Recovery Capital Copy

Successful recovery is dependent upon the presence of both internal assets (qualities, characteristics and skills possessed by the person in recovery) and external assets (resources outside of the individual). Thinking of these assets as capital that can be invested in an individual’s recovery journey can help the person seeking services to get a better sense of what it will take to build a life in recovery.

There are three types of recovery capital: personal recovery capital, family/social recovery capital, and community recovery capital.

Dimensions of Recovery Capital Examples
Personal – tangible assets that may increase recovery options physical health, financial assets, health insurance, safe shelter conducive to recovery, food, access to transportation, etc.
Human – less tangible assets within the person personal skills, positive health, education, vocational training and credentials, problem-solving skills, interpersonal communication skills, self-awareness, self-esteem, hopefulness and optimism, a sense of meaning in life, etc.
Social/Family – the sum of resources that each person has as a result of their relationships with, support from, and obligations to groups to which they belong family members, extended family members (kinship networks), church, social or organizational relationships that support recovery efforts such as mutual self-help organizations, sports or other recreational groups, etc.
Community the environment in which the person in recovery lives efforts to address and reduce stigma, diverse local recovery role models, a full continuum of substance abuse and mental health treatment that is recovery-focused, accessible resources, multiple local recovery support organizations, etc.


Focusing on recovery capital shifts the emphasis from the symptoms of the behavioral health condition to the quality of life that the individual can acquire in recovery.[ii] This approach, often referred to as the ‘assets-based approach,’ focuses services on developing the personal and social assets that individuals have or need to initiate and sustain their recovery.

Looking at strengths as “recovery capital” can be an effective way of helping someone out of the darkness of what’s wrong by focusing on what’s strong in a person’s life, and then helping the person to discover ways to use and increase those strengths and make an investment in building new ones.

Video: Recovery Capital – What You Can Do NOT What You Can’t (4:00 minutes)