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Coming Together

The recovery movement is increasingly focusing on both mental and substance use disorders. For example, Recovery Month broadened its focus to include mental as well as substance use disorders.

SAMHSA sponsored other efforts to promote dialogue and collaboration between the CSAT-funded RCSP and the CMHS-funded Statewide Consumer Grant Program, among other efforts. That same year, SAMHSA and behavioral health consumers developed a new working definition of recovery from both mental and substance use disorders as: 窶彗 process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.窶 SAMHSA窶冱 National Survey on Drug Use and Health has also broadened its focus to include mental disorders in recent years.

That integration makes sense for consumers who know firsthand that mental and substance use disorders often go hand in hand.

Eric McDaniel is one such consumer who has struggled with co-occurring disorders. At age 29, alcoholism and depression had destroyed his promising career as a trial lawyer and left him thinking of suicide.

窶廢verybody hears a lot about active addiction, and we all know what that looks like,窶 said Mr. McDaniel. 窶弩hat窶冱 important to get out is that there are millions of Americans in long-term recovery.窶

Peers helped Mr. McDaniel with his recovery. In addition to more than a year in a consumer-run recovery house, he had access to group therapy. 窶廬t was really important to have people I could share my feelings and experiences with,窶 he said. 窶廬t also helped me, because I was able to learn from the experiences of others.窶

Now more than 4 years into his recovery, Mr. McDaniel is Program Coordinator at Faces and Voices of Recovery in Washington, DC, which provides education, advocacy, and capacity-building for the recovery community. Says Mr. McDaniel: 窶彝ecovery has given my life new meaning.窶

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