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Life After Treatment


Addiction recovery is the stage when life without drugs and alcohol begins. Addiction recovery is a relatively new concept that has grown as people have come to realize that being clean and sober is just the start of life after addiction.

Put another way, recovery is more than just the absence of problems. True recovery is reflected in personal growth, becoming a better person than you were yesterday. Improved lifestyle and fulfilling relationships are often benefits of aligning with habits that further your personal growth.


Addiction recovery describes the stage where individuals are no longer using drugs or alcohol. Recovery can result from treatment or a decision to quit. While many think that the opposite of an active addiction is being clean and sober, true recovery is much more.


Sweeney and Witmer (1991) presented a holistic model for wellness and prevention across the lifespan which is based in psychological theory and empirical research on characteristics of healthy persons. Specifically, the authors incorporated cross-disciplinary research and theoretical concepts from a variety of disciplines that supported certain human characteristics as related to health, longevity, and quality of life. In organizing this literature, the authors defined wellness as “a way of life oriented toward optimal health and well-being in which the body, mind, and spirit are integrated by the individual to live more fully within the human and natural community”.


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Printed Resources – General Reading on Recovery

A Bar on Every Corner: Sobering Up in a Tempting World (2001) Jack Erdmann

The Fight Within: A Story of Women in Recovery (2005) Norma Miller

First Year Sobriety: When All That Changes is Everything (1998) uses the voices of women and men who are struggling in the often baffling territory of their first year of sobriety to show that despite their differing experiences, all are united in the process of giving life without alcohol or other drugs a chance. Guy Kettelhack

A Gentle Path Through the Twelve Steps: The Classic Guide for All People in the Process of Recovery (1994) includes exercises, inventories, and guided reflections for those maintaining an addiction-free lifestyle. Patrick Carnes

Gifts of Sobriety: When the Promises of Recovery Come True (2000) Barbara Cole

Goodbye, Mr. Wonderful: Alcoholism, Addiction and Early Recovery (2004) is a personal testimonial of a doctor in recovery. C. B. McCully

The Hierarchy of Recovery: From Abstinence to Self-Actualization (2002) Robert S. Helgoe

Improving Communication and Relationships: An Adults-in-Recovery Workbook (1996) Dennis C. Daley

Journey Toward Complete Recovery : Reclaiming Your Emotional, Spiritual & Sexual Wholeness (1998) Michael Picucci

Last Call: Alcoholism and Recovery (2007) Paul R. McHugh and Jack H Hedblom

Living Sober (2002) offers advice on staying sober highlighting methods AA members have used for not drinking. Alcoholics Anonymous Services.

My Recovery: A Personal Plan for Healing (2003) Charles Whitfield

Next Step Workbook: Exercises in Gratitude, Forgiveness, and Balance (1991) Todd Weber

On the Road to Recovery Thanks to AA Meetings (2006) Thomas McGoldrick

Once a Pickle: Joe Y. Story (2001) Joe Y.

Once an Addict: The Fascinating True Story of One Man’s Escape From the Murky Drug Underworld (2007) Barry Woodward and Andrew Chamberlain

Portraits of Recovery (1997) Adam Gaynor

Positive Addiction (1976) William Glasser

Putting Out the Fire of Addiction: A Holistic Guide to Recovery (2000) Barry Sultanoff and Roger F. Klinger

Restore Your Life: a Living Plan for Sober People (1992) Anne Geller

Second Year Sobriety: Getting Comfortable Now That Everything is Different (1998) has people in recovery share their experiences and insights in dealing with long-suppressed feelings of anger, loss, guilt, love, and self-acceptance.  Guy Kettelhack

The Rustling of Leaves: an Adventure of Recovery (2000) Frank Costanzo

Safe Medicine For Sober People: How to Avoid Relapsing on Pain, Sleep, Cold, or Any Other Medication (2005) Jeffrey Weisberg, Gene Hawes, Jeffrey Weisberg

Seven Key Principles of Successful Recovery: The Basic Tools for Progress, Growth, and Happiness (1999) Mel B and Bill P

Sober and Free: Making Your Recovery Work for You (1996) Guy Kettelhack

Sober but Stuck: Obstacles Most Often Encountered that Keep Us from Growing in Recovery (1994) Dan F

Staying Clean: Living Without Drugs (1987) Anonymous

Staying Sober: Tips for Working a Twelve Step Program of Recovery (1999) Meredith Gould

There’s More to Quitting Drinking Than Quitting Drinking (2003) Paul O and Jack N

Third Year Sobriety: Finding Out Who You Really Are (1998) is the final book of this series and has testimonials of those making it through their third year of sobriety. Focuses on discovering who we are and what we can become. Guy Kettelhack

Survival Handbook: For the Newly Recovering (1988) Scott Sheperd

Walk in Dry Places (1996) explores the deeper issues of living in recovery and the daily concerns of a new life without alcohol. Based on the Twelve Step philosophy. Mel B.

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Printed Resources – Anger and Recovery

Anger, Alcoholism and Addiction: Treating Individuals, Couples and Families (1992) Ronald T. and Patricia S. Potter-Efron

The Missing Peace: Solving the Anger Problem for Alcoholics, Addicts and Those Who Love Them (2006) John Lee

Of Course You’re Angry: A Guide to Dealing With the Emotions of Substance Abuse (1997) Gayle Rosellini and Mark Worden

You Can’t Make Me Angry (2003) Paul O.

Printed Resources – Buddhism and Recovery

Let Go: A Buddhist Guide to Breaking Free of Habits (2007) Martine Batchelor

Mindful Sobriety (2007) Daniel Angres

One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps (2004) is a personal story of recovery through the Steps mixed with traditional Buddhist teachings. Kevin Griffin.

Steps to Happiness : Travelling from depression and addiction to the Buddhist path (2006) Taranatha

Zen of Recovery (2002) Mel Ash

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Printed Resources – Christianity and Recovery

To Slake a Thirst: The Matt Talbot Way to Sobriety (2000) Philip Maynard

Printed Resources – Continuing Care and Recovery 

A Path to Sobriety, the Inside Passage (2002) will put the reader in touch with what it is like to be an addict, and what must be done to bring the person back from being an outcast. Dennis L. Siluk.

Aftercare: Chemical Dependency Recovery: [The Inside Passage] Volume III(2004) discusses aftercare as an element of primary prevention and relapse prevention, which deals with a triangle of the continuing care cycle. Dennis L. Siluk

Printed Resources – Diet and Recovery

See Nutrition and Recovery section below.

Printed Resources – Emotions and Recovery

The Development of Emotional Competence (1999) Carolyn Saami

Printed Resources – Families and Recovery

The Alcoholic Family in Recovery: A Developmental Model (2002) Stephanie Brown and Virginia M. Lewis

Beyond Sobriety: Relationships 101 (2004) Daniel Linder

Brave New Families: A Guide for Families in Recovery (1994) Terence Williams

Compelled to Control: Recovering Intimacy in Broken Relationships (1998) J. Keith Miller

Concerned Intervention: When Your Loved One Won’t Quit Alcohol or Drugs (1993) John and Pat O’Neill

Families in Recovery: Coming Full Circle (1997) Carolyn Seval Brooks and Kathleen Fitzgerald Rice

The Family Recovery Guide: A Map for Healthy Growth (2000) Stephanie Brown, Virginia Liotta, Andrew Brown

Learning to be You, It’s an Inside Job: Recovery and Healing for the Loved Ones of the Substance-Addicted (2000) Brenda Ehrler

The Mother’s Survival Guide to Recovery: All About Alcohol, Drugs & Babies (1996) Laurie L. Tanner

The New Joy of Being Sober: A Book for Recovering Alcoholics and Those Who Love Them (2007) Jack Mumey

Nice Girls Don’t Drink: Stories of Recovery (2005) Sarah Hafner

Rebuilding Relationships in Recovery: A Guide to Healing Relationships Impacted by Addiction (2004) Catherine Patterson-Sterling

Recovering Our Children: A Handbook for Parents of Young People in Early Recovery (2003) John C. Cate, Jennifer Cummings
Recovery: A Guide for Adult Children of Alcoholics (1987) Herbert L. Gravitz and Julie D. Bowden

Stage II Relationships: Love Beyond Addiction (1987) Earnie Larsen

Straight Talk from Claudia Black: What Recovering Parents Should Tell Their Kids about Drugs and Alcohol (2003) Claudia Black

A Time to Heal: The Road to Recovery for Adult Children of Alcoholics (1989) Timmen L. Cermak

The Spiritual Recovery Manual: Vedic Knowledge and Yogic Techniques for Addicts, Codependents and Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families (2002) Patrick Gresham Williams

Taming Your Turbulent Past: A Self-Help Guide for Adult Children of Alcoholics (1987) Gayle Rosellini and Mark Worden

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Printed Resources – Finances and Recovery

Drunks, Drugs & Debits: How to Recognize Addicts and Avoid Financial Abuse (2000) looks at the financial chaos of addiction from the viewpoint of a non-alcoholic partner or family member. Doug Thorburn.

Printed Resources – Gestalt Therapy and Recovery

Getting Beyond Sobriety: Clinical Approaches to Long-Term Recovery (1997) explores treatment and recovery using Gestalt therapy and a “self-modulation” approach. Michael Craig Clemmens. 

Printed Resources – Judaism and Recovery

The Road to Recovery: Judaism and Alcoholism (2003) Carol Greenberg

Starting over: Using Torah and the Twelve Steps of Recovery to Find Happiness (1998) Sima Devorah Schloss

Twelve Jewish Steps to Recovery: A Personal Guide to Turning from Alcoholism and Other Addictions (1991) by Kerry M. Olitzky and Stuart A. Copans

Printed Resources – Love and Recovery

Creating Love: The Next Great Stage of Growth (1994) John Bradshaw

Easy Does It Dating Guide:  For People in Recovery (2004) Mary Faulkner

Easy Does It Relationship Guide For People in Recovery: Drama-free, Step-friendly advice on attaining, maintaining,and sustaining a committed relationship(2007) Mary Faulkner

Finding Love in Recovery (1997) Terence T. Gorski and Bonnie S. Zannini

Stage II Recovery: Life Beyond Addiction (1985) helps clients to develop and maintain healthy, nurturing relationships. This course explores the subject of relationships after sobriety has been achieved. The text describes techniques and methods for breaking the pattern of unhealthy behavior and offers strategies to make relationships work. Earnie Larsen

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Printed Resources – Meditation Books and Recovery

Body, Mind, and Spirit: Daily Meditations (1994) focuses on the whole human being with words of inspiration and healing that address all aspects of addiction recovery. Hazelden Publishing.

God Grant Me … (2005) serves as a steady spiritual companion for individuals making their way along the often-tumultuous recovery journey. Hazelden Foundation.

Yesterday’s Tomorrow: Recovery Meditations for Hard Cases (1997) is a meditation book written especially for ‘hard cases’ like himself; those who struggle with the spiritual side of the program and have a hard time staying sober. Barry L.

Printed Resources – Nutrition and Recovery

Addiction Free – Naturally: Liberating Yourself From Tobacco, Caffeine, Sugar, Alcohol, Prescription Drugs, Cocaine, and Narcotics (2001) Brigitte Mars

Eating Right to Live Sober: A Comprehensive Guide to Alcoholism and Nutrition(1983) Katherine Ketchum and L. Ann Mueller

End Your Addiction Now: The Proven Nutrional Supplement Program That Can Set You Free (2002) Charles Gant

Food for Recovery: The Complete Nutritional Companion for Recovering from Alcoholism, Drug Addiction, and Eating Disorders (1994) Joseph D. Beasley and Susan Knightly

Good Food for a Sober Life: A Diet and Nutrition Book for Recovering Alcoholics – and Those Who Love Them (1987) Jack Mumey and Anne S. Hatcher

Healing the Hurt: Rebuilding Relationships with Your Children (1990) Rosalie Cruise Jesse

Lifestyle Changes: 12 Step Recovery Nutrition & Diet Guide (1991) Marilyn Rollins

The Natural Medicine Guide to Addiction (Natural Medicine Guides, 6) (2004) Stephanie Marohn

Nature’s Road to Recovery: Nutritional Supplements for Recovering Alcoholic, Chemical-Dependent and the Social Drinker (1999) Beth M. Ley-Jacobs, Kenton L. Crowley, and Beth M. Ley

Nutrition and Alcohol: Linking Nutrient Interactions and Daily Intake (2003) explores the latest data available on alcohol and the nutritional state of alcohol abusers. Includes alcohol’s effects on the absorption of nutrients and minerals and explains the role of nutritional supplementation and diet in the therapy of alcohol abusers. Ronald R Watson and Victor R Preedy

Recovery from Addiction: A Comprehensive Understanding of Substance Abuse With Nutritional Therapies for Recovering Addicts and Co-Dependents (1990) John Finnegan and Daphane Gray

Seven Weeks to Sobriety: the Proven Program to Fight Alcoholism Through Nutrition (1997) Joan Mathews Larsen

Sober and Staying That Way: A New Cure for Alcoholism (1997) Susan Powter

The Sober Kitchen : Recipes and Advice for a Lifetime of Sobriety (2003) focuses on the important and often overlooked link between food and recovery. Has separate nutritional information for three phases of recovery. Includes current addiction research and 300 recipes. Liz Scott

Staying Clean & Sober: Complementary and Natural Strategies for Healing the Addicted Brain (2005) presents emerging treatment options for gaining and maintaining sobriety including the importance of diet, amino acids, serotonin levels, etc. Merlene Miller, David Miller.

Staying Sober – A Nutrition and Exercise Program for the Recovering Alcoholic (1987) Judy Myers

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Printed Resources – Recovery Communities

Creating Communities For Addiction Recovery: The Oxford House Model (Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community) (Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community) (2006) Leonard A. Jason, Joseph R. Ferrari, Margaret I. Davis, and Bradley D. Olsen 

Printed Resources – Relapse and Recovery

Passages Through Recovery: An Action Plan for Preventing Relapse (1989)  Terence T. Gorski

For more information see the Psychological Modalities section.

Printed Resources – Resilience and Recovery

Resilience and Development: Positive Life Adaptations (1999) Meyer D. Glantz, Jeannette L. Johnson

Printed Resources – Self-Deception and Recovery

Addictive Thinking: Understanding Self-Deception (1997) reveals how self-deceptive thought can undermine self-esteem and threaten the sobriety of a recovering individual. Abraham J. Twerski.

Printed Resources – Self-Help and Recovery

The Recovery Book (1991) is a self-help book that leads addicts through recovery’s highs, lows, pitfalls and challenges. Arlene Eisenberg, Howard Eisenberg, Al J. Mooney

Printed Resources – Sexuality and Recovery

Awakening Your Sexuality: A Guide for Recovering Women (2000) Stephanie S. Covington

How to Make Love While Conscious: Sex and Sobriety () Guy Kettelhack

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Printed Resources – Shame and Recovery

Healing the Shame That Binds You (1988) John Bradshaw

Letting Go of Shame: Understanding How Shame Affects Your Life (1989) Patricia and Ronald Potter-Efron

Printed Resources – Spirituality and Recovery

Cool Water: Alcoholism, Mindfulness, and Ordinary Recovery (1997) William Alexander

Mindful Recovery: A Spiritual Path to Healing from Addiction (2002) Thomas and Beverly Bien

The Journey Within: A Spiritual Path to Recovery (2004) Ruth Fishel

Thirst: God and the Alcoholic Experience(2004) is an examination of our thirst for God to the alcoholic s thirst behind the thirst for relief through mood-altering chemicals. Designed for anyone – including alcoholics, family members and clergy – trying to understand the spiritual dynamics of alcoholism and god.

Overcoming Addictions: The Spiritual Solution (1997) Deepak Chopra

The Serenity Principle: Finding Inner Peace in Recovery (1990) Joseph Bailey

The Soul of Recovery : Uncovering the Spiritual Dimension in the Treatment of Addictions (2002) Christopher D. Ringwald

The Spirit Recovery Meditation Journal : Meditations for Reclaiming Your Authenticity (2006) Lee McCormick

Spiritual Dimensions of Healing Addictions (1988) Donna Cunningham and Andrew Ramer

The Spiritual Recovery Manual: Vedic Knowledge and Yogic Techniques for Addicts, Codependents and Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families (2002) Patrick Gresham Williams

The Spiritual Self: Reflections on Recovery and God (2000) Abraham J. Twerski

The Soul of Recovery: Uncovering the Spiritual Dimension in the Treatment of Addictions (1994) Christopher D. Ringwald

The Thirst for Wholeness: Attachment, Addiction, and the Spiritual Path (1994) Christina Grof

The Stormy Search for the Self (1992) Christina Grof

Understanding the Twelve Steps: An Interpretation and Guide for Recovering People (1991) Terence T. Gorski

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Printed Resources – Stress and Recovery

Relax, Recover: Stress Management for Recovering People (1988) Patricia Wuertzer and Lucinda May

Printed Resources – Taoism and Recovery

The Tao of Sobriety: Helping You Recover from Alcohol and Drug Addiction (2002) shows how to apply Eastern philosophy to enhance recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs. With a few mental exercises, readers can learn to quiet “The Committee”, those nasty mental voices that undermine serenity and self-esteem. David Gregson, Jay S. Efran

Printed Resources – Trauma and Recovery

em>Addictions and Trauma Recovery: Healing the Body, Mind, and Spirit (2001) Dusty Miller and Laurie Guidry

Destination Joy: Moving Beyond Fear, Loss, and Trauma in Recovery (2003) Earnie Larsen

For more information see the Dual Diagnosis section.

Printed Resources – Wellness and Recovery

The Wellness-Recovery Connection (2004) John Newport

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Printed Resources – Work and Recovery

Recovery at Work: A Clean and Sober Career Guide (1990) Carol Cox Smith.

Printed Resources – Yoga and Recovery

Healing Addiction with Yoga (2003) Annalisa Cunningham

Stretch & Surrender: A Guide to Yoga, Health, and Relaxation for People in Recovery (1992) Annalisa Cunningham


Websites Specific to Addiction Recovery

Partners for Recovery SAMHSA

Online Resources – General Information on Recovery

What is recovery? A working definition from the Betty Ford Institute (June 2007) highlights the findings of a blue-ribbon panel of addiction researchers, treatment providers, recovery advocates, and policymakers who convened to develop an initial definition of recovery. Betty Ford Institute.

The Betty Ford Institute Consensus Conference (Summer 2007) had a blue-ribbon panel of addiction experts that attempted to develop a definition of “recovery” that would have utility for clinicians and researchers alike. Findings Newsletter, Betty Ford Center.

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Online Resources – Anger Management and Recovery

Anger, Alcoholism, and Addiction (1991) Teach clients how to manage their anger in healthy ways and discusses the relationship between anger, aggression and substance abuse. Ronald T. Potter-Efron, Patricia S. Potter-Efron.

Wellness Module: Anger Management and Well-Being (2004) is written for a mental health audience but is equally applicable to individuals in recovery from addiction. BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information.

Online Resources – Clinical Information on Recovery

National Summit on Recovery – Conference Report is a document published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s)  Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT). The Summit was designed to reach a broad-based consensus on guiding principles of recovery and elements of recovery-oriented systems.

Online Resources – Discrimination and Recovery

Are You in Recovery from Alcohol or Drug Problems? Know Your Rights. (September 2004) helps those in recovery understand their rights under Federal laws hat protect against discrimination (US only). Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT). Publication no. PHD1091.

Online Resources – Exercise and Recovery

Wellness Module: Eating and Living Well (2004) is written for a mental health audience but is equally applicable to individuals in recovery from addiction. BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information.

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Online Resources – Family and Recovery

All in the Family: Addiction, Recovery, Advocacy explores the history of family perspectives on addiction recovery through the published work of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and addiction counselors. A discussion of the roles family members are playing in the new recovery advocacy movement. William White, Bob Savage.

The Family Afterward is chapter 9 of Alcoholics Anonymous and is for families living with loved ones after treatment.

Online Resources – Nutrition and Recovery

Wellness Module: Eating and Living Well (2004) is written for a mental health audience but is equally applicable to individuals in recovery from addiction. BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information.

Online Resources – Problem-Solving and Recovery

Wellness Module: Problem-Solving and Well-Being (2004) is written for a mental health audience but is equally applicable to individuals in recovery from addiction. BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information.

Online Resources – Refusal Skills and Addiction Recovery

Refusal Skills (2005) are to help you prepare for those times when you find yourself in a “slippery” place like a bar or event like a wedding. Practice and planning are key to successful refusal. Clinical Tools, Inc.

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Online Resources – Self-Help

Obstacles to Recovery From Addiction argues that the principle obstacles from any addiction are ignorance, shame, dishonesty, and personal exceptionalism. Written by Floyd P. Garrett, MD

Prolegomenon to the Metaphysics of Recovery

Why is Recovery So Hard? Is written by Floyd P. Garrett, MD

Online Resources – Relapse Prevention and Recovery

After Drug or Alcohol Rehab: Four Relapse Warning Signs recommends that you stay alert and aware to spot the early warning signs of relapse into addiction. Dr. Neill Neill, consulting psychologist at Sunshine Coast Health Center.

For more information on relapse prevention see the Relapse Prevention Facts section.

Online Resources – Sleep and Recovery

Wellness Module: Sleep and Well-Being (2004) is written for a mental health audience but is equally applicable to individuals in recovery from addiction. BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information.

Online Resources – Social Support and Recovery

Wellness Module: Social Support (2004) is written for a mental health audience but is equally applicable to individuals in recovery from addiction. BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information.

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Online Resources – Stress and Recovery

Coping With Stress (2008) is a brief handout designed to help you cope with stress.

NIDA Community Drug Alert Bulletin – Stress & Substance Abuse (February 2006) provides current research about stress and its relationship to substance abuse. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Wellness Module: Stress and Well-Being (2004) is written for a mental health audience but is equally applicable to individuals in recovery from addiction. BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information.

Online Resources – Thought and Recovery

Thought (also known as cognition) is the source of moods and behaviors. Healthy thinking is more than just positive thinking. Our thoughts have a big influence on our ability to have a fulfilling recovery.

Wellness Module: Healthy Thinking (2004) is written for a mental health audience but is equally applicable to individuals in recovery from addiction. BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information.

Online Resources – Tobacco and Recovery

Smoking is more common with individuals with addictions than in the general population. Whether you stopped smoking while in treatment or are trying to stop smoking in recovery, the Tobacco section can help you get started.

Online Resources – The Workplace and Recovery

The Addicted Employee: After Treatment (2010) is for employees returning to work, which can be an anxious time for all concerned. It’s Our Business – Information for Leaders. Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission (AADAC).

For more information on the workplace see the Workplace Substance Abuse section.

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Dr. David F. O’Connell presents on his new book:

Managing Recovery from Addiction – Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) is a guide to developing a personal recovery plan for people with addictions. First developed by Mary Ellen Copeland, WRAP is used by clinics, clinicians, and individuals with a variety of mental health difficulties, including addiction (for proof of its popularity search for the term WRAP in Google). This is an affordable, user-friendly approach.

WRAP is a YouTube presentation that tells one person’s experience with creating her own WRAP to help her with her recovery from addiction.

In addition, here is an interview with the creator of WRAP, Mary Ellen Copeland. Keep in mind that while Mary Ellen does not have an addiction to drugs or alcohol, her struggle with mental illness and the program she has created can just as easily be applied to addiction:

Part 1 of 2
Part 2 of 2

The Recovery Model and Process (1997) explains the concept of recovery. North Birmingham Mental Health NHS Trust:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

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I couldn’t beat my alcohol addiction on my own and received some of the best help in the world at Sunshine Coast Health Center. After 90 days, I came home a changed man. With hard work, consistency, fearless honesty, and humility, my problem is manageable today. Thank you all for your love and support.

- Tyler

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