The Science of Recovery Capital
Recovery Capital is the breadth and depth of internal and external resources that can be drawn upon to initiate and sustain recovery1,2. Attention to Recovery Capital focuses on fostering resiliency and encompasses the strengths and supports individuals and services integrate into the practice of lived recovery. It is linked to natural (unassisted) recovery, solution-focused therapy, strengths-based case management, recovery resilience and protective factors, and the ideas of hardiness, wellness, and global health3.
Recovery Capital is not a fixed value, it diminishes during active addiction and increases during sustained recovery. Recovery Capital may be grouped into four categories – internal: human and physical; and external: social and cultural.
Human and Physical – includes housing, employment, nutrition, education, personal resources, mental, spiritual and emotional health, knowledge, coping, well being, mindfulness, physical fitness, financial responsibility
Social and Cultural – encompasses community attitudes and recovery supports; policymaker knowledge and policies and resources related to recovery; active efforts to reduce stigma; visible and diverse recovery role models, accessible sources of sustained recovery supports, recovery peer resources and early intervention; beliefs, sense of personal choice social integration, connection to purpose; availability of multiple pathways to recovery, community assets, Recovery-focused systems of care.
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 the quality and even duration of successful sustained recovery from addiction.
At the core of Recovery Capital is the ideas of social capital –strong therapeutic landscapes, emotional intelligence and the pivotal experience of a sense of belonging. All of which can support recovery if recovery networks are not stigmatized. Recovery Capital has four overlapping dimensions – personal, social, community and cultural capital. The Recovery Capital Conference goals are to explore the components of community and cultural Recovery Capital by fostering dialogue and mobilizing strategic focuses to effectively impact and improve individual and community Recovery Capital.
The quality and quantity of Recovery Capital determine the success or failure of natural and assisted long term recovery1,4,5,6. Recovery Capital is not equally distributed, resources made available are vast and varied, and elements of Recovery Capital vary in importance within stages of recovery7. Recovery-oriented systems of care from the policy level to the grassroots front-line efforts can either augment or nullify the quality and quantity of Recovery Capital for individuals seeking our help8. As such, Recovery Capital must involve more than short term clinical and medical interventions
Enhanced attention to Recovery Capital is a shift in focus from the pathology of addiction to a focus on the assets required to initiate and sustain long-term recovery3. The international recovery day movement is a key example of this. It has increased the visibility of therapeutic landscapes, decreased ignorance towards the possibility of recovery and reduced social exclusion and discrimination9,10.
Building and sustaining Recovery Capital within systems of care is a complex undertaking. Stronger Connections = Stronger communities can enhance people’s quality of life in long-term recovery and reduce the social stigma of recovery11
- Granfield, R., & Cloud, W. (1999). Coming clean: Overcoming addiction without treatment. New York: New York University Press.
- Cloud, W., & Granfield, R. (2004). A life-course perspective on exiting addiction: The relevance of Recovery Capital in treatment. NAD Publication (Nordic Council for Alcohol and Drug Research) 44, 185202.
- White, W. & Cloud, W. (2008). Recovery Capital: A primer for addictions professionals. Counsellor, 9(5), 22-27.
- Granfield, R., & Cloud, W. (1996). The elephant that no one sees: Natural recovery among middle-class addicts. Journal of Drug Issues, 26(1), 45-61.
- Kaskutas, L. A., Bond, J., & Humphreys, K. (2002). Social networks as mediators of the effects of Alcoholics Anonymous. Addiction, 97(7), 891-900.
- Moos, R.H., & Moos, B.S. (2007). Protective resources and long-term recovery from alcohol use disorders. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 86, 46-54.
- Laudet, A. B., & White, W. L. (2008). Recovery Capital as Prospective Predictor of Sustained Recovery, Life satisfaction and Stress among former poly-substance users. Substance Use & Misuse, 43(1), 27–54. http://doi.org/10.1080/10826080701681473
- Dingle, Cruwys, & Frings (2015) Social Identities as Pathways into and out of Addiction. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1795
- Wilton, R. and DeVerteuil, G. 2006: Spaces of sobriety/sites of power: examining social model alcohol recovery programs as therapeutic landscapes. Social Science and Medicine 63, 649-61
- Best, D., Lubman, D., Savic, M., Wilson, A., Dingle, G., Haslam, S. A., et al. (2014). Social and transitional identity: exploring social networks and their significance in a therapeutic community setting. Ther. Communities 35, 10–20. doi: 10.1108/TC-04-2013-0007
- Best, D. (2015). An unlikely hero? Challenging stigma through visibility and community action.
Further publications pertaining to Recovery Capital may be found here:
- https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07 347324.2017.1318647
- https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07 347324.2016.1256718
- https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10 826084.2017.1341925
- https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/16 066359.2016.1185661
Recovery Capital Bibliography
From William L. White Recovery Research Bibliography
Albertson, K., Irving, J. & Best. D. (2015). A social capital approach to assisting veterans through recovery and distance transitions in civilian life. The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 54(4), 384-396.
Almedon, A. (2005) Social capital and mental health: An interdisciplinary review of primary evidence, Social Science and Medicine, 61, 943-964.
Bathish, R., Best, D., Savic, M. & Lubman, D. (2017). “Is it me or should friends take credit?” The role of social networks in recovery from addiction. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 47(1), 35-46.
Beckwith. M., Best, D., Savic, M….& Lubman, D. I. (2019). Social identity mapping in addiction recovery (SIM-AR): extension and application of a visual method. Addiction Research and Theory, January, DOI: 10.1080/16 066359.2018.1544623
Beattie, M. C. (2001). Meta-analysis of social relationships and posttreatment drinking outcomes: Comparison of relationship structure, function and quality. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 62(4), 518–527.
Beattie, M.C., & Longabaugh, R. (1999). General and alcohol-specific social support following treatment. Addictive Behaviors, 593–606.
Bergman, B.G., Kelly, N., Hoeppner, B.B., & Kelly, J.F. (2017). Digital recovery management: Characterizing recovery-specific social network site participation and perceived benefit. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 31(4). DOI: 10.1037.adb0000255.
Best, D., Andersson, C., Irving, J. and Edwards, M. (2017). Recovery Identity and Wellbeing: Is It Better to be ‘Recovered ‘or ‘in Recovery’? Journal of Groups in Addiction & Recovery, 12(1), 27-36.
Best, D. & Aston, E.. (2015). Long-term recovery from addiction: criminal justice involvement and positive criminology.” Pp. 177-193 in Positive Criminology, edited by Natti Ronel and Dana Segev. New York: Routledge.
Best, D., Beckwith, M., Haslam, C., Alexander Haslam, S., Jetten, J., Mawson, E. and Lubman, D.I. (2016). Overcoming alcohol and other drug addiction as a process of social identity transition: The Social Identity Model of Recovery (SIMOR). Addiction Research & Theory, 24(2), 111-123.
Best, D., Beswick, T., Hodgkins, S. & Idle, M. (2016). Recovery, ambitions, and aspirations: An exploratory project to build a recovery community by generating a skilled recovery workforce. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 34(1), 3-14.
Best, D., Bird, K., & Hunton, L. (2015). Recovery as a social phenomenon: What is the role of the community in supporting and enabling recovery? In N. Ronel, & D. Segev (Eds.), Positive criminology (pp. 194-207). Abingdon, England: Routledge.
Best, D. & Coleman, C. (2018). Let’s celebrate recovery inclusive cities working together to support social cohesion. Addiction Research & Theory.
Best, D., Edwards, M., Cano, I., Durrance, J., Lehman, J. & White, W. (in press). Strengths planning for guiding recovery capital. Counselor.
Best, D., Edwards, M., Mama-Rudd, A, Cano, I., & Lehman, J. (2016). Measuring an individual’s recovery barriers and strengths. Addiction Professional. November 1, 2016. Accessed January 16, 2019 at https://www.addictionpro.com/article/special-populations/measuring-individuals-recovery-barriers-and-strengths?page=3
Best, D., Gow, J., Knox, T., Taylor, A., Groshkova, T., & White, W. (2011). Mapping the recovery stories of drinkers and drug users in Glasgow: Quality of life and its predictors. Drug and Alcohol Review, 31(3), 334-441.
Best, D., Gow, J., Knox, T., Taylor, A., Groshkova, T., & White, W. (2012). Mapping the recovery stories of drinkers and drug users in Glasgow: Quality of life and its associations with measures of recovery capital. Drug & Alcohol Review, 31(3), 334-341. doi: 10.1111/j.1465-3362.2011.00321.x
Best, D. Gow, J., Knox, T., Taylor, & White, W. (2011). Recovery from heroin or alcohol dependence: A qualitative account of the recovery experience in Glasgow. Journal of Drug Issues, 41(3), 359-377.
Best, D., Haslam, C. Staiger, P. K., […]Lubman, D. I. (2016). Social Networks and Recovery (SONAR): characteristics of a longitudinal outcome study in five therapeutic communities in Australia. Therapeutic Communities: the International Journal for Therapeutic and Supportive Organizations, 37(3), 131-139.
Best, D., Honor, S. Karpusheff, J., Loudon, L. Hall, R., Groshkova, T., & White, W. (2012). Well-being and recovery functioning among substance users engaged in post-treatment recovery support groups. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 30, 397-406.
Best, D., Irving, J. Collinson, B., Andersson, C. & Edwards, M. (2016). Recovery networks and community connections: Identifying connection needs and community linkage opportunities in early recovery populations, Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 35(1), 2-15. DOI: 10.1080/07 347324.2016.1256718
Best, D., & Laudet, A. (2010). The potential of recovery capital. RSA Projects. Royal Society for the Arts.
Best, D., & Lubman, D. (2016). Friends matter but so does their substance use: The impact of social networks on substance use, offending and wellbeing among young people attending specialist alcohol and drug treatment services, Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, Advance online publication. doi:10.3109/09 687637.2016.1149148
Best, D., Lubman, I., Savic, M., Wilson, A., Dingle, G., Alexander Haslam S., & Jetten, J. (2014). Social and transitional identity: exploring social networks and their significance in a therapeutic community setting. Therapeutic Communities, 35, 10–20.
Best, D., McKitterick, T., Beswick, T., & Savic, M. (2015). Recovery capital and social networks among people in treatment and in recovery in York, England. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 33(3), 270-282.
Best, D., Musgrove, A., & Hall, L. (2018). The bridge between social identity and community capital on the path to recovery and desistance. Probation Journal, July, DOI: 10.1177/026455 0518790677. https://doi.org/10.1177/0264550518790677
Best, D., Savic, M., Beckwith, M., Honor, S., Karpusheff, J., & Lubman, D. I. (2013). The role of abstinence and activity in the quality of life of drug users engaged in treatment. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 45(3), 273–279. doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2013.02.010
Bluic, A-M., Best, D., Iqbal, M. & Upton, K. (2017). Building recovery capital through online participation in a recovery community. Social Science of Medicine. IN PRESS.
Boardman, J. D., Finch, B. K., Ellison, C. G., Williams, D. R., & Jackson, J. S. (2001). Neighborhood disadvantage, stress, and drug use among adults. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 42(2), 151-165.
Boeri, M., Gardner, M., Gerken, E. …, & Wheeler, J. (2016). “I don’t know what fun is”: Examining the intersection of social capital, social networks, and social recovery. Drugs and Alcohol Today, 16(1), 95-105.
Boeri M, Lamonica AK, Harbry L. (2011). Social Recovery, social capital, and drug courts. Prac Anthropol, 33, 8–13.
Bradshaw, S.D., Shumway, S.T., Wang, E.W. & Harris, K. (2014). Addiction and the mediation of hope on craving, readiness, and coping. Journal of Groups in Addiction & Recovery, 9(4), 294-312.
Brown, M. & Ross, S. (2010) Mentoring, social capital and desistance: A study of women released from prison. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 43(1), 31–50.
Brown, S., Tracy, E. M., Jun, M., Park, H., & Min, M. O. (2015). Personal network recovery enablers and relapse risks for women with substance dependence. Qualitative Health Research, 25(3), 371.
Brown, S., Victor, B., Hicks, L. & Tracy, E.M. (2016). Recovery support mediates the relationship between parental warmth and quality of life among women with substance use disorders. Quality of Life Research, 26(5), 1327–1335. DOI: 10.1007/s11136-016-1453-9.
Buchanan, A. S. & Latkin, C. (2008). Drug use in the social network of heroin and cocaine users before and after drug cessation. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 96(3), 286–289.
Buckingham, S. A., Frings, D., & Albery, I. P. (2013). Group membership and social identity in addiction recovery. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 27(4), 1132-1140.
Burns, J., & Marks, D. (2013). Can recovery capital predict addiction problem severity? Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 31(3), 303. doi: 10.1080/07 347324.2013.800430
Callahan, S. & Jason, L. A. (2018). Contextual perspectives on heroin addiction and recovery: classic and contemporary theories. International Archives of Public Health and Community Medicine, 2(1), 2.009, December. DOI: 10.23937/iaphcm-2017/1710009
Callahan S., & Jason L. A. (2017). A novel approach to understanding a recovering persons’ relationship dynamics: Injection heroin users. J Addict Behav Ther.
Campbell, R., Duffy, K., Gaughan, M., & Mochrie, M. (2011). Serenity Cafe-on the road to recovery capital. Journal of Groups in Addiction & Recovery, 6(1-2), 132-163. doi: 10.1080/1556035X.2011.571129
Cano, I., Best, D., Edwards, M., & Lehman, J. (2017). Recovery capital pathways: Mapping the components of recovery wellbeing. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 181, 11–19. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.09.002
Chen, G. (2018). Building recovery capital: The role of “hitting bottom” in desistance and recovery from substance abuse and crime. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 50(5), 420-429. DOI: 10.1080/02 791072.2018.1517909
Chen, G.(2006). Social support, spiritual program and addiction recovery. Int J Offender Ther Comp Criminol., 50, 306–323.
Cheney, A. M., Booth, B. M., Borders, T. F., & Curran, G. M. (2016). The role of social capital in African Americans’ attempt to reduce and quit cocaine use. Substance Use & Misuse, 51(6), 77-87.
Clone, S., & Dehart, D. (2014). Social support networks of incarcerated women: Types of support, sources of support, and implications for reentry. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 53(7), 503–521. https://doi.org/10.1080/10 509674.2014.944742.
Cloud, W., & Granfield, R. (1994). Terminating addiction naturally: Post-addict identity and the avoidance of treatment. Clinical Sociology Review, 12(1), 159-174.
Cloud, W., & Granfield, R. (2001). Natural recovery from substance dependency: Lessons for treatment providers. Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, 1(1), 83-104. doi: 10.1300/J160v01n01_07
Cloud, W., & Granfield, R. (2004). The social process of exiting addiction: A life course perspective. In J. Blomqvist, A. Koski-Jannes, & L. Ojesjo (Eds.), Addiction and life course (pp. 185-202). Helsinki: Nordic Council on Alcohol and Drug Research.
Cloud W, Granfield R. 2004. A life course perspective on exiting addiction: The relevance of recovery capital in treatment. Publication no. 44. NAD Publication; p. 185–202.
Cloud, W., & Granfield, R. (2008). Conceptualizing recovery capital: Expansion of a theoretical construct. Substance Use & Misuse, 43(12-13), 1971-1986.
Collier, C., Hilliker, R., & Onwuegbuzie, A. (2014). Alternative peer group: A model for youth recovery. Journal of Groups in Addiction & Recovery, 9(1), 40–53. https://doi.org/10.1080/1556035X.2013.836899
Collins, A. & Mccamley, A. (2018). Quality of life and better than well: a mixed method study of long-term (post five years) recovery and recovery capital. Drugs and Alcohol Today, 18(4), 217-226. https://doi.org/10.1108/DAT-11-2017-0059
Connolly, K. & Granfield, R. (2017). Building recovery capital: The role of faith-based communities in the reintegration of formerly incarcerated drug offenders. Journal of Drug Issues, March 12. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022042617696916
Corrigan,P.W., Morris, S., Larson, J., et al. (2010). Self membership and social identity in addiction recovery. Journal of Community Psychology, 38, 259–275.
Cunningham JA, Lin E, Ross HE,WalshGW(2000) Factors associated with untreated remissions from alcohol abuse or dependence. Addictive Behaviors, 25, 317–321.
Davey, M. A., Latkin, C. A., Hua, W., Tobin, K. E., Strathdee, S. (2007) Individual and social network factors that predict entry to drug treatment. Am J Addict. 16, 38-45.
Davis, M. I. & Jason. L. A. (2005) Sex differences in social support and self-efficacy within a recovery community. American Journal of Community Psychology, 36, 259-274.
Day, E., Copello, A.G., Karia, M. […] & Chohan, G. (2013). Social network support for individuals receiving opiate substitution treatment and its association with treatment progress. European Addiction Research, 19(4), 211-21.
Dawson, D. A., Li, T.-K., Chou, S., P., & Grant, B. F. (2009). Transitions in and out of alcohol use disorders: Their association with conditional changes in quality of life over a 3-year follow-up period. Alcohol and Alcoholism, 44(1), 84-92.
DeGarmo, D. S. & Gewirtz, A. H. (2018). A recovery capital and stress-buffering model for post-deployed military parents. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, October. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01832
De Maeyer, J., Vanderplasschen, W. & Broekaert, E. (2009). An exploratory study on drug users’ perspectives on quality of life: More than health-related quality of life? Social Indicators Research, 90(1), 107-126.
Dingle, G. A., Cruwys, T., & Frings, D. (2015). Social identities as pathways into and out of addiction. Frontiers of Psychology, 6:1795.
Dobkin, P. L., DeAntonios, C.M., Paraherakis, A. & Gill, K. (2002). The role of social support in treatment retention and outcomes among outpatient adult substance abusers. Addiction, 97(3),347-56.
Duffy, P., & Baldwin, H. (2013). Recovery post treatment: Plans, barriers and motivators. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy. 8, 6. Retrieved on September 1, 2016 from http://www.substanceabusepolicy.com/content/8/1/6
Duwe, G. & Clark, V. (2012). The importance of social support for prisoner reentry: The effects of visitation on offender recidivism. Correction Today, 74: 2, 46-500
Eddie, D., & Kelly, J. F. (2017). How many or how much? Testing the relative influence of the number of social network risks versus the amount of time exposed to social network risks on post-treatment substance use. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 175, 246-253.
Edwards, M., Soutar, J. & Best, D. (2018). Co-producing and re-connecting: a pilot study of recovery community engagement. Drugs and Alcohol Today, 18 (1), 39-50.
Ellis, B., Bernichon, T., Yu, P., Roberts, T., & Herrell, J. M. (2004). Effect of social support on substance abuse relapse in a residential treatment setting for women. Evaluation & Program Planning, 27, 213-221.
Elswick, A; Fallin-Bennett, A; Ashford, K; Werner-Wilson, R. (2018). Emerging adults and recovery capital: Barriers and facilitators to recovery. J Addict Nurs, 29(2), 78-83.
Evans, E., Li, L., Buoncristiani, S., & Hser, Y-I. (2014). Perceived neighborhood safety, recovery capital, and successful outcomes among mothers 10 years after substance abuse treatment. Substance Use & Misuse, 49(11), 1491-1503.
Falkin, G. P. & Strauss, S. M. (2003). Social supporters and drug use enablers. Addictive Behaviors, 28(1),141-55.
Fat, L.N., Scholes, S. & Jivraj, S. (2017) The relationship between drinking pattern, social capital, and area-deprivation: Findings from the health survey for England. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 78(1), 20–29.
Flynn, P. M., Joe, G. W., Broome, K. M., Simpson, D. D., & Brown, B. S. (2003). Looking back on cocaine dependence: reasons for recovery. American Journal of Addiction, 12, 398-411.Folgheraiter, F., & Pasini, A. (2009). Self-help groups and social capital: New directions in welfare policies. Social Work Education, 28(3), 253-267.
Frings, D. & Albery, I.P. (2015). The social identity model of cessation maintenance: Formulation and evidence. Addictive Behaviors, 44, 35-42.
Gavriel-Fried, B. (2018). The crucial role of recovery capital in individuals with a gambling disorder. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, September.
Gavriel-Fried, B. & Lev-el, N. (2018). Mapping and conceptualizing recovery capital of recovered gamblers. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, December, DOI: 10.1037/ort0000382
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Gomez, I. C., Best, D., Edwards, M. & Lehman, J. (2017). Recovery capital pathways: Modelling the components of recovery wellbeing. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 181:11-19. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.09.002.
Gonzales, R., Hernandez, M., Douglas, S. B., & Ho Yu, C. (2015). Exploring the factor structure of a recovery assessment measure among substance-abusing youth. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 47(3), 1-10.
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Gosling, H. (2018). Recovery Capital. A framework for the contemporary Therapeutic Community? Therapeutic Communities: the International Journal for Therapeutic and Supportive Organizations, 39(3), 129-136. DOI: 10.1108/TC-01-2018-0001
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Granfield, R., & Cloud, W. (1999). Coming clean: Overcoming addiction without treatment. New York, New York: University Press.
Granfield, R., & Cloud, W. (2001). Social context and “natural recovery”: The role of social capital in the resolution of drug-associated problems. Substance Use & Misuse, 36(11), 1543-1570.
Grant, J. D., Heath, A. C., Bucholz, K. K., Madden P.A., Agrawal, A., Statham, D. J., & Martin, N. G. (2007) Spousal concordance for alcohol dependence: evidence for assortative mating or spousal interaction effects? Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, 31, 717–728.
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Groshkova, T, Best, D., & White, W. (2012). Assessment of Recovery Capital, The (SARC): Properties and psychometrics of a measure of addiction recovery strengths. Drug and Alcohol Review, 32(2), 187-194.
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Henneseey, E. (2017). A latent class exploration of adolescent recovery capital. Journal of Community Psychology, 1-15. DOI: 10.1002/jcop.21950.
Hennessy, E., Cristello, J. V., & Kelly, J. F. (2018). RCAM: A proposed model of recovery capital for adolescents. Addiction Research and Theory, October, DOI: 10.1080/16 066359.2018.1540694
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