Factors Facilitating Recovery: (Gaining) Recovery Capital

Here’s the last of the 11 factors facilitating recovery that I wrote about in my book Our Recovery Stories: Journeys from Drug and Alcohol AddictionJust because it is last, does not mean it is the least important factor. In fact, it is one of the most important!

Recovery is better predicted by someone’s assets and strengths, rather than their ‘pathologies’, deficits and weaknesses. People can make progress by identifying and building on their personal assets and strengths. Interventions to facilitate recovery must focus on helping individuals build their recovery strengths, more often referred to as ‘recovery capital’. 

Recovery capital is the quantity and quality of internal and external resources that one can bring to bear on the initiation and maintenance of recovery [1]. It takes three main forms:

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Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD)


Here’s an article on asset-based community development which I wrote some years ago. This approach can facilitate healing in a community.

“Mental health is not a product of pharmacology or a service that can be singularly provided by an institution: it is a condition that is more determined by our community assets than our medication or access to professional interventions more generally. There are functions that only people living in families and communities can perform to promote mental health and wellbeing, and if they do not do those things; they will not get done, since, there simply is no substitute for genuine citizen-led community care (not to be confused with volunteer mentoring schemes).” Cormac Russell

There are two alternative ways to build a community in a neighborhood.

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Addiction Recovery

Here is a section about the nature of addiction recovery from my new eBook, Our Recovery Stories: Journeys from Drug and Alcohol Addiction.

“There have been various definitions of recovery proposed over the years. For the purpose of this chapter, I am going to use a definition proposed by leading addiction recovery advocate William (Bill) L White [1]:

‘Recovery is the experience (a process and a sustained status) through which individuals, families, and communities impacted by severe alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems utilize internal and external resources to voluntarily resolve these problems, heal the wounds inflicted by AOD-related problems, actively manage their continued vulnerability to such problems, and develop a healthy, productive, and meaningful life.’

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I Am Not Anonymous: Kristina, ‘Change is Freedom’

KristinaText-1024x681(pp_w1000_h665)‘Recovery goes far beyond its definition or interpretation. It’s about embarking on a process; a journey of fulfillments, enriching lives without the use of mind or mood altering substances.

Before ever being introduced to this process I was left with my own devices. After years of struggle and degradation, and the lives I’ve hurt as well as my own brought me to my knees. Everyone and everything seemed to have vanished within a blink of an eye, as if I woke up from a bad dream laying in the fetal position.  My body was  aching in pain and I couldn’t recall much of anything.

Crying out in desperation I felt helpless and my vulnerability was eating me alive. I hadn’t bathed, ate or slept in days. I was nothing but a mere existence of skin and bone who had lost her soul.

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Cormac Russell explains Asset Based Community Development

“Asset Based Community Development really is the focus on what exists in communities and within individuals that they can use to grow community to get the kind of life that they want, a life of their choosing…

… What it also recognises is that there are some barriers to people doing that, to focusing on what they have. And probably some of those barriers relate to the fact that over the last 30-40 years we have become very focused on what people don’t have, what people need to receive…

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