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
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.
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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.
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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
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