Black Bears for Change

What is Recovery?

When you think of recovery, your first thought may be the term ‘alcoholic’ or AA meetings. It may bring to mind the concept of sobriety or the twelve steps. However, recovery is defined differently depending on the individual. Check out the definition provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):

“Recovery is a process of change through which people improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential.”

There is no mention of substance use. The focus is on self-improvement and quality of life. With this in mind, it’s easy to see how recovery can mean different things to different people. It could mean recovery from mental health issues. From eating disorders.  From substance abuse. There is no limit to what can be included.

This can be further broken down into four dimensions:

  1. Health: Taking care of our physical and emotional wellness
  2. Home: A stable place to live
  3. Purpose: Leading a meaningful life and participating in society
  4. Community: Maintaining a network of support and friendship
Recovery and Recovery Support. (2019, January 14). Retrieved from


Black Bears for Change

Building a sustainable and thriving community is where collegiate recovery comes in. College students in recovery, of any kind ranging from mental health to substance abuse eating disorders and more, may experience things their peers do not experience things their peers do not. Although many college students do not drink, use other drugs or outwardly show their personal issues, the majority does. This can create a culture where keeping in one’s own personal challenges and battles becomes a norm, prompting other students to not talk about the issues that can affect multitudes. These behaviors can interfere with a person’s willingness to talk about recovery, or enter into it, both of which can really benefit the general well-being of a person.

When the notion of recovery becomes stigmatized, it can lead to many people refusing to begin dialogues regarding their personal wellbeing, keeping our communities from starting recovery based support groups. When this becomes a challenge, it can make the act of making friends extremely difficult for students who may want to partake in activities not associated with risky behaviors. Something as simple as meeting other students can become complicated. With many students finding friends through parties, students in recovery are often at a disadvantage. Black Bears for Recovery provides an opportunity to meet other students and offers support for academic, personal, and recovery concerns.

This builds a community to foster connections with others. It is less about defining what recovery means to you, and more about providing the support necessary to have an enriching, fulfilling life.

Please join us for open discussion regarding topics surrounding recovery and the different situations students and the members of our UMaine community may face. For more information, contact our office via phone at 207-581-1423 or email!

To get involved, check out our Facebook!



Al-Anon Meetings: These are for people affected by someone else’s drinking, typically a family member. It is open to everyone and there is no expectation of participation until you feel comfortable. Find a meeting using the information below.

Bangor Area Recovery Network (BARN): Located in Brewer, they have meetings every single day. Check out their website and their Facebook page.