A Social Ecology Model of Recovery and Recovery Capital – Recovery Cities

Dr. David Best

April 3rd, 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm

Exhibition Hall C – TELUS Convention Centre Calgary

A Social Ecology Model of Recovery and Recovery Capital

About this Session

There is a long tradition within the recovery housing approach and within therapeutic communities of a ‘social model’ of recovery as promoted by Thomasina Borkman. This is based on the idea that recovery is an intrinsically social process. However, it does not adequately account for broader contextual and societal effects, including recovery visibility. The presentation will use a recovery capital framework to present a model of recovery contagion where the context is essential in creating the stage for social conditions of recovery to apply. The model will draw on the concept of Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care and the global Inclusive Recovery Cities model

Learning Objectives

1. To understand the concept of community recovery capital and its role in challenging stigma and exclusion

2. To understand and be able to articulate what an Inclusive Recovery City is and how it can be operationalized

3. To be aware of and able to cite the most recent evidence about recovery and recovery capital


1. Best, D. (2019) Pathways to desistance and recovery: The role of the social contagion of hope. Policy Press: Bristol.
2. Best, D. & Colman, C. (eds)(2019) Strengths-based approaches to crime and substance use: From drugs and crime to desistance and recovery. Routledge: London.
3. Best , D., Sondhi,A., Best, J., Lehmann, J. Grimes, A., Connor, M. & De Triquet, B. (2023) Using Recovery Capital to Predict Retention and Change in Recovery Residences in Virginia, USA, Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 41:2, 250-262
4. Best, D., Sondhi, A., Hoffman, L., Best, J., Leild, A., Grimes, A., Conner, M., DeTriquet, R., White, W., Hilliard, B., Leonard, K. & Hutchinson, A. (2023) Bridging the gap: Building and sustaining recovery capital in the transition from prison to recovery residences, Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, DOI: 1080/10509674.2023.228648.
5. Bunaciu, A., Bliuc, A-M., Best, D., Hennessy, E., Belanger, M. & Benwell, C. (2023) Measuring recovery capital for people recovering from alcohol and drug addiction: a systematic review, Addiction Research & Theory, DOI: 10.1080/16066359.2023.2245323


David Best is Professor and Director of the Centre for Addiction Recovery Research at Leeds Trinity University. He is also President of the Recovery Outcomes Institute in Florida, and an Affiliate Senior Scientist at the Public Health Institute in Caliifornia. He holds honorary professorial posts at the Australian National University and Monash University in Melbourne. He is also Chair of the Prison Research Network the British Society of Criminology. He is also extremely old and struggles to remember where he is much of the time

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