What is Recovery Capital and How Can it Help You Stay Sober?
Simply put, recovery capital is everything in your life that helps you enter recovery and stay there. In the financial world, capital is everything that helps you make money, such as stocks, businesses, real estate, equipment, and so on. The more capital you have, the easier it is to make money. Similarly, the more recovery capital you have, the easier it is to stay sober and progress in your recovery from addiction.
Recovery capital can include many things, such as physical health, family relationships, and recovery role models. It’s an idea that has become prominent in the past 20 years or so and it represents a significant shift from earlier thinking about addiction. Instead of focusing on physical dependence and other individual factors relevant to addiction, the recovery capital model broadens the scope of addiction recovery to include family, community, and even cultural factors as well. The central insight of recovery capital is that addiction always happens within a specific context and by changing that context, you enable people to recover. There are different ways of thinking about recovery capital, but it typically falls into the following categories.
Physical capital includes the absolute basics, such as having a safe, clean place to live, having enough to eat, having clean clothes, and access to transportation. It’s very hard to recover from addiction when you don’t have the basics covered. On the other hand, more resources can strengthen your recovery. Having insurance, savings, a good source of income, and other financial resources broadens your access to treatment and other recovery resources while reducing stress and uncertainty.
Physical capital also includes your physical health. Substance use can take a serious toll on your physical health, diminishing your physical capital. The more you are able to restore your health with medical treatment and positive lifestyle changes, including a healthy diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep, the stronger your recovery will be. These improvements depend to some extent on having the financial resources to get medical care and live a healthier lifestyle.
Human capital includes all the personal qualities you might list on a resume. These include your values, knowledge, education, skills, credentials, self-awareness, confidence, sense of meaning, and interpersonal skills. These are essential qualities that no one can take away from you. Although employers tend to value these qualities, they are far more valuable to the person who possesses them. A sense of meaning, interpersonal skills, resourcefulness, emotional regulation, and resilience are all qualities that can serve you well in addiction recovery. It’s also important to note that these qualities can be developed. We too often assume our personal qualities are fixed. We might tell ourselves, “I’m not emotionally resilient,” or “I’m not good with people,” but emotional skills, like every other kind of skill, get better with practice.
Family and social capital include intimate relationships, family relationships–including a family of choice–and social relationships that support recovery. You know you have strong family and social capital when your family and partner are willing to participate in treatment, including family therapy. It may also be helpful if other members of your family are also in recovery. On the other hand, it can be a liability if you live with someone or have frequent contact with someone who has issues with using drugs or alcohol. Social capital also includes friends in the recovery community. These may be people you met during treatment or 12-step meetings. A strong sober network is especially important for a strong recovery. Not only does it reinforce an expectation of sobriety, but a sense of connection reduces stress, makes available extra resources for solving problems, and allows you to discuss your feelings with people who understand.
Community capital includes a community’s attitudes, policies, and resources that promote recovery from substance use issues. These might include active efforts to reduce the stigma of addiction and treatment, visible and diverse recovery role models, a continuum of treatment options, mutual-aid groups, like AA and NA, local recovery resources, like recovery centers, sober living homes, and treatment alumni groups, and sources of support to sustain recovery, which might include employee assistance programs, drug courts, and community organizations. Ideally, a supportive community should recognize that addiction happens and that it can be overcome if its members have the proper resources and support. Community capital can function at the local, state, and national levels. For example, at the local end, a neighborhood association might take an inclusive attitude toward a sober living home and at the national end, the federal government might expand funding for treatment.
Cultural capital is a specific kind of community capital. It includes culturally-specific paths to recovery. Cultural identity may play a role in connecting you to your recovery community. For example, faith-based or Afrocentric programs may foster a sense of unity while presenting recovery principles in a culturally relevant way.
The more recovery capital you have, the better your chances of sustaining recovery. A lack in one area might be compensated by strength in another. However, several layers of recovery capital can add up to a powerful effect. The quality of recovery capital is as important as quantity. For example, family members may offer different degrees of support or your local community may offer some services but not others. More recovery capital offers more opportunities for someone to enter recovery and more support along the path of recovery.
At Hart Consultants, we provide a number of different services to fit the needs of each individual client. Among these, are helping you choose a treatment provider, helping you develop a treatment plan, helping you establish post-treatment support, and ensuring continuity among the different elements of treatment. Contact us today at 844-2627970 or Info@PatrickHartConsultants.com or explore our website for more information.