Recovery Capital is a concept that’s changing the recovery landscape across Canada.
Until now, research in the field of substance abuse has been mostly focused on the pathology of addiction, with the aim to understand why individuals become addicted in the first place. Are they genetically predisposed? Did they experience trauma or abuse? Was it the social settings they were exposed to?
Researchers have been asking questions like these about the underlying causes of addiction for years. While there is value in studying these trends, what the answers haven’t been able to provide is any connection to predicting outcomes of recovery. The reality is that any one of these factors, along with a myriad of others or a combination of many, can lead to the onset of addiction.
However, the addictions community has recently undergone a major shift in thought, moving from a pathology based focus, to one that focuses on recovery. What resources does it take to achieve recovery? What are the patterns and stages in long-term recovery? And how can different factors work together to give individuals the tools they need to maintain abstinence?
These types of questions represent a new way of thinking that is leading to greater outcomes and understanding of this tragic epidemic affecting countless Canadians. This new outlook calls for a deeper understanding of all the different resources and networks of support it takes to achieve an end goal of an alcohol or drug-free lifestyle as an active and contributing member of society – in what has become known as the concept of recovery capital.
What is recovery capital and how is it changing the addictions treatment landscape? 
Simply put, recovery capital is the internal and external resources needed for an individual to not only initiate, but maintain recovery from substance abuse. At the root of this concept is the acknowledgement that recovery is an individual journey and each person requires a different level of support and responds to different types of resources to achieve that goal.
Recovery capital can be broken into four different types: physical, human, family/social and community.
Physical capital includes all the concrete elements that it takes to build a life, including health, finances, insurance and access to things like shelter, clothing, food and transportation. Human capital refers to personality traits, values, knowledge, self-awareness, self-esteem, outlook, sense of meaning in life and interpersonal skills. Family/social capital is all about the relationships, both family, friends and otherwise, that positively contribute to the recovery process. Finally, community capital is about the general outlook on recovery in society, meaning the attitudes, policies and resources in place and readily available to promote recovery, including a full continuum of local recovery community support institutions.
Recovery capital is built on the idea that addiction treatment must encompass more than simply withdrawal or intervention – but rather by developing and strengthening access to each of these four spheres.
Incorporating the idea of recovery capital within residential addiction treatment, can greatly influence service delivery practices. It calls for the recovery journey to start with asking which resources need to be made available to support the long-term recovery of each person based on their unique background, needs and personal experiences. Then, the creation of a comprehensive treatment plan with a patient-centred approach that engages all of the four spheres of recovery capital and can be accessed on an ongoing basis.
At Cedars, we also offer a continuum of care for our alumni that helps them gain access to recovery capital.
Driven by our guiding principles of – fostering positive culture, cultivating connection, and enhancing community transition, we support our alumni network in the following ways:
- In-person or online group counselling with a continuing care provider
- Access to alumni specific events, workshops and resources
- Daily meditations
- Recovery Connection Newsletters
- Referrals to sober living and recovery homes
- Recovery recreation opportunities
- Sober living activities
- Regular contact with our Community Care Team
- Service opportunities
- Alumni specific 12 step meetings
- Peer to peer support networks
- Alumni Advisory Committee
- Referral to local resources and support networks
- Recovery Coaching
- Continuing Care Plan
- Individualized, comprehensive recovery plans that includes the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of every individual.
- And more – all of these components are proven to create the best possible recovery outcomes for our patients.
One of the most important aspects of this concept is the underlying need for addiction treatment programs to work together to help build community recovery capital above and beyond their own service programs. Actors from each of these four spheres like support services, healthcare providers, families and communities need to not only communicate with each other but work in conjunction to support individuals on the path to long-term recovery.
Recovery Capital Conference of Canada
The Recovery Capital Conference of Canada is a new platform for addictions treatment providers to come together and share their knowledge, resources and services. This two day conference with the mission of “stronger connections = stronger communities”, centres around the idea of creating better systems of healthcare for all Canadians by working together to eliminate silos. Managing Director, Carson McPherson, will be presenting his work “Assessing Recovery” on Saturday, September 8th, 2017.
Cedars at Cobble Hill is proud to be a platinum sponsor for this inaugural recovery capital event. Perfect for health care workers, human resources employees, students, policy makers, psychologists and everyone in between, the conference features renown speakers and educational workshops. Please visit http://www.recoverycapitalconference.com for full conference details.
Following the Recovery Capital Conference of Canada, Cedars will also be attending Recovery Day BC, a free street festival on September 9th, 2017 in New Westminster, BC. You can find our Cedars team and members of the Alumni Advisory Committee at Booth #6 from 12pm – 5pm!
For more information, visit the recovery week bc website http://recoveryweekbc.com/
 White, W. & Cloud, W. (2008). Recovery capital: A primer for addictions professionals. Counselor, 9(5), 22-27