"In the context of mental health, recovery is often described as a personal journey or process that has three core principles: agency (a sense of control over one’s life), opportunity (having a life beyond illness, including being part of society) and hope (belief that one can have a fulfilled life and should not settle for less) (SLAM/SWLSTG, 2010).

"However, the term ‘recovery’ in the field of addiction is still surrounded by controversy. It was associated historically with the ‘12-step’ Alcoholics Anonymous mutual aid programme and with abstinence. The World Health Organization still defines recovery as ‘maintenance of abstinence from alcohol and/or other drug use by any means’ (WHO, 2017).

"Many authors advocate that abstinence alone is not recovery, and that recovery is a wider concept involving a process of both voluntary control of substance use plus working towards positive outcomes in a range of other recovery capital domains. Granfield and Cloud (2001) consider these domains to be social capital (family and group relationships); human capital (health and well-being, aspirations, educational achievements, etc.); physical capital (housing and money); and cultural capital (values, beliefs and attitudes, and the ability to fit into dominant social behaviours) (Figure 2)."


Dale-Perera, Annette. (2017). Recovery, reintegration, abstinence, harm reduction: the role of different goals within the drug treatment in the European context. Lisbon: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.