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The Concept of Recovery as an Organizing Principle for Integrating Mental Health and Addiction Services

Despite a range of long-standing historical, political, ideological, professional, structural, and practical barriers, there has been, and continues to be, a clear consensus that integration between mental health and addiction services is sorely needed and long overdue. This paper focuses on one dimension of the challenge of integration from among the several—the conceptual—and proposes the construct of recovery as an organizing principle for bridging the divide between the two domains. After reviewing briefly the parallel history of the two traditions and their shared need for transformation to a recovery orientation, the authors offer an integrated model of recovery for persons with co-occurring disorders. They then derive from this model the underlying values, guiding principles, key strategies, and essential ingredients of recovery- oriented systems of care which comprise a common approach across both addictions and mental illness, offering a strengths-based solution to achieving integration where pathology-focused approaches have failed.