Narrative review: The Meaning of "Recovery" for Addiction Treatment and Research
Addiction & Addictive Disorders
"Recovery" has been made the focus of UK drug policy. It is a term that means different things to different people and is difficult to operationalize. In this narrative review a discourse analysis was conducted on the use of the term "Recovery" and its many associated connotations in the literature on addiction treatment. Key findings "Recovery" has been most commonly equated with abstinence. It is also often associated with participation in 12-step fellowships. When used in this context, and
... this context, and increasingly as the word is used in academic literature, "recovery" goes beyond abstinence to incorporate transformation and growth in many areas of life. "Recovery" is neither a clearly defined state of being nor a single path or programmed. However, there is reasonable consensus on factors associated with or facilitating recovery. Social reintegration, stable housing, relationships, employment and a meaningful social role have long been recognized as key markers of good treatment outcomes and have recently been rebranded 'recovery capital'. Conclusion Use of the term "recovery" involves an ideological shift, based on the limitations of professional treatment and the greater importance of family and societal support. It is widely understood as a long-term process. Funding treatment services based on clients achieving "recovery" narrowly defined as abstinence from all drugs not only misses the broader meaning of "recovery" but potentially compromises the effectiveness of treatment in reducing harm from drug dependence.