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People in Recovery

Recovery from alcohol and drug problems as well as a mental health condition is a process of change through which an individual achieves improved health, wellness and quality of life.  Recovery is an individualized process.  Open-mindedness and willingness are critical tool to pursue a recovery and wellness path.

How to Choose A Self-Help App

Technology use has been steadily rising over the past few years. COVID-19 has only increased this with the need to stay home for the safety of ourselves and our communities. As a result, the development of apps to support wellness and recovery has grown rapidly, with options available to support people with mental health and substance use challenges.  With 24/7 availability right from our phones, apps allow easy and rapid access to services, especially for communities with frequent barriers to care. However, for many of the apps out there, there isn’t enough research evidence supporting their efficacy. Apps can be helpful in getting extra support between therapy sessions or trying out a new technique, but they are not made to replace professional treatment.

There are many different types of apps targeting wellness and recovery. Some provide tracking and encouragement, and some provide specific techniques or activities to practice every day. With so many apps out there, it can be hard to choose between them all. Here are some key tips on how to choose a wellness and recovery self-help app that is right for you:

  • One important factor to consider is whether the app is evidence-based, that is, proven to be safe and effective by multiple high-quality research studies. In addition to looking at user reviews and ratings in the app store, you can also check the app’s website and do a quick Google Scholar search to see if the app has any associated research studies.
  • Another consideration is data privacy. Every app is required to have some form of privacy policy that tells you how the app handles your data – however, these policies are often hidden away and hard to read. At the very least, you can make sure the app actually has a privacy policy, which should be linked in the App Store or Google Play Store. If you are unsure of an app’s privacy, avoid entering any identifiable information.

For people with existing providers, choosing an app can be done with your provider to best meet your needs. Although many providers may be new to apps themselves, they may be able to guide you with additional resources and use tools such as the APA’s App Advisor—a tool made by the American Psychiatric Association for clinicians to help the people they serve make informed decisions when choosing a self-help app.

Disclaimer: The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Center of Alcohol & Substance Use Studies.

Your Recovery is Important and 12-Step Interventions

Your Recovery in Important This tip sheet describes resources that can be used to virtually support recovery from mental/substance use disorders. It also provides resources to help local recovery programs create virtual meetings

Your Recovery is Important: Virtual Recovery Resources: Taking Care Of Your Behavioral Health: VIRTUAL RECOVERY RESOURCES FOR SUBSTANCE USE AND MENTAL ILLNESS PAGE 2.
Toll-Free: 1-877-SAMHSA-7 (1-877-726-4727)

12-step interventions and mutual support programs  Donovan, D. M., Ingalsbe, M. H., Benbow, J., & Daley, D. C. (2013). 12-step interventions and mutual support programs for substance use disorders: an overview. Social work in public health28(3-4), 313–332. https://doi.org/10.1080/19371918.2013.774663

Twelve-step programs serve as readily available, easily accessible, and no cost resources for individuals with substance use disorders. There is clear evidence from a variety of sources that early involvement, in the form of meeting attendance and engagement in recovery activities, is associated with better substance use and psychosocial outcomes as well as reduced health care costs. Despite these benefits, attendance and engagement is often low and inconsistent, with relatively high rates of attrition. Social workers, health care providers, and behavioral health professionals can increase the likelihood of linking substance abusers, in specialty and nonspecialty settings, to 12-Step programs by the methods and style they use in their referral process. Professionals are encouraged to become more familiar with 12-Step programs in general and in their specific locales, to be aware of the positive outcomes associated with active involvement in such programs, attempt to match client needs to specific mutual support groups, to incorporate the use of community-based 12-Step volunteers to serve as “bridges” into such groups, and utilize empirically supported 12-Step facilitative approaches that are adapted to the unique features of their practice settings.


Building Evidence-Based Strategies to Improve Employment Outcomes for Individuals with Substance Use Disorders. Martinson, Karin, Doug McDonald, Amy Berninger, and Kyla Wasserman. (2021).  OPRE Report 2020-171. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

This paper examines the impetus and existing evidence on programs that integrate employment services with treatment and recovery services for people with opioid and other substance use disorders (SUDs). It includes an overview of the nature and recent history of SUDs and their treatment, including the important role that employment can play in recovery, and discusses the factors that historically limited the role of employment services in treatment programs. It also provides a brief review of the limited but promising evidence on the effectiveness of integrating substance use disorder treatment and employment services in improving participants’ employment outcomes. 



Wellness tools and resources to support recovery can be download from https://www.center4healthandsdc.org/wellness-in-8d.html). While you’re on that website, check out some of the other available resources.