained strain on the ability for the individual and his or her family and friends to adapt, calling for a process of sustained recovery management.

A metaphor of the personal transformation process. Portrays a stage of recovery marked by the need to draw into oneself, into a period of isolation and metamorphosis. Often during this period some of the most powerful transformative experiences and character reconstruction occur.

A social network of people in recovery that collectively nurture and support long term recovery. It helps facilitate the reconstruction of personal identity and social relationships for those who have been deeply enmeshed within the drug and criminal subculures. The culture has its own language, history, rituals, symbols, literature, institutions, and values.

A 12 Step self help program for individuals who experience both chemical dependency and emotional or psychiatric illness.

Type of social support that demonstrates empathy, caring, or concern to bolster person(s) self-esteem and confidence

The ability to transform experiential knowledge into the skill of helping others to achieve and sustain recovery.

Information acquired about addiction recovery through the process of one’s own recovery or being with others through the recovery process.

The inner social network that surrounds the individual experiencing a severe alcohol or other drug problem. It is often defined more by function than by blood in most recovery circles.

The processes through which family members affected by severe and persistent alcohol and other drug problems individually and collectively regain their health have three dimensions, the healing of individual family members, the healing of family subsystems, and the achievement of recovery-conducive boundaries with people and institutions outside the family.

Interventions into the lives of people with severe alcohol and other drug problems that rely on enhancing a hope-inspired leap into recovery. They rely on the living proof, through role models, of what is possible, encourage change, express confidence in the individual’s ability to change and provide concrete steps of how that journey can begin. They are based on a promise of what we will do with you rather than what we will do to you. They are particularly important for historically disempowered and personally victimized people who have developed tremendous capacity to endure physical and psychological pain and who display chronic, self defeating styles of interacting with others.

The process of restoring a pre-addiction identity, salvaging and fully developing an identity not spoiled by addiction, or creating a new post-addiction identity. It represents a new or refined definition of what one does (role) and who one is (identity), which is crucial to the experience of hope for recovery.

Type of social support that shares knowledge and information and/or provides life of vocational skills training.

Type of social support that provides concrete assistance to help others accomplish tasks.

Those activities and influences that serve to stabilize, consolidate and strengthen long term recovery from alcohol and other drug problems. They include

  • geographical/social disengagement from the culture of addiction
  • negotiation into the recovery world
  • development of a sobriety based social support system
  • institutional reconnection
  • non-drug-related leisure activity
  • resolution of family distress/conflict
  • improved relationships with parents or children
  • positive response from significant others, family and friends
  • a stable economic support system
  • solidification of new identity
  • and the use of personal rationales for abstinence

Activities that bring us into relationship with other people who share our values.They include activities such as sharing, listening, observing and laughing.

Supports that occur and are provided by the relationships in the community: work, school, faith-based organizations, social groups, and family.

The term used to distinguish the nature of the service relationship in the recovery model management. The relationship is one with great mutuality and implies a more enduring relationship.

Designed and delivered by peers who have been successful in the recovery process. Non-clinical services that extend the reach of treatment beyond the clinical setting into the everyday environment of those seeking to achieve or sustain recovery. These services help prevent relapse and promote long term recovery.

Peer leader who delivers recovery support services, non- professional service role legitimized through experiential knowledge and experiential expertise .

All individuals who share the experiences of addictions and recovery, either directly or as a family member, significant other, or friend.

Person in recovery.

The quantity and quality of internal and external resources an individual brings to the initiation and maintenance of recovery.

The total span of experiences that occurs after an individual’s recovery from a severe behavior health disorder has begun.

An event at which recovered people assemble to honor their achievements in recovery.

Type of social support.

A chronic care approach to the provision of client-directed management of services and supports for persons with chronic disorders.

An outreach ministry which supports recovering people and helps them to feel welcome in a church community. Recovery ministry also helps churches to provide resources and support for people suffering from or affected by addictions.

Chronic care model of service systems designed to meet the needs of individuals and families seeking services. Infuse the language, culture and spirit of recovery throughout the system. Chronic care model of health and human services that offer a wide spectrum of services designed to support long term recovery.

The degree to which a person achieves benefits as a consequence of recovery from addiction.

Activities through which recovery from addiction is enhanced. These include centering rituals, mirroring rituals, acts of self-care, and unpaid acts of service.

Non-clinical services provided to individuals and families during the initiation, ongoing, and post-acute stages of their recovery from alcoholism or other drug addictions These services are designed to

  1. remove personal and environmental obstacles to recovery
  2. enhance identification and participation in the recovery community
  3. enhance the quality of life in recovery

Peer leader who delivers recovery support services.

The acceptance of accountability for the past, present, and future actions. Considered to be the antidote to blame, and other defense strategies.

Part of a phrase first used by Bill Wilson to convey the diversity of ways used to escape alcoholism. He declared, “The roads to recovery are many” and that the resolution of alcoholism by any method should be a cause for celebration by A. A. members.

A style of recovery that does not involve the reliance of any religious or spiritual ideas (God or Higher Power), experiences (conversion), or religious rituals (prayer).

The life arenas through which the recovery process is expressed. They include physical recovery, emotional recovery, mental recovery, spiritual recovery, social recovery, and environmental recovery.

A heightened state of perception, awareness, performance or being that personally performs, heals empowers, connects or liberates. A connection with resources within and outside of the self.

A recognition that human beings are flawed and make mistakes of various kinds. In this recognition lies the deep acceptance of one’s own imperfection which then allows a new awareness and acceptance of the imperfection of another. It leads to a framework for identification and relationship with the larger body of humanity. “We are not alone.”

Refers to the 3–5 year duration of time, according to research studies, at which recovery and its continuation become quite likely, and the risk of relapse grows quite remote.

A term coined by Ernie Larsen to describe the process of breaking a primary addiction. This process involves the early years and includes reducing chaos, achieving stability, learning to accept help from others, and clearing away the wreckage of the past.

The rebuilding of the life that was saved in Stage One. It focuses on a reconstruction of personal character, identity, and worldview and a reconstruction of personal relationships.

The process through which the person in recovery reconstructs their identity and shares their experience with others as acts of self healing and service. These stories usually follow a three part sequence, the development of addiction (what it was like), the turn around experience (what happened), and an account of life in recovery (what it’s like now).

A phrase to depict the strain of relinquishing the adaptive mechanisms used to maintain family homeostasis in the face of active addiction and the resulting impairment of other family members. This strain is often measured in years and conveys the family’s need for support as it makes enormous changes in the family structure and dynamics during this critical point in the recovery process.

The values that are embedded within the Twelve Steps.

People who having survived a life-threatening and life-transforming illness/experience, help guide others through this same illness/experience.

Source: Many of these definitions were taken from the article “An Addiction Recovery Glossary,” The Languages of American Communities of Recovery by William White

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