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  • Writer's pictureEdovo Content Team

Resources for substance misuse recovery

Updated: 3 days ago

Substance misuse is a critical issue for people incarcerated in America. The National Institute of Health reports that 65% of incarcerated individuals have an active substance use disorder, and an additional 20% were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of their crime.

Understanding the recovery journey

In substance abuse recovery, identifying the most important actions or strategies can help individuals achieve the greatest progress toward their recovery goals. To determine what type of substance abuse recovery program will yield the desired results of abstinence and sobriety, individuals may want to consider the following:

These areas of consideration are defined by research studies published by the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, and the Journal of Addiction Medicine.

  1. Identify the most critical aspects of recovery: This includes understanding the root causes of substance abuse, developing coping strategies, building a support network, and setting achievable goals.

  2. Prioritize the most effective treatments: Evidence-based treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and medication-assisted treatment have been shown to be effective in treating substance abuse.

  3. Develop a personalized recovery plan: A recovery plan should be tailored to an individual's specific needs and goals, taking into account any co-occurring mental health conditions, social support, and lifestyle factors.

  4. Focus on building healthy habits: Substance abuse can often be linked to unhealthy habits, such as poor diet, lack of exercise, and inadequate sleep. Focusing on building healthy habits can help support overall recovery.

  5. Address any underlying trauma or emotional issues: Many individuals with substance abuse disorders have underlying trauma or emotional issues that may have contributed to their substance use. Addressing these issues through therapy or other supportive services can be critical to long-term recovery.

Approaches to substance misuse recovery

Recovery from substance misuse is a highly personal process that can occur via many pathways. While AA and NA are often the provided service inside correctional facilities, several alternatives to AA exist that are more secular and may align with individuals who do not find success in AA programs. Edovo offers a combination of AA-based materials and many alternatives. These alternatives generally ask individuals to find motivation within themselves and to learn internal control instead of seeking an external source of power.

In addition to cultivating internal control and motivation, research indicates that a holistic approach to an individual’s well-being across all areas of their life is essential for long-term substance abuse recovery. SAMSHA, The National Library of Medicine, and The University of Virginia, point to the following dimensions of recovery:

The importance of 12-step alternatives

Many individuals seeking treatment for substance misuse struggle to maintain consistent, long-term engagement, and 12-step groups are not attractive to a significant number of them. Treatment studies consistently indicate that during the year following treatment, most people fail to attend the recommended minimum of weekly treatment sessions.

Additionally, mandating participation in 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous presents legal and ethical concerns. Around 37% of publicly funded substance abuse treatment program admissions are mandated (Zenmore (2017), and several higher courts have ruled that mandating 12-step attendance violates the First Amendment due to the religious aspects of these programs. However, mandating attendance at 12-step programs as one option among multiple options, including secular alternatives, is permissible.

Research has shown that members of alternatives to 12-step programs tend to be less religious and have higher levels of education and income. Despite attending fewer in-person meetings, members of these alternatives report equivalent levels of involvement and higher satisfaction and cohesion compared to 12-step members. It is possible that some or all of these alternatives may be more appealing and effective for less religious clients, who have higher socioeconomic status, are older, do not have co-occurring drug or mental health problems, and are not committed to lifetime abstinence. (Zenmore (2017)

In response to the legal and ethical concerns of limiting the substance abuse treatment options raised in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, Edovo is committed to providing incarcerated individuals access to a wide variety of substance abuse recovery resources and programs.

Edovo’s approach and resources for substance misuse recovery

Since the substance misuse recovery process can vary significantly from one individual to another, Edovo understands that traditional 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous can be effective for many, but might not be suitable for all incarcerated individuals seeking to overcome addiction. Accordingly, Edovo has compiled a broad range of resources that cater to different recovery paths.

These resources fall into the categories recommended by SAMSHA and The National Library of Medicine as dimensions that are essential to substance abuse recovery. By providing these resources in a digital environment, incarcerated individuals have regular, judgment-free opportunities for self-reflection and evaluation, which can help them stay on track with their recovery objectives and pinpoint areas that require improvement.

Throughout this list of content, you will often see links to Insight, where staff can manage their Learner's activity, and Edovo Go. Remember that Staff with Insight accounts can log into Edovo Go and view their content as if they were an incarcerated Learner. We use this tool to provide an accurate and real-time experience that reflects facilities incarcerated Learners actual engagement. To learn more, check out this article.

Resources for health and exercise

Since 2006, The Phoenix’s free sober active community has inspired more than 192,000 people across America to believe they have the strength to rise from the ashes of addiction through the support of those who are walking that very same path. Through their message of physical fitness, The Phoenix aims to empower people in their journey towards sobriety. Their active sober living workout, yoga, and meditation videos have found success on the Edovo platform in part because they deliver their message through the voices of formerly incarcerated individuals who overcame addiction and now live a sober lifestyle on the outside. Check out the Phoenix Series through Edovo Go:

Resources for self-esteem and purpose

The Art of Soulmaking: The Path to Unconditional Freedom is an eight-week correspondence course about restoring dignity. Restoring dignity means restoring the idea that every single human being has a unique purpose and genius inside of them. The workbook is a monastery in a book. You will learn self-inquiry, yoga, and meditation, as well as have the opportunity to write with a pen pal on the outside. Soulmaking is about discovering who we are together. View the course here. The Abstinence Myth, a book by addiction expert Adi Jaffe, offers a new approach to addiction recovery. Jaffe draws on his personal experience and research to introduce the IGNTD recovery method, which challenges the traditional idea of abstinence and provides a personalized path to transformation. The book includes Jaffe's inspiring story, an explanation of the mythology of addiction, and the three IGNTD principles with nine steps to create a unique recovery path. The Abstinence Myth is a hopeful and practical guide for those seeking a new perspective on addiction and a way to move forward. View the eBook here.

The truth is: every person has the power to change their habits and their lives by rewiring their brains. That's the Rewired Belief, and it's at the heart of the online Rewired Program. Throughout ten self-paced modules, we'll explore self-care, communication, our thoughts, time management, stress management, boundaries, and self-love, which will help you rewire your brain for recovery and wellness. Each module includes an in-depth topic overview, an exercise, a journal prompt, a discussion question, and an affirmation that will reinforce the module's key takeaways. View the program here.

Resources for motivation and change

Seeking Substance Abuse Treatment is a program with the goals to stop drug use and allow people to lead active lives in the family, workplace, and community. One continual challenge, however, is keeping patients in treatment long enough for them to achieve this goal. That is why finding the right treatment for a person’s specific needs is critical. This course was put together with information provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. For more information visit

Youturn Health’s Individual Support video series was designed to provide information about substance misuse and give you the tools you need to make an accurate self-assessment of where you are in your journey. Topics include defining addition, the stages of change, environmental and emotional triggers and how to find purpose. View the video series here.

Resources for community

The Phoenix partnered with Edovo to create a set of custom digital curricula available exclusively on the Edovo tablet. These courses, which include workout videos, yoga, and meditation, as well as guided self-reflections and daily challenges, aim to bring The Phoenix's supportive community to the digital world. The courses are designed for incarcerated individuals to participate together with others in their facility, providing them with a sense of connection to The Phoenix's community while also finding support within their facility. In addition to dozens of active, sober living videos, these custom digital curricula offer a safe and guided way for incarcerated individuals to stay motivated and supported. Check out these courses:

Ben's Story is a video series designed to help incarcerated individuals feel connected to a wider community by sharing the story of Ben Williams. Ben Williams tells his story about incarceration and reentry into society. Incarceration is hard. Ben tells his story of re-entry and hope to those struggling with substance misuse. View the series here.

Resources for emotional intelligence

Fleet Maull and the Prison Mindfulness Institute (PMI) created the PMI: Path of Freedom video-based course to help you practice mindfulness as a tool to improve your everyday life and work towards your long-term goals. PMI is dedicated to providing the most effective, evidence-based tools for rehabilitation, self-transformation, and personal and professional development. Visit the course here.

Resources for spirituality

Recovering from addiction takes an enormous amount of courage and just admitting that you have a problem that you can't solve by yourself takes a ton of bravery. In Reflections and Recovery, you will learn about some practices that will help you recover from your addiction. Objectives include explaining how mindfulness and sobriety are related, discussing the benefits of practicing mindfulness-based sobriety, envisioning your life without your addiction, and more. View the course here.

Resources for employment

Recovery First Aid by Youturn Health is a virtual support program that bridges the gap between inaction and seeking treatment by making support accessible to employees grappling with stress, anxiety, depression, or suicidal ideation, wherever they are in their journey. The Recovery First Aid series covers topics like defining substance abuse, the impact of substance misuse in the workforce, how to recognize substance use disorder and tobacco use in the workplace. View the program here.

Resources for alcohol recovery from AA

12 Steps and Twelve Traditions audiobook comprises 24 foundational essays by Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Bill W. that have helped millions of A.A. members worldwide both to get and stay sober one day at a time and to ensure that their Fellowship — Alcoholics Anonymous as a whole — will be there for them tomorrow. Whether read aloud at meetings, referred to while working with a sponsor, or turned to in a quiet moment, The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions can serve as a vital resource for those seeking a deeper understanding of the Steps and Traditions. View the resource here.

The Language of the Heart: Bill W.'s Grapevine Writings features AA cofounder Bill W.’s writings in Grapevine, AA’s official International Journal. Bill was Grapevine’s most prolific contributor, writing more than 150 articles, from his first in June 1944 to his last in December 1970. Language of the Heart contains Bill’s first thoughts about AA’s Twelve Traditions, his battles with chronic depression and spiritual pride, memories of an all-night drinking spree with his dear friend Ebby and a vivid description of how he came to organize the Twelve Steps of AA. View the series here.

Stories of Recovery shares the stories of AA members who share their experience, strength, and hope in recovering from alcoholism. Expect both humor and inspiration as these AA members share their true stories. View the series here.

The purpose of A Guide Through the 12 Steps of Recovery is to allow you to reflect on the ways alcohol or substance use has affected your life. It provides educational material on the 12 steps of AA/NA as well as interactive reflective exercises. View the course here.

4th Edition Audiobook, known as the Big Book, the basic text of Alcoholics Anonymous has helped millions of people worldwide get and stay sober since the first edition appeared in 1939. Opening chapters articulate A.A.’s program of recovery from alcoholism — the original Twelve Steps — and recount the personal histories of A.A.'s co-founders, Bill W. and Dr. Bob. In the pages that follow, more than 40 A.A. members share how they stopped drinking and found a new healthier, and more serene way of life through the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. Whether reading passages at meetings, reading privately for personal reflection, or working with a sponsor, the Big Book can be a source of inspiration, guidance, and comfort on the journey to recovery. View the series here.

Living Sober Audiobook is AA's how-to manual for staying sober in everyday situations, this widely read booklet demonstrates through simple examples how A.A. members throughout the world live their lives to the fullest while staying sober one day at a time. From the foreword: Living sober turns out to be not at all grim, boring, and uncomfortable, as we had feared, but rather something we begin to enjoy and find much more exciting than our drinking days. Responding to commonly asked questions such as Should I go into bars? and Should I seek professional help? and covering popular topics such as romantic relationships in sobriety, Living Sober offers suggestions that can, over time, help alcoholics replace their old, destructive habits with new, healthier ones. An especially useful resource for the newcomer to Alcoholics Anonymous, Living Sober has helped countless A.A. members meet life on life’s terms while they move forward on their recovery path. View the series here.

It Works If We Work It: Practicing the Principles of AA comprises of stories by AA members about the Twelve Traditions, including topics such as: Can we be too anonymous? Is Tradition Three really the only requirement? Are there bosses in AA? Also features the essay “The Twelve Traditions: Our Key to Survival and Growth” by AA co-founder Bill W. Check out the audio resource here.

No Matter What: Dealing with Adversity in Sobriety is a powerful series of stories from AA members about using the tools to get through tough times in sobriety, including helpful stories about illness, divorce, financial loss, death of a child or sponsor, house fires, and more. View the resource here.

One-on-One: AA Sponsorship in Action covers topics like what a sponsor does and how you can get one. This book is full of members’ experiences about the challenges and joys of AA sponsorship. View the resource here.

Daily Reflections is a collection of readings moves through the calendar year one day — and one page — at a time. For every day, a favorite quotation from the literature of Alcoholics Anonymous is followed by an A.A. member’s personal reflection, making for daily reading that is at once inspired and inspiring. While focusing broadly on the Three Legacies of Recovery, Unity, and Service, this volume offers experience, strength, and hope on specific topics such as willingness, faith, making amends — themes that recovering alcoholics must address each day — and reminds us that we are never really alone in Alcoholics Anonymous. Whether using the day’s reading as a source for their morning meditation, discussing it with a sponsor, or sharing it with their home group, many in Alcoholics Anonymous consider Daily Reflection to be a critical tool in their spiritual toolkit. Features a topical index to help guide the discussion. View the resource here.

The Beginner's Book: Getting and Staying Sober in AA is full of useful suggestions, insights, and solutions for newcomers, this book features stories by AA members about what helped them get sober and successfully navigate early sobriety. View the book here.


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