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A Look at Recovery Capital - Part 1


By: Kate Hude, MATCP Executive Director


As the phrase “recovery capital” gains in popularity, let’s take an introductory look at what it means. The concept of recovery capital was introduced by Robert Granfield and William Cloud in articles and in their book, Coming Clean: Overcoming Addiction without Treatment. Granfield and Cloud define recovery as the number of internal and external resources available to initiate and sustain recovery from a SUD. Recovery capital then looks at the internal and external resources, or capital, an individual needs for recovery; the number of resources needed will also depend on the severity of the individual’s SUD and the resources they already have available. It is important to note that recovery capital will differ from individual to individual and may differ within the same individual at multiple points in time.


There are 3 types of recovery capital:


  1. Personal recovery capital; can be divided into physical and human capital (INTERNAL) – physical recovery capital is the available resources to fulfill basic needs, like physical health, employment, health insurance, food, clothing, transportation, and shelter; human capital relates to an individual’s abilities, skills, and knowledge, like problem-solving, self-esteem, ability to navigate challenging situations, and achieve goals.

  2. Family/social recovery capital (EXTERNAL) – these resources relate to relationships with family, friends, others in recovery, supporters, and the availability of recovery-related social events.

  3. Community recovery capital; includes cultural (EXTERNAL) – this includes the attitudes, policies, and resources available in the community to support recovery such as treatment, efforts to reduce stigma, recovery role models, and recovery community organizations. Cultural capital is the local availability of these community resources that resonate with an individual’s cultural and faith-based beliefs.


Now that you have had an introduction to recovery capital, stay tuned for Part II appearing in our next Off the Record issue, where you will hear from guest contributor, Patrick Patterson, Executive Director of Blue Water Recovery and Outreach Center, Port Huron, MI, as he provides you information on the benefits of recovery capital and the growth of recovery community organizations (RCOs).


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