10.4 Recovery

“Although I have had many personal successes, I am most proud of myself as a parent. My children are the first, in four generations of women, to not see their parents use drugs or alcohol. I have raised two successful university educated sons who are well on their way to [an] addiction free life, God willing!”.[1]

Approximately 21% of the population in Canada (about 6 million people) will meet the criteria for addiction in their lifetime.[2] Can people who live with a substance abuse disorder recover?  What is recovery?  Recovery is more than simply stopping uncontrolled substance use, but rather is often defined as improvements in health, wellbeing, and social participation, or “living a productive life”.[3] Substance abuse disorders are treatable disorders.  Research on the science of addiction and the treatment of substance use disorders has led to the development of research-based methods that help people to stop using substances, also known as being in recovery.  Recovery, however, is not a cure.  Like other chronic diseases such as heart disease or asthma, treatment for substance use disorder is just that, treatment. Treatment enables people to manage/mitigate the substance abuse disorder’s impacts on their brain, body, and behavior.

10.4A Activities

    1. What are the suggestions for recovery?
    2. Review the infographic Life in recovery Recovery created by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction.

Watch the video Changing the Stigmatizing Language of Addiction to Support Recovery created by Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction.[4]


Recovery is a bumpy road.  It can be paved with lapses and relapses, there may be many starts and stops.  It is very important that all attempts at recovery be supported.  Individuals should have the

To learn more about recovery, please review Life in Recoveryf rom Addiction in Canada, a 2017 technical report from the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction.

  1. Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction. (2017a). Life in recovery from addiction in Canada: Technical report, (p. 41). https://www.ccsa.ca/sites/default/files/2019-04/CCSA-Life-in-Recovery-from-Addiction-Report-2017-en.pdf
  2. Statistics Canada. (2015). Mental health and substance use disorders in Canada. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/82-624-x/2013001/article/11855-eng.htm
  3. McQuaid, R. J., Jesseman, R., & Rush, B. (2018). Examining barriers as risk factors for relapse: A focus on the Canadian treatment and recovery system of care. The Canadian  Journal of Addiction9(3), 5–12. https://doi.org/10.1097/CXA.0000000000000022
  4. Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction. (2017b). Changing the stigmatizing language of addiction to support recovery. [Video]. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHsZ-KSHbcE


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Exploring Substance Use in Canada Copyright © 2022 by Julie Crouse is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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