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Support System: Support a Life in Recovery with the Four Dimensions

This article will discuss the four dimensions of recovery and how you can use them to support a loved one going through recovery.  

What Are the Four Dimensions?

The Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration, also known as SAMHSA, provides the following working definition of recovery from mental disorders, as well as substance abuse disorders: “A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.” The four dimensions are a concept developed by SAMHSA to support life in recovery and guide individuals toward a more healthy, happy, fulfilling life, free of addiction. These dimensions include health, home, purpose, and community. 

Why Are the Dimensions Important?

These pillars function together, so it is vital that addicts strive to have all four in their lives. For example, if you are healthy and you have a strong community, but you do not have a stable home life, overcoming substance abuse may be more difficult for you. If even one of these pillars is absent from your life, the chances are that is an area you sorely need to improve in. It is important to keep the four dimensions in mind when supporting an addict in recovery because you will be able to better navigate helping them to live a full, well-rounded life. If your loved one is struggling in their recovery, consider what pillar they could be missing or need improvement on, and support them as they strengthen this area in their lives. 


Maintaining or improving your health is the first step in making any positive change. This dimension involves overcoming addiction in a mentally and physically healthy way or managing the symptoms of one’s disease.  Ways for individuals to uphold the health dimension of their recovery include:
  • Abstaining from drugs and alcohol if they struggle with addiction – It can be easy to take on a new addiction to replace an old one that we felt to be more harmful, but this just creates a persistent cycle of addiction and recovery. 
  • Creating a sustainable routine of healthy eating, exercise, and regular sleep – Getting proper nutrition, enough sleep, and regular exercise have all been proven to elevate your mood and reduce stress. 
  • Regularly taking any necessary medication(s) – Medication prescribed by your doctor can be a powerful tool in maintaining your physical and mental health, but only if taken as prescribed. 
  • Attending any recommended therapy or counseling sessions – Health is not just physical. Counseling and therapy are valuable tools to overcoming the mental chains of addiction.
  • Maintaining proper hygiene – Properly caring for your body is essential for both your health and self-esteem. When you look your best, you are more likely to feel your best. 
Overall, upholding the health pillar during recovery means that the individual will strive to make decisions that will support their mental and physical wellbeing. This is vital because when an addict manages their health during recovery, they will be less likely to rely on their substance of choice for support. 


The home dimension refers to a stable, safe, and consistent environment to live in. Having a stable home life can keep individuals out of places where they may be tempted to relapse in their recovery. It may be time to seek a new housing situation if:
  • You are homeless – Being homeless can be very difficult both mentally and physically. Look into homelessness resources available in your area. 
  • You live in an unstable environment – If you live in constant fear of upset in your current housing situation, it will be difficult to focus your attention on recovery. 
  • You live with individuals in active addiction – It can be difficult to be surrounded by addictive behavior while changing your lifestyle.
  • You live with individuals who are not supportive of your recovery – You must be surrounded by support while you make this big transition. 
  • You live with people who have been enabling your addiction – Those who have been enabling your addiction are likely to enable it again in case of relapse. 


We all strive for and seek out purpose in our daily lives. Supporting the purpose pillar means that a recovering addict wakes up each day with something to do and a goal in mind. It is imperative that the recovering addict find purpose in daily activities, such as work, school, volunteerism, or family. Purpose provides a reason for the addict to stay sober and gives them something to lean onto. 


The community dimension refers to the relationships and social networks that provide the recovering addict with support, love, and hope. A person’s community is vital to recovery and success. Your community can be made up of anyone, but some common ways to find community include:
  • Friends or family members who are supportive of your recovery
  • Members of a church or ecclesiastical organization
  • Classmates
  • Members of a volunteer organization
  • Group members from a club
The purpose and community pillars can go hand in hand, as the individuals from an organization that you find purpose in (work, school, volunteerism) can also function as community members who will support you during your recovery. It is vital that whatever community members you choose, they are supportive, non-enablers who are not in active addiction. 

Contact Ardu Recovery Center 

Thank you for learning more about the four dimensions in order to support your loved one in recovery. If it is time to get professional help in the fight against addiction, consider contacting the experts at Ardu Recovery Center. At Ardu, we take a medical and holistic approach to drug and alcohol addiction treatment because we believe that wellness is equally mental and physical. We offer a wide array of detox and rehabilitation services so that you can do what works best for you, giving you a higher chance of success. Reach out to us today to schedule a tour of our beautiful rehabilitation center in Provo, Utah, and see if Ardu could be a good fit for you.