What is Recovery Capital

Research has shifted from the pathology and short-term addiction treatment modalities to include more focused attention to recovery.  Conference participants will learn those factors that seem to make people with substance use disorders more resilient.  These characteristics have been termed ‘Recovery Capital’, defined by Granfield and Cloud as “The breadth and depth of internal and external resources that can be drawn upon to initiate and sustain Recovery from alcohol and other drug problems”.

Recovery Capital is not a fixed value, it diminishes during active addiction and increases during sustained recovery.  Recovery Capital may be grouped in four categories – internal: human and physical; and external: social and cultural.

Recovery Capital interacts with problem severity to shape the intensity and duration of support needed to initiate and sustain recovery.  Re-evaluation of Recovery Capital during the recovery journey may be used to determine quality and even duration of successful sustained recovery from addiction.

Research has shown that difficulties arise when trying to introduce evidence based guidelines into routine practice when approaching one population in the continuum care (e.g. providing evidenced based guidelines to just physicians, and no one else). Change in practice is most effective when comprehensive approaches are taken at different levels of the continuum of care (e.g. physicians, outpatient agencies, inpatient agencies, first responders, policy makers, etc.)


“Substantial evidence suggests that to change behaviour is possible, but this change generally requires comprehensive approaches at different levels (doctor, team practice, hospital, wider environment), tailored to specific settings and target groups.”

From best evidence to best practice: effective implementation of change in patients’ care

Grol, Richard et al. The Lancet , Volume 362 , Issue 9391 , 1225 – 1230


the most promising strategy for sustained, substantive school improvement is developing the ability of school personnel to function as professional learning communities”.

DuFour, R. Eaker, R. Professional Learning Communities at Work – Best Practices for Enhancing Student Achievement, Solution Tree Press, 1998


Using the theory that in order to create change in best practices you must create a “professional learning community” at different levels of the continuum of care, we intend to gather individuals that participate at all levels of the continuum of care together and create a professional learning community to collectively implement systemic change in the addiction treatment field.

Prior to this idea taking shape there have been symposiums and conferences that gather specific fields of professionals together, such as psychologists, or physicians, or counsellors, never before has there been such a comprehensive effort to include delegates from the continuum of care in addiction treatment.

Register for the Recovery Capital Conference today!


The Portuguese Experience. New Approach to Drug Policy,

“Dr. João Goulão, Portugal

Room Main Ballroom September 7th 8:30 am

Director-General of The General-Directorate for Intervention on Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies (SICAD) in Lisbon, Portugal

Presentation Description

The Portuguese Experience. New Approach to Drug Policy, It’s more than just decriminalization

The aim is to provide to the audience the historical context that led Portugal to the decision of decriminalizing drug use and possession for use; an overview on the responses developed as a result of the 1999 National Strategy on Drugs, which included this proposal among many others (the development of a network of services for prevention, treatment, harm reduction and social reintegration of people with drug related problems). Some results of those policies will be presented.

To clarify some myths still present around the so-called “Portuguese Model”; better explain that using drugs is still forbidden and punished in Portugal under administrative procedures, although it’s no longer considered a crime.


Learning Objectives

  • To explain how a comprehensive set of policies was put in place in the last 16 years, and why it’s not possible to directly import models from other countries


Addiction and Trauma: Strengthening Young Adult Recovery

Dr. Claudia Black

Room: Main Ballroom September 7 3:30 pm to 5 pm

Presentation Description

Recognize relationship of emotional dysregulation to addictions, identify dynamics of developmental trauma, list eight core elements to a healthy treatment process.

Working with the young adult with addictive disorders most often also means working with co-occurring disorders of anxiety and depression. This presentation will focus on the dynamics of underlying trauma that fuel these disorders.  Recognizing not just blatant traumas, but addressing developmental trauma is significant in their treatment.   Claudia will conclude by addressing treatment protocol that recognizes the development needs of this age group that is different from their older counterparts.

Learning Objectives

  • Recognize relationship of emotional dysregulation to addictions
  • Identify dynamics of developmental trauma
  • List eight core elements to a healthy treatment process

Drugs: Breaking the Cycle

Dr. Neil McKeganey, Scotland

Director of the Centre for Substance Use Glasgow Scotland

ROOM Main Ballroom 3:20 – 5 pm

Presentation Description:

Drugs: Breaking the Cycle

Using “Recovery Capital” to change the dynamics of communication and influence, ensuring health and well-being are at the centre of policy and planning.

In this presentation I will outline relevant experience from the UK on establishing a focus on recovery and recovery capital within drug treatment policy and practice. The presentation will consider some of the obstacles to establishing a focus on recovery and recovery capital and considers the ways in which treatment practice may need to change to develop an enhanced focus upon recovery. The presentation will consider the contribution not only of professional treatment staff in realizing the goals of a recovery focused drug treatment system but also the importance of moving beyond a narrow focus on client and provider.


Learning Objectives

  • To form a clear understanding of the contribution of a recovery focus in drug treatment policy and provision.
  • To better understand the potential challenges to developing a recovery focus in drug treatment policy and provision.
  • To critically consider the roles and responsibilities that may attach to treatment provider and client within an expanded understanding of recovery work.

Teaching Non-Alcoholic Professionals the Language of Heart

ROOM: Studio 411, 10:50 to 12:30

Dr. George Vaillant, Psychiatrist and Professor at Harvard Medical School

An empirical 60 year follow up of how the 12 Steps of AA and group membership render AA the most effective treatment modality for drug addiction.

To understand the power of positive emotions and unconditional acceptance in AA groups

Learning Objectives:

  • To understand the importance of sustained AA attendance
  • To understand the principles of relapse prevention

What Is Recovery?

Elements that define recovery and the Science of Recovery systems.

Room – Studio 411 September 7, 1:30 to 3 pm

Dr. Jane Witbrodt, Alcohol Research Group, Associate Scientist, Formal and informal solutions to recovery from substance use disorders with emphasis on gender, racial/ethnic and cross-cultural differences.

Presentation Description:

Addictions medicine has long possessed reliable instruments for diagnosing substance abuse disorders. However, a way of measuring the opposite end of the problem spectrum – recovery – has been missing. The first large scale U.S. study provided an empirically-derived definition of recovery based on how it is experienced by those who actually live it. To uncover the definition of recovery, intensive qualitative and quantitative research was conducted, culminating in an online survey that was completed by 9,341 people experiencing different pathways to recovery. These pathways included treatment, 12-step groups, non-12-step groups, medication-assisted recovery, and natural recovery. The study identified 39 recovery elements that define recovery. These elements are grouped into five areas: abstinence in recovery, essentials of recovery, enriched recovery, spirituality of recovery, and uncommon elements of recovery. Results may be useful for reducing stigma and opening dialog about addiction, because the definition clearly demonstrates many positive “ways of being” that define recovery.

Learning objectives:

1) gain an understanding of the mixed research methods used (including use of a large scale online survey) to create a definition of recovery;

2) identify elements of recovery as described and lived by people in recovery across the U.S.; and

3) learn how the recovery elements can used by clinicians and other service providers to help clients prepare for a life in recovery, family members to help them understand what to expect when loved ones get into recovery, and others, in general, to reduce the stigma often associated with addiction.



Addiction Recovery Management From Theory to Practice

Addiction Recovery Management From theory to practice: key messages from the current knowledge base on Recovery Oriented Systems of Care.

ROOM: Main Ballroom September 8, 2017 8 am to 10:30 am

Dr.  John Kelly, Lead Scientist on Recovery, Harvard, Addiction Recovery Management

Presentation Description

The clinical course of addiction is often a chronic one characterized by several episodes of treatment and shorter periods of remission and relapse, before full sustained remission is achieved. Although the majority of individuals with substance use disorder achieve full sustained remission, it is noteworthy that it takes several years following the achievement of full sustained remission before the risk of meeting criteria for substance use disorder in the following year is no higher than the general population.

This indicates that ongoing recovery monitoring and management over the long-term may be required to facilitate long-term recovery. This talk highlights the chronic course of substance use disorder and reviews the interventions and recovery support services that have shown to be helpful in mobilizing and supporting remission as well as the mechanisms of behavior change through which they work.

Learning objectives:

By the end of this presentation participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the clinical course of addiction based on clinical scientific findings
  2. Name three emerging recovery support services intended to extend and support recovery
  3. Understand the empirical basis for shifts in language and terminology in the addiction field.

Life in Recovery from Addiction Survey inspires Recovery Capital Conference of Canada.

On May 25th in St. Johns the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) and the National Recovery Advisory Committee (NRAC) announced the Canadian Survey: Life in Recovery from Addiction findings.  Recovery is linked to positive citizenship — engagement with family, friends, the community and the workforce.

The September 4 – 10th, Recovery Week, inspired by the survey’s findings, includes the Recovery Capital Conference of Canada and Recovery Day BC. The September 7-8th educational conference, features international speakers, followed by a free street festival on September 9th in New Westminster BC.

The recovery advocacy movement is being heard across Canada.  Recovery advocates continue to alert policy makers to the millions of people, once suffering silently from addiction, who now live healthy, drug-free and engaged lives. This is possible with the help of evidence-based Recovery Oriented Systems of Care (ROSC).

British Columbia as well as Canada is facing an overdose epidemic.  At the Recovery Capital Conference of Canada delegates will learn about how Canadians receiving Opioid agnostic therapies has skyrocketed since 2010, unlike Portugal who claims a drastic reduction receiving similar treatment and the lowest mortality rate from overdoses.  Before Vancouver considers decriminalization or legalization, we must talk and take pause to reevaluate our systems of care.

Decriminalization and legalization may be on the minds of harm reduction advocates, but this may not be the pathway that the media-quoted “Portuguese Experience” charted. The full account of the Portugal Model and what BC and Canada could take from it to support Canada’s efforts in saving lives during the opioid overdose crisis will be explored during the Conference. Dr. João Goulão, Portugal, a keynote Speaker among other international addiction recovery professionals will speak during the two day conference.


The City of New Westminster will host Stakeholder meetings during recovery week so that policy makers, government, health authorities and community organizations can both attend Dr. Goulão presentation and come together to foster meaningful dialogue about recovery capital recovery oriented systems of care, and resilience to inform policies, and practices. Addiction research, often identifies on pharmaceutical interventions as best practice, whereas Recovery research focuses its efforts on quality of life – showing recovery is a realistic and viable outcome.

This conference seeks to eliminate silos and move our recovery communities towards the creation of better comprehensive systems of health care for all Canadians.  Opiate replacement therapy is not going to solve the overdose crisis on its own; recovery capital must be fostered. Simply put, Recovery Capital, at the individual and systems level is the breadth and depth of internal and external resources that can be drawn upon to initiate and sustain Recovery from substances.

The 6th annual Recovery Day BC located at 6th and 6th in Uptown New Westminster will see over 8,000 people celebrating recovery from addiction and mental health.  For those who want to learn more about local mental health and addiction services, there will be over 50 health and wellness information booths to gather information from.  The festival will also feature a live music stage, a street circus celebrating Canada 150, a TEDx Speaker Style Stage, Kids Zone, Memorial Tent, a Province wide Moment of Silence to honour the victims of the overdose crisis at 3 pm, Healing Circle, and a research gathering exhibit.

REGISTER TODAY for the conference.

More details on Recovery Day here –  www.RecoveryDayBC.com 

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