A Recovery Bill of Rights for
By Thomas V. Maguire, Ph.D.
Copyright 1995-97 Thomas V. Maguire, Ph.D. Ver.3.0
(04/97); latest from firstname.lastname@example.org.
All rights reserved, except that permission is hereby
granted to freely reproduce and distribute this document, provided the text is reproduced
unaltered and entire (including this notice) and is distributed free of charge.
By virtue of your personal
Authority You have the Right to . . .
▪ Manage your life according to your
own values and judgment.
▪ Direct your recovery, answerable to
no one for your goals or progress.
▪ Gather information to make
intelligent decisions about your recovery.
▪ Seek help from many sources,
unhindered by demands for exclusivity.
▪ Decline help from anyone without
having to justify the decision.
▪ Believe in your ability to heal and
seek allies who share your faith.
▪ Trust allies in healing so far as
one human can trust another.
▪ Be afraid and avoid what frightens
▪ Decide for yourself whether, when,
and where to confront fear.
▪ Learn by experimenting, that is,
To guard your
personal Boundaries You have the Right to . . .
▪ Be touched only with, and within the
limits of, your consent.
▪ Speak or remain silent, about any
topic and at any time, as you wish.
▪ Choose to accept or decline
feedback, suggestions, or interpretations.
▪ Ask for help in healing, without
having to accept help with everything.
▪ Challenge any crossing of your
▪ Take action to stop a trespass that
does not cease when challenged.
For the integrity of your personal
Communication You have the Right to . . .
▪ Ask for explanation of
communications you do not understand.
▪ Express a contrary view when you do
understand and you disagree.
▪ Acknowledge your feelings, without
having to justify them.
▪ Ask for changes when your needs are
not being met.
▪ Speak of your experience, without
apology for your uncertainties.
▪ Resolve doubt without deferring to
the views or wishes of anyone.
For safety in
Dependency in Therapy You have the Right to . . .
▪ Hire a therapist or counselor as
coach, not boss, of your recovery.
▪ Receive expert and faithful
assistance in healing from your therapist.
▪ Know that your therapist will never
have any other relationship with you-business, social, or sexual.
▪ Be secure against any disclosure by
your therapist, except with your consent or under court order.
▪ Hold your therapist's undivided
loyalty in relation to all abusers.
▪ Obtain informative answers to
questions about your condition, your therapist's qualifications, and any proposed
▪ Have your safety given priority by
your therapist, to the point of readiness to use all lawful means to neutralize an
imminent threat to your life or that of someone else.
▪ Receive a commitment from your
therapist that is not conditional on your "good behavior" (habitual crime and
▪ Make clear and reliable agreements
about the times of sessions and of your therapist's availability.
▪ Telephone your therapist between
scheduled sessions, in urgent need, and receive a return call within a reasonable time.
▪ Be taught skills that lessen the
risk of re-traumatization:
▪ containment (boundaries for recovery
▪ control of attention and mental imagery;
▪ systematic relaxation.
▪ Enjoy reasonable physical comfort