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Recovery from substance misuse is possible and increasingly is the reported lived experience of people who have had problems with addictions. Recovery is the achievable end goal where it refers to quality of life rather than simply the release from the addiction or achieving abstinence.

Dr David Best and Dr Alexandre Laudet explore this in more detail in a short paper released by the RSA Recovery Capital Project. The authors outline and define the concept of recovery capital, seeking to capture its flavour and principles, and look at the ‘intrinsically social forces that are at play in shaping change and in growing communities of recovery.’

We know that substance misuse cuts across all socio-economic boundaries. We also know that while genetic predispositions can be influential in the development of addictions and dependencies; the social, economic and environmental context of a person will have more of an influence on how they experience the problems related to that dependency and on their ability to overcome these problems.

As a concept, recovery capital helps us to better understand the differential capacity of people to overcome many of the problems related to substance misuse by understanding the whole context of an individual as a dynamic system. The theory is that those people who have access to recovery capital are in much better positions to stop substance misuse related problems than those who do not have such access.

The paper is the first in a series that will inform the development of the RSA Recovery Capital Project. This project seeks to operationalise recovery capital and understand how it can be leveraged to better enhance the capacity of individuals to overcome substance misuse related problems and enhance the capacity of communities to support that recovery long-term. After all, the positive ramifications for the entire community are significant.

If you would like to find out more about the project and what it might mean for Peterborough visit the Citizen Power project page.

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