The Science behind My Recovery Plan, Recovery Capital and Recovery Management


REC-CAP instrument measures both positive and negative recovery capital. 

In recent years, there has been a recognition that recovery is a journey that involves the growth of recovery capital. Recovery Capital is the construct for measuring individual progress on a recovery journey and it has become a commonly used term in addiction treatment and research yet its operationalization and measurement has been limited.

REC-CAP Purpose & Reliability

REC-CAP serves a dual purpose: the primary purpose is to operationalize the measurement of Recovery Capital Domains to inform recovery planning and the secondary purpose is to measure change over time (recovery capital outcomes).

REC-CAP reliability is validated through a psychometric study Recovery capital pathways: Modelling the components of recovery wellbeing published in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence (Volume 181, 1 December 2017, Pages 11-19). Findings indicate a pathway to recovery capital that involves greater time in residence (‘retention’), linked to an increase in meaningful activities and a reduction in barriers to recovery and unmet needs that, in turn, promote recovery capital and positive wellbeing.

The REC-CAP instrument measures both positive and negative Recovery Capital in the following domains to provide a Recovery Capital Index Score.

Positive Recovery Capital Domains 

  1. Personal Capital (five subdomains)
  2. Social Capital (five subdomains)
  3. Community Capital (five subdomains)
  4. Commitment to Recovery (five subdomains)
  5. Quality of Life & Life Satisfaction (five subdomains)

Negative Recovery Capital Domains

  1. Barriers to Recovery (five subdomains)
  2. Unmet Service Needs (eight subdomains)

Recovery Capital Index

  • RCI is the sum of positive and negative capital scores.

Science of Recovery Capital to overcome addiction

Further publications pertaining to REC-CAP and Recovery Capital may be found here:

Click here for more on the Science of Recovery Capital and My Recovery Plan

 Recovery Capital Bibliography 

From William L. White Recovery Research Bibliography

Albertson, K., Irving, J. & Best. D. (2015).  A social capital approach to assisting veternas through recovery and distance transitions in civilian life.  The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 54(4), 384-396.

Almedon, A. (2005) Social capital and mental health: An interdisciplinary review of primary evidence, Social Science and Medicine, 61, 943-964.

Bathish, R., Best, D., Savic, M. & Lubman, D. (2017).  “Is it me or should friends take credit?” The role of social networks in recovery from addiction.  Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 47(1), 35-46.

Beckwith. M., Best, D., Savic, M….& Lubman, D. I. (2019). Social identity mapping in addiction recovery (SIM-AR): extension and application of a visual method. Addiction Research and Theory, January, DOI: 10.1080/16066359.2018.1544623

Beattie, M. C. (2001). Meta-analysis of social relationships and posttreatment drinking outcomes: Comparison of relationship structure, function and quality. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 62(4), 518–527.

Beattie, M.C., & Longabaugh, R. (1999). General and alcohol-specific social support following treatment. Addictive Behaviors, 593–606.

Bergman, B.G., Kelly, N., Hoeppner, B.B., & Kelly, J.F. (2017).  Digital recovery management: Characterizing recovery-specific social network site participation and perceived benefit.  Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 31(4). DOI: 10.1037.adb0000255.

Best, D., Andersson, C., Irving, J. and Edwards, M. (2017). Recovery Identity and Wellbeing: Is It Better to be ‘Recovered ‘or ‘in Recovery’? Journal of Groups in Addiction & Recovery, 12(1), 27-36.

Best, D. & Aston, E.. (2015). Long-term recovery from addiction: Criminal justice involvement and positive criminology.” Pp. 177-193 in Positive Criminology, edited by Natti Ronel and Dana Segev. New York: Routledge.

Best, D., Beckwith, M., Haslam, C., Alexander Haslam, S., Jetten, J., Mawson, E. and Lubman, D.I. (2016). Overcoming alcohol and other drug addiction as a process of social identity transition: The Social Identity Model of Recovery (SIMOR). Addiction Research & Theory, 24(2), 111-123.

Best, D., Beswick, T., Hodgkins, S. & Idle, M. (2016). Recovery, ambitions, and aspirations: An exploratory project to build a recovery community by generating a skilled recovery workforce. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 34(1), 3-14.

Best, D., Bird, K., & Hunton, L. (2015). Recovery as a social phenomenon: What is the role of the community in supporting and enabling recovery? In N. Ronel, & D. Segev (Eds.), Positive criminology (pp. 194-207). Abingdon, England: Routledge.

Best, D. & Coleman, C. (2018). Let’s celebrate recovery inclusive citeis working together to support social cohesion. Addiction Research & Theory.

Best, D., Edwards, M., Cano, I., Durrance, J., Lehman, J. & White, W. (in press). Strengths planning for guiding recovery capital.  Counselor.

Best, D., Edwards, M., Mama-Rudd, A, Cano, I., & Lehman, J. (2016).  Measuring an individual’s recovery barriers and strengths.  Addiction Professional. November 1, 2016.  Accessed January 16, 2019 at

Best, D., Gow, J., Knox, T., Taylor, A., Groshkova, T., & White, W. (2011). Mapping the recovery stories of drinkers and drug users in Glasgow: Quality of life and its predictors. Drug and Alcohol Review, 31(3), 334-441.

Best, D., Gow, J., Knox, T., Taylor, A., Groshkova, T., & White, W. (2012). Mapping the recovery stories of drinkers and drug users in Glasgow: Quality of life and its associations with measures of recovery capital. Drug & Alcohol Review, 31(3), 334-341. doi: 10.1111/j.1465-3362.2011.00321.x

Best, D. Gow, J., Knox, T., Taylor, & White, W. (2011). Recovery from heroin or alcohol dependence:  A qualitative account of the recovery experience in Glasgow. Journal of Drug Issues, 41(3), 359-377.

Best, D., Haslam, C. Staiger, P. K., […]Lubman, D. I. (2016). Social Networks and Recovery (SONAR): characteristics of a longitudinal outcome study in five therapeutic communities in Australia. Therapeutic Communities: the International Journal for Therapeutic and Supportive Organizations, 37(3), 131-139.

Best, D., Honor, S. Karpusheff, J., Loudon, L. Hall, R., Groshkova, T., & White, W. (2012). Well-being and recovery functioning among substance users engaged in post-treatment recovery support groups. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 30, 397-406.

Best, D., Irving, J. Collinson, B., Andersson, C. & Edwards, M. (2016). Recovery networks and community connections: Identifying connection needs and community linkage opportunities in early recovery populations, Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 35(1), 2-15. DOI: 10.1080/07347324.2016.1256718

Best, D., & Laudet, A. (2010). The potential of recovery capital. RSA Projects. Royal Society for the Arts.

Best, D., & Lubman, D. (2016). Friends matter but so does their substance use: The impact of social networks on substance use, offending and wellbeing among young people attending specialist alcohol and drug treatment services, Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, Advance online publication. doi:10.3109/09687637.2016.1149148

Best, D., Lubman, I., Savic, M., Wilson, A., Dingle, G., Alexander Haslam S., & Jetten, J. (2014). Social and transitional identity: exploring social networks and their significance in a therapeutic community setting. Therapeutic Communities, 35, 10–20.

Best, D., McKitterick, T., Beswick, T., & Savic, M. (2015). Recovery capital and social networks among people in treatment and in recovery in York, England. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 33(3), 270-282.

Best, D., Musgrove, A., & Hall, L. (2018). The bridge between social identity and community capital on the path to recovery and desistance. Probation Journal, July, DOI: 10.1177/0264550518790677.

Best, D., Savic, M., Beckwith, M., Honor, S., Karpusheff, J., & Lubman, D. I. (2013). The role of abstinence and activity in the quality of life of drug users engaged in treatment. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 45(3), 273–279. doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2013.02.010

Bluic, A-M., Best, D., Iqbal, M. & Upton, K. (2017).  Building recovery capital through online participation in a recovery community.  Social Science of Medicine. IN PRESS.

Boardman, J. D., Finch, B. K., Ellison, C. G., Williams, D. R., & Jackson, J. S. (2001). Neighborhood disadvantage, stress, and drug use among adults. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 42(2), 151-165.

Boeri, M., Gardner, M., Gerken, E. …, & Wheeler, J. (2016).  “I don’t know what fun is”: Examining the intersection of social capital, social networks, and social recovery. Drugs and Alcohol Today, 16(1), 95-105.

Boeri M, Lamonica AK, Harbry L. (2011). Social Recovery, social capital, and drug courts. Prac Anthropol, 33, 8–13.

Bradshaw, S.D., Shumway, S.T., Wang, E.W. & Harris, K. (2014). Addiction and the mediation of hope on craving, readiness, and coping.  Journal of Groups in Addiction & Recovery, 9(4), 294-312.

Brown, M. & Ross, S. (2010) Mentoring, social capital and desistance: A study of women released from prison. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 43(1), 31–50.

Brown, S., Tracy, E. M., Jun, M., Park, H., & Min, M. O. (2015). Personal network recovery enablers and relapse risks for women with substance dependence. Qualitative Health Research, 25(3), 371.

Brown, S., Victor, B., Hicks, L. & Tracy, E.M. (2016). Recovery support mediates the relationship between parental warmth and quality of life among women with substance use disorders. Quality of Life Research, 26(5), 1327–1335. DOI: 10.1007/s11136-016-1453-9.

Buchanan, A. S. & Latkin, C. (2008). Drug use in the social network of heroin and cocaine users before and after drug cessation. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 96(3), 286–289.

Buckingham, S. A., Frings, D., & Albery, I. P. (2013). Group membership and social identity in addiction recovery. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 27(4), 1132-1140.

Burns, J., & Marks, D. (2013). Can recovery capital predict addiction problem severity? Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 31(3), 303. doi: 10.1080/07347324.2013.800430

Callahan, S. & Jason, L. A. (2018). Contextual perspectives on heroin addiction and recovery: classic and contemporary theories. International Archives of Public Health and Community Medicine, 2(1), 2.009, December. DOI: 10.23937/iaphcm-2017/1710009

Callahan S., & Jason L. A. (2017). A novel approach to understanding a recovering persons’ relationship dynamics: Injection heroin users. J Addict Behav Ther.

Campbell, R., Duffy, K., Gaughan, M., & Mochrie, M. (2011). Serenity Cafe-on the road to recovery capital. Journal of Groups in Addiction & Recovery, 6(1-2), 132-163. doi: 10.1080/1556035X.2011.571129

Cano, I., Best, D., Edwards, M., & Lehman, J. (2017). Recovery capital pathways: Mapping the components of recovery wellbeing. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 181, 11–19. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.09.002

Chen, G. (2018). Building recovery capital: The role of “hitting bottom” in desistance and recovery from substance abuse and crime. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 50(5), 420-429. DOI: 10.1080/02791072.2018.1517909

Chen, G.(2006). Social support, spiritual program and addiction recovery. Int J Offender Ther Comp Criminol., 50, 306–323.

Cheney, A. M., Booth, B. M., Borders, T. F., & Curran, G. M. (2016). The role of social capital in African Americans’ attempt to reduce and quit cocaine use. Substance Use & Misuse, 51(6), 77-87.

Clone, S., & Dehart, D. (2014). Social support networks of incarcerated women: Types of support, sources of support, and implications for reentry. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 53(7), 503–521.

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Cloud, W., & Granfield, R. (2001). Natural recovery from substance dependency: Lessons for treatment providers. Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, 1(1), 83-104. doi: 10.1300/J160v01n01_07

Cloud, W., & Granfield, R. (2004). The social process of exiting addiction:  A life course perspective. In J. Blomqvist, A. Koski-Jannes, & L. Ojesjo (Eds.), Addiction and life course (pp. 185-202). Helsinki:  Nordic Council on Alcohol and Drug Research.

Cloud W, Granfield R. 2004. A life course perspective on exiting addiction: The relevance of recovery capital in treatment. Publication no. 44. NAD Publication; p. 185–202.

Cloud, W., & Granfield, R. (2008). Conceptualizing recovery capital:  Expansion of a theoretical construct. Substance Use & Misuse, 43(12-13), 1971-1986.   

Collier, C., Hilliker, R., & Onwuegbuzie, A. (2014). Alternative peer group: A model for youth recovery. Journal of Groups in Addiction & Recovery, 9(1), 40–53.

Collins, A. & Mccamley, A. (2018). Quality of life and better than well: a mixed method study of long-term (post five years) recovery and recovery capital. Drugs and Alcohol Today,  18(4), 217-226.

Connolly, K. & Granfield, R. (2017). Building recovery capital: The role of faith-based communities in the reintegration of formerly incarcerated drug offenders. Journal of Drug Issues, March 12.

Corrigan,P.W., Morris, S., Larson, J., et al. (2010). Self membership and social identity in addiction recovery. Journal of Community Psychology, 38, 259–275.

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Davey, M. A., Latkin, C. A., Hua, W., Tobin, K. E., Strathdee, S. (2007) Individual and social network factors that predict entry to drug treatment. Am J Addict. 16, 38-45.

Davis, M. I. & Jason. L. A. (2005) Sex differences in social support and self-efficacy within a recovery community. American Journal of Community Psychology, 36, 259-274.

Day, E., Copello, A.G., Karia, M. […] & Chohan, G. (2013). Social network support for individuals receiving opiate substitution treatment and its association with treatment progress. European Addiction Research, 19(4), 211-21.

Dawson, D. A., Li, T.-K., Chou, S., P., & Grant, B. F. (2009). Transitions in and out of alcohol use disorders:  Their association with conditional changes in quality of life over a 3-year follow-up period. Alcohol and Alcoholism, 44(1), 84-92.

DeGarmo, D. S. & Gewirtz, A. H. (2018). A recovery capital and stress-buffering model for post-deployed military parents. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, October. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01832

De Maeyer, J., Vanderplasschen, W. & Broekaert, E. (2009).  Exploratory study on drug users’ perspectives on quality of life: More tham health related quality of life?  Social Indicators Research, 90(1), 107-126.

Dingle, G. A., Cruwys, T., & Frings, D. (2015). Social identities as pathways into and out of addiction. Frontiers of Psychology, 6:1795.

Dobkin, P. L., DeAntonios, C.M., Paraherakis, A. & Gill, K. (2002). The role of social support in treatment retention and outcomes among outpatient adult substance abusers. Addiction, 97(3),347-56. 

Duffy, P., & Baldwin, H. (2013). Recovery post treatment:  Plans, barriers and motivators. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy. 8, 6. Retrieved on September 1, 2016 from

Duwe, G. & Clark, V. (2012). The importance of social support for prisoner reentry: The effects of visitation on offender recidivism. Correction Today, 74: 2, 46-500

Eddie, D., & Kelly, J. F. (2017). How many or how much? Testing the relative influence of the number of social network risks versus the amount of time exposed to social network risks on post-treatment substance use. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 175, 246-253.

Edwards, M., Soutar, J. & Best, D. (2018). Co-producing and re-connecting: a pilot study of recovery community engagement. Drugs and Alcohol Today, 18 (1), 39-50.

Ellis, B., Bernichon, T., Yu, P., Roberts, T., & Herrell, J. M. (2004). Effect of social support on substance abuse relapse in a residential treatment setting for women. Evaluatyion &  Program Planning, 27, 213-221.

Elswick, A; Fallin-Bennett, A; Ashford, K; Werner-Wilson, R. (2018). Emerging adults and recovery capital: Barriers and facilitators to recovery. J Addict Nurs, 29(2), 78-83.

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Frings, D. & Albery, I.P. (2015). The social identity model of cessation maintenance: Formulation and evidence.  Addictive Behaviors, 44, 35-42.

Gavriel-Fried, B. (2018). The crucial role of recovery capital in individuals with a gambling disorder. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, September.

Gavriel-Fried, B. & Lev-el, N. (2018). Mapping and conceptualizing recovery capital of recovered gamblers. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, December, DOI: 10.1037/ort0000382

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