"The target of recovery is about quality of life rather than abstinence, although abstinence may be a long-term goal for clients. However, the underlying theoretical model for much recovery work is the developmental or lifecourse model (e.g., Hser, Longshore, & Anglin, 2007), which would suggest a significant lengthening of the time scale for the recovery process and so the focus on change—whether to the point of abstinence—is a long-term journey that may well take up the rest of the person’s life. So abstinence orientation may well be something that either does not ever occur or at least is not a viable goal. It is also this approach to “addiction and recovery careers” that means harm reduction does not have to be characterized as the antithesis of recovery."
David Best, Stephen Bamber, Alison Battersby, Mark Gilman, Teodora Groshkova, Stuart Honor, David McCartney, Rowdy Yates & William White (2010), Recovery and Straw Men: An Analysis of the Objections Raised to the Transition to a Recovery Model in UK Addiction Services, Journal of Groups in Addiction & Recovery, 5:3-4, 264-288, DOI: 10.1080/1556035X.2010.523362